LA Battery Storage Projects Add Grid Capacity, Reliability in Energy Hungry Region

California Battery Storage

(Credit: GridStor)

by | Oct 31, 2022

California Battery Storage

(Credit: GridStor)

A battery storage project that will help increase grid resilience and further state and federal energy targets is being planned for the Los Angeles area.

The project will be a part of an acquisition by GridStor of multiple battery storage developments already underway. The developments have a capacity of 500 megawatts and 2 GW hours, and the battery storage sites are being built in urban locations in the Los Angeles basin area near existing power lines and substations, which will allow the batteries to be quickly connected to the electric grid.

Portland, Oregon-based GridStor says once online — sometime between 2024 and 2026 — the projects will provide the necessary capacity to help regional utilities with grid reliability and will be a piece of managing the increasing amount of renewable energy being added to the state’s electric grid being managed by California’s Independent System Operator (CAISO). GridStor, a developer and operator of grid-scale battery energy storage systems, acquired the projects from San Diego’s Upstream Energy.

California could be considered the center of the need for clean energy development and the regulations needed to achieve grid resilience through capacity.

The state’s energy reliability has long been challenged by high-demand periods. Wildfires have resulted in rolling blackouts and also the need to develop energy backups such as microgrids. This past September the state also faced unprecedented heat that resulted in grid emergencies and calls for conservation to make sure power remained intact.

California also has a range of ambitious energy legislation and requirements in the books. To meet the goal of developing a carbon-free electricity system by 2045, the California Energy Commission estimated that 49 GW of battery storage capacity will be needed.

At the end of the last legislative session, state lawmakers passed a variety of laws to increase renewable energy and grid resilience in the state. The legislation included $54 billion to go toward energy programs in the state.

CASIO has been aggressive in getting battery storage systems online. By the end of June 2022, it estimated it would have more than 3.7 GW of battery storage capacity in place. Utility Pacific Gas and Electric also has contracts in place for several large-scale that is worth nearly 3.3 GW of battery storage capacity by 2024.

In March 2022, the Sacramento Municipal Utility District signed its first solar and battery energy system renewable power purchase agreement. In another technological advance, Southern California Gas recently began demonstrating a renewable hydrogen microgrid.

GridStor says the Inflation Reduction Act is also spurring the development and implementation of battery storage systems. Under the legislation, stand-alone energy storage projects are eligible for Investment Tax Credits for the first time. According to a Reuters report, most new solar projects in California include battery storage, but many are hampered by grid interconnectivity processes with CAISO as well as ongoing supply chain issues.

GridStor says the project will help grid operators integrate more solar and wind power by storing renewable energy during peak generation periods while distributing it during times of peak demand. The company says it targets markets seeing rapid growth of renewable energy sources, the retirement of thermal power plants, and facing grid instability due to natural events and aging infrastructure.

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