Tasteful Selections® recently broke ground on a 5.0 megawatt (MW) microgrid development project at its Arvin, California facility.

Reviewing project blueprintsTasteful Selections tapped Concentric Power, Inc., an energy technology company deploying intelligent microgrids throughout California, to develop the first-of-its-kind microgrid in the state’s central valley.

The microgrid will incorporate energy generation, distribution and storage using Concentric Power’s intelligent microgrid control platform to manage all distributed energy assets. It will improve the sustainability of Tasteful Selections’ business while delivering energy resilience through “islanding” capability for continued operations during power outages within the broader utility grid.

Tasteful Selections will own the microgrid, while Concentric Power will design, build, operate and maintain the system for the life of the equipment, which is approximately 25 years.

Bob Bender speaks at March 24 Groundbreaking“We’re excited to be working with Concentric Power because their core values align with ours and this microgrid optimizes our operation,” said Bob Bender, CEO and President at Tasteful Selections.

“The resilience and sustainability this brings to the table shifts our focus from energy stability to our core business rather than the headaches of energy outages and price spikes.”

The partnership between Tasteful Selections and Concentric Power will support over 30 construction jobs and create at least five full-time roles – including engineering, operations and maintenance and asset management – within Kern County. The $12 million project is anticipated to be completed in Q3 of 2021.

Kern County, California District 4 Supervisor David Couch noted that the microgrid uses solar, natural gas and batteries in a smart technology that optimizes performance while reducing energy costs, carbon emissions and impact of power disruptions on operations. Bob (Tasteful Selections President) and Nathan (Chief Operating Officer) Bender, he said, are “smart business people (who) deserve credit for being willing to invest in this new, green technology.

“When you think about the potential for agriculture anywhere in the world, that they can generate reliable power wherever the crops grow best, this promises great opportunity for food production where it is most needed and most fertile.”

Saving Energy CostsCEO Concentric Power

For years, growers have had to overcome energy supply challenges, but now Tasteful Selections will enjoy energy independence. The microgrid will combine reliable firm power, clean solar power, battery storage and an intelligent microgrid controller that utilizes Artificial Intelligence (A.I.) and machine learning technology to proactively manage energy supply and demand to ensure the lowest cost energy resource is used at any given time.

As a result, Tasteful Selections will enjoy day to day savings and avoid costly operational interruptions caused by utility power outages and Public Safety Power Shutoffs. It is expected that the microgrid will help Tasteful Selections save upwards of 40% on energy costs and help guarantee that their bite-size potatoes will always be fresh.

Powerful and Sustainable

Combining 3.6 MW cogeneration firm power with 120 kW solar and 1.25 MW/625 kWh lithium-ion battery storage, this microgrid has approximately 5.0 MW total capacity with provisions to add additional renewables, including more solar and renewable natural gas. It is architected to create energy efficiency at every turn, from capturing and repurposing heat to optimizing engine efficiency and advanced load side management. The microgrid incorporates solar energy generation and battery storage to provide Tasteful Selections a pathway to net zero carbon.

“Throughout California,” said Concentric Power Chief Executive Officer Brian Curtis, “we’re seeing how microgrids can be a game changer for agriculture customers.

“Tasteful Selections has been an incredible partner and we’re looking forward to jointly seeing this project provide energy resilience and sustainability for them in the long run.”

Concentric Power’s microgrid controller will integrate with Tasteful Selection’s equipment automation platform to deliver active and predictive load management, ensuring optimal performance of Tasteful Selection’s operation during both normal daily operations as well as during outage events. Concentric Power designed the project to account for the site’s individual characteristics while taking advantage of its standardized technology building blocks. Concentric Power’s technology platform allows this approach to be easily implemented no matter the individual characteristics of a site.

Concentric Power’s control and dispatch platform is cloud-based and secure, but will be complimented by a physical Network Operation center (NOC) staffed by engineers and technicians. “What we’re doing here is an industry-standard-setting microgrid design,” added Mike Delgado, vice president of engineering and services at Concentric Power. 

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