Viejas Tribe Energy Storage Project Enhances California’s Energy Transition

California Energy

(Credit: Pixabay)

by | Nov 4, 2022

California Energy

(Credit: Pixabay)

California continues to be at the center of energy transition initiatives, with numerous projects including microgrids, battery storage, and sustainably built houses coming online; the latest is a $31 million grant to the Viejas Tribe of Kumeyaay Indians to fund a long-duration energy storage system.

The system will provide renewable backup power to the Viejas Tribe and support statewide grid reliability, according to California Energy Commission (CEC). The grant is one of the largest ever to benefit a tribal government, the CEC says, and will demonstrate the potential for long-duration energy storage in the state.

The 60-megawatt-hour system will provide backup power to the Viejas community and offer the tribe the ability to shift electricity use away from the state’s electrical grid during calls for conservation. Indian Energy, a 100% Native American-owned microgrid developer, will build the project for the tribe.

Additionally, Indian Energy is taking part in a $13.5 million project with Eos Energy Enterprises for 35 MWh of the energy storage system project’s capacity capable of a 10-hour discharge duration. Indian Energy and Eos are expected to sign a long-term service agreement as part of that deal in the coming weeks.

It is the first grant awarded through the CEC’s $140 million Long-Duration Energy Storage Program and is part of California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s $54 billion commitment to increasing energy and sustainability initiatives in the state. More than 4 gigawatts of energy storage is currently installed in California Independent System Operator territory, and the state says more than 48 GW of battery storage and 4 GW of long-duration battery storage will be needed to achieve a net-zero grid by 2045.

Earlier this year, California lawmakers passed a range of energy legislation, which are considered some of the most ambitious at the state level. They include $8 billion in funding to decarbonize the electric grid and to implement 90% renewable energy use by 2030 en route to the 2045 goal.

Recently GridStor acquired multiple battery storage projects in the Los Angeles area that have a capacity of 500 MW and 2 GWh. KB Home is developing California communities with all-electric homes that have individual battery storage, and a shared community microgrid.

The San Pasqual Band of Mission Indians in the state also installed a microgrid system this year, which can provide up to 90% independence from the grid. It is intended to provide backup power to critical facilities, including the tribal hall, fire department, and education buildings.

The Viejas Enterprise Microgrid will include 15 MW of solar energy. The long-duration energy storage system will include technology from Invinity Energy Systems in addition to the Eos platform.

The Viejas Band of Kumeyaay Indians is one of the remaining 12 bands of the Kumeyaay Indian Nation and is located in San Diego County. Indian Energy has 4 GW of renewable generation and 6 GWh of energy storage currently under development.

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