Located in the South Bay region of Los Angeles County, California State University Dominguez Hills (CSUDH) serves nearly 15,000 undergraduate and graduate students. A core tenet of the university’s mission is to make sustainable environmental, social and economic practices a way of life. Its Campus as a Living Lab for Sustainability initiative explores and applies sustainability concepts and theories to educate students and make the campus more sustainable.
Over his nine years at CSUDH, Kenneth Seeton, central plant manager and energy manager, has launched several projects designed to reduce energy consumption and costs, including LED lighting and HVAC upgrades. Seeton also initiated an energy storage strategy and participates in a demand response (DR) program. All these measures ease demand on the utility grid, helping to reduce the need to build new peaker plants.
Seeton recognized that to continue reducing his operational costs while progressing on sustainability goals – such as shifting systems from natural gas to electricity to lower the university’s carbon footprint – he needed to add intelligent energy storage to the campus.
The CSUDH batteries reduce demand from the grid throughout the day and automatically provide far better grid relief via automated load reductions than what was possible with manual adjustments. The campus now also acts as a Virtual Power Plant, flexibly providing approximately 400 kW of load reduction during a DR event. When combined with the energy storage system, the campus can intelligently deliver up to 1,400 kW of load reductions.
The Athena platform continually learns and adapts over time, performing thousands of calculations, forecasting simulations, and split-second decisions to optimize battery use. By monitoring CSUDH’s load curve, the solution can determine how much load it can discharge while still being able to manage demand peaks. Visual dashboards have enabled Seeton to demonstrate Stem’s energy storage benefits to university officials, other campuses, and visitors from around the world.