Our Lummi Island Community

Research – MicroGrid

A community investigation of Lummi Island electric needs and future options.

What is a Microgrid?

The combination of one or more systems for generating electricity (solar, wind, tidal), storing electricity (batteries, flywheel, hydro) and distributing electricity locally or selling it to the main electric grid.  (Nearby examples are PSE’s microgrid battery storage facility in Glacier, and OPALCO’s microgrid consisting of a solar farm and batteries on Decatur Island).

This page is dedicated to warehouse various investigations into Microgrids and how they might be useful for Lummi Island to deal with a limited supply of power through our submarine cable from the mainland, while addressing increasing power demands from rising populations, a shift to charging electric vehicles and a new ferry under consideration to operate primarily on electricity.

Microgrids – 101

This well written article explains how islands and communities ‘at the end of the line’ can move forward with plans to generate their own electricity and store it on-site for local purposes, such as for charging an electric ferry at night as LIFAC is planning for. Our current cable from the mainland is not of sufficient capacity during peak hours for this, but Microgrids are a solution, plus offer many other benefits to communities that choose them.

OPALCO to host meeting on Decatur Microgrid

Lummi Island and LIFAC will be hosting a conference in mid April for representatives from OPALCO, PSE, LIFAC, CIAC, LICA, LIHT, LIFD, WCPW, WC-Planning, and others to explore how these projects can result in better resilience to meet the challenges of changing times. Moving towards a carbon neutral world will require all hands on-deck. We will post the video on April 15th for others to join in and hopefully start a dialog among us to move to the next step, which is ??

by Mike Skehan, Nextdoor 21 Mar 2021

Lummi Island Microgrids Zoom Meeting April 14 2021

Could Solar, Wind and Wave Power be in our future?

Orcas Power and Light held their first Town Hall Meeting yesterday to explore those very questions for San Juan County with several Lummi Islanders in attendance. As Washington moves from fossil fuels to generate electricity to renewable energy sources, and estimates for electric generation needed through 2050 will double, it’s clear that solar and wind energy will play a large role in that transformation.

Some interesting take-aways for me were: – Orcas Island receives about 70% of the solar radiation that LAX does, and about the same as Germany at our same latitude – the largest generator of solar energy in the world. – Generating power locally provides resilience for communities that rely on submarine cables, as we do. The cost of solar farms is steadily falling, now under $3/watt installed, and about half that of individuals doing roof panel systems. – Solar Microgrid farms, large or small are compatible with grazing and farming lands for ground mount systems after a 2 year study in Oregon.

Combining solar panels and lamb grazing increases land productivity, study finds

Communities that have ‘shovel ready’ projects will benefit from future investments as the US shifts gears to renewables. Opalco will continue their move to Community Solar to solve many of their needs into the future and have been very encouraging to Lummi Islanders to learn from them as they evolve their grid and storage systems. PSE has also shown an interest in helping us too. I welcome your comments on this important subject that will effect all of us.

by Mike Skehan, Nextdoor 6 May 2021


Updated: 2022/04/11 @ 12:41 am Tark Henderson

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