Plug Power, a global leader in turnkey hydrogen solutions, has announced a groundbreaking partnership with Energy Vault Holdings, to provide 8 MW of hydrogen fuel cell stationary power for emergency backup in Calistoga, California.
This installation, set to be the largest of its kind in the United States, aims to deliver clean energy during wildfires and other emergencies in the region.
In response to the California Public Utility Commission’s regulations on power shutdowns during severe weather conditions to mitigate wildfire risks, Energy Vault had previously relied on rented diesel generators for backup power in Calistoga. However, Plug Power’s proton exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cells will now offer a cleaner, more flexible, and cost-effective solution to power the microgrid.
Plug Power’s CEO, Andy Marsh, highlights the significance of this collaboration, stating that it represents a major milestone for hydrogen fuel cells in the microgrid market and embodies the future of utility power backup. He emphasizes that green hydrogen is uniquely positioned to provide clean, long-duration energy storage in at-risk communities like Calistoga that are susceptible to power interruptions. Plug Power’s fuel cell solutions enable partners like Energy Vault to harness the potential of hydrogen fuel cell technology and support the California Public Utility Commission’s vision of clean microgrid generation.
Energy Vault is also working on constructing a community microgrid for Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) to supply Calistoga with a minimum of 293 megawatt-hours of dispatchable carbon-free energy during planned outages and Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS) events. The microgrid will integrate a short duration battery system with a long duration storage system consisting of fuel cells and green liquid hydrogen. Plug Power’s fuel cell technology will serve as the stationary backup power generator for the microgrid.
Under a long-term tolling agreement with PG&E, Energy Vault will own, operate, and maintain the energy storage system, while Plug Power will deliver 8 MW of fuel cell power using 40-foot ISO containers. The fuel cells will be manufactured in the United States, primarily at Plug Power’s gigafactory in Rochester, New York, and assembled and tested at Vista Technology Park in Slingerlands, New York. This production approach allows Energy Vault to leverage the additional 10% Investment Tax Credit (ITC) available for American-made content.
This collaboration between Plug Power and Energy Vault represents a significant step forward in leveraging hydrogen fuel cells for clean and reliable emergency power solutions. By combining their expertise and technologies, they are setting the stage for a more sustainable and resilient future, not only in Calistoga but also for other communities facing similar challenges.