Northern California Tribal community breaks ground on solar microgrid

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California Construction News staff writer

The Paskenta Band of Nomlaki Indians has broken ground on a large-scale solar and long-duration storage microgrid in Corning. The project received a $32 million state grant, one of the largest investments ever made in support of a California Native American tribe.

“California Native American tribes are key partners in the state’s work to address the climate crisis, including the transition to renewable energy,” said Tribal Affairs Secretary Christina Snider-Ashtari, who attended the groundbreaking ceremony. “Paskenta’s innovative project helps advance the shared goal of scaling up clean energy projects across the state and supports energy sovereignty and sustainable economic development for the Tribe.”

The solar microgrid, located at the Tribe’s Rolling Hills Casino and Resort, will provide 5 megawatts (MW) of solar generation and 15 megawatt hours of long-duration energy storage.

Funded by the California Energy Commission’s Long-Duration Energy Storage Program, the microgrid is part of the state’s multi-billion-dollar climate initiative. The program aims to accelerate the implementation of long-duration energy storage solutions, boosting the reliability of energy infrastructure and aiding the state’s ambitious energy and climate goals.

Gov. Gavin Newsom praised the project as an example of California’s leadership in fighting climate change while creating job opportunities and resilient communities. He emphasized that the state is committed to developing more projects like these to secure a clean and reliable energy future for all.

The microgrid is expected to lower fossil fuel use and carbon emissions while providing emergency power during peak demand times. Paskenta Tribal Chairman Andrew “Dru” Alejandre expressed gratitude for the partnership with the California Energy Commission, highlighting the Tribe’s commitment to caring for the land and adapting to modern sustainable practices for future generations.

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