PG&E Proposes 6.4 GWh Battery Storage Plan

California is about to get more utility-scale battery storage — a lot more. Last June, the California Public Utilities Commission issued a directive requiring the utility companies serving customers in the state to install a total of 11.5 gigawatts of new electricity storage resources between 2023 and 2026. Those new  resources will help the state replace the 2.2 gigawatt Diablo Canyon nuclear plant, which is slated to retire in the middle of this decade, as well as many natural gas generating facilities. “This is enough to power about 2.5 million households in the state,” said CPUC Commissioner Clifford Rechtschaffen at the time of the announcement.

According to Utility Dive, the CUPC order requires utilities to bring on a minimum of 2,000 megawatts (MW) of new resources by the middle of 2023, another 6,000 MW by 2024, and to add 1,500 MW in 2025 and 2,000 MW in 2026. The order requires PG&E to procure at least 2,302 MW of storage between 2023 and 2026. “As we work year-round to strengthen our electric system, we are also planning, engineering and building the grid for a future that harnesses the power of solar plus storage on an unprecedented scale,” said Joe Bentley, PG&E’s senior vice president for electric engineering, in a statement.

1,600 MW/6.4 GWh Of Battery Storage

In a press release, the company said it is proposing 9 new battery energy storage projects with a total of  approximately 1,600 MW/6,400 megawatt-hours (MWh) of battery storage to further integrate renewable energy resources and improve reliability of the California electric system. If approved by CPUC, these nine projects would bring PG&E’s total battery energy storage system capacity to more than 3,330 MW by 2024.

The plan includes a proposed 15-year resource adequacy agreement with Vistra, which would expand the 400 MW/1,600 MWh Moss Landing energy storage facility by 350 MW/1,400 MWh. That expansion would make it the largest battery facility of its kind in the world. Construction would begin in May of this year, with full operation starting in June of 2023. Vistra expects it will be able to move forward with the project quickly as it already has an approved development permit for the site, as well as pre-existing interconnection and infrastructure.

The 9 projects announced by PG&E and listed below all feature lithium-ion battery energy storage technology, each with a 4-hour discharge duration. PG&E has executed 15-year Resource Adequacy agreements for each of the following projects:

  • Beaumont ESS I — comprised of a 100 MW stand-alone, transmission-connected battery energy storage resource located in Beaumont, California and scheduled to be online by August 2023.
  • Sanborn ESS I — comprised of a 169 MW stand-alone, transmission-connected battery energy storage resource located in Mojave, California and scheduled to be online by August 2023.
  • Canyon Country ESS I — comprised of an 80 MW stand-alone, transmission-connected battery energy storage resource located in Santa Clarita, Californa and scheduled to be online by October 2023.
  • Moss Landing Energy Storage 3 — comprised of a 350 MW stand-alone, transmission-connected battery energy storage resource located in Moss Landing, California and scheduled to be online by August 2023.
  • Poblano Energy Storage — comprised of a 100 MW stand-alone, transmission-connected battery energy storage resource located in Rialto, California and scheduled to be online by April 2024.
  • NextEra Energy Resources Development — comprised of a 125 MW stand-alone, transmission-connected battery energy storage resource located in Vacaville, California and scheduled to be online by June 2024.
  • NextEra Energy Resources Development — comprised of a 275 MW stand-alone, transmission-connected battery energy storage resource located in Tracy, California and scheduled to be online by June 2024.
  • Nighthawk Energy Storage — comprised of a 300 MW stand-alone, transmission-connected battery energy storage resource located in Poway, California scheduled to be online by June 2024.
  • Caballero CA Storage — comprised of a 99.7 MW stand-alone, transmission-connected battery energy storage resource located in Nipomo, California and scheduled to be online by June 2024.

Including these 9 new projects, PG&E now has contracts for battery energy storage systems totaling more than 3,330 MW of capacity being deployed throughout California through 2024, the company says. To date, more than 600 MW (of the 3,330 MW contracted) of new battery storage capacity has been connected to California’s electric grid including:

  • 400 MW Vistra Moss Landing Battery Energy Storage Facility in Monterey County, commissioned August 2021
  • 63 MW NextEra Blythe BESS located in Riverside County, commissioned August 2021
  • 50 MW Gateway BESS located in San Diego, commissioned July 2021

PG&E expects an additional 1,100 MW of storage capacity to come online in 2022 and 2023, including its Elkhorn Battery — a 182.5 MW installation that uses Tesla Megapacks — which is anticipated to be operational before summer 2022, pending final testing and certification.

Long Duration Storage

Both short and longer-duration storage developers are seeing a huge market in California, driven in part by policy, Utility Dive says. The CPUC procurement order created a 1 GW carve-out for long duration storage that is able to deliver at least 8 hours of maximum capacity. Late last year, developer Hydrostor announced two long duration projects in the state — a 500 MW/4,000 MWh storage facility in Southern California and a 400 MW/3,200 MWh facility in San Luis Obispo County, both utilizing compressed air storage technology.

California has one of the most aggressive renewable energy strategies of any US state. If you are wondering where your state will be in 5 to 10 years, all you have to do is see where California is today.

 

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