Two new battery energy storage projects will enhance California’s grid reliability with additional flexible resource capacity for integrating intermittent renewable energy into the grid. Southern Power has awarded Mitsubishi Power Americas and Powin an order for two utility-scale battery energy storage system (BESS) projects totaling 640 megawatt hours (MWh).
The BESS projects are among the first collocated solar and storage projects in California and represent some of the largest retrofits of solar and storage in North America to date, according to the parties involved. They are designed for a 20-year life cycle and four hours of energy storage duration. Southern Power’s 205 megawatts (MW) Garland Solar Facility in Kern County will add 88 MW and 352 MWh of energy storage, and its 204 MW Tranquillity Solar Facility in Fresno County will add 72 MW and 288 MWh. Both projects are scheduled to come online in 2021.
The energy storage projects will be owned in partnership with AIP Management and Global Atlantic Financial Group, both of which have existing ownership interests in the Garland and Tranquillity solar facilities that went into commercial operation in 2016. Southern Power operates the solar projects and will be responsible for operating the energy storage projects upon completion.
Just last month, Environment + Energy Leader reported on how California is adding batteries to its electrical grid at a frantic pace: the state is said to be adding 1,700 megawatts of new battery capacity to the grid this year, in the hopes of avoiding a repeat of last summer’s rolling blackouts, BloombergNEF reports. To put it in perspective: that’s more battery capacity than all of China.
Bloomberg says the state’s massive battery movement will be the “biggest test yet of whether batteries are reliable enough to sustain a grid largely powered by renewables.” California has a goal of reaching 100% renewable power by 2045.