Yerba Buena 4 MW / 28 MWh Energy Storage Project Recognized As “Innovative”

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The PG&E Yerba Buena energy storage project in San Jose, California, resulted from joint efforts between S&C Electric Company, an engineering and construction firm, the Electric Power Research Institute, and the main utility for northern California PG&E. A several-million-dollar grant was also made by the California Energy Commission to fund the project, which was selected as a 2015 finalist for the Energy Storage North America Innovation Awards. Troy Miller, Director of Grid Solutions at S&C Electric Company, generously answered some questions about the project for CleanTechnica.


1. Sodium sulphur batteries are used in the storage system… why was that type of battery selected?

NaS was the best energy battery on the market in terms of price, energy density, and reliability.

2. About how long is it expected that these batteries will last?

At least 15 years with a daily charge/discharge cycle.

3. How are the batteries monitored to keep tabs on how they are performing or if there are any issues, such as if the chemistry is optimal or perhaps if an individual battery needs to be adjusted or even replaced?

The individual cells and the overall system is monitored by a Battery Management System (BMS). The BMS keeps tabs and recommends any required optimization or individual cell replacement.

4. Power is provided to the research facility… what kind of research is being conducted there?


5. 4 MW and 24 MWh of backup electricity is provided by the system. The number of megawatt-hours is very impressive. Does that number mean there can be backup power for up to a full day and night, if necessary, if one MW was being used? Or is the configuration for the full 4 MW for 6 hours?

Correct, either 1 MW for a day or 4 MW for 6 hours.

6. The energy storage seems to have been a success. Would you say it has been very successful, mildly successful, or a home run?

I would say that this has been a home run.

7. Will the utility consider installing similar energy storage solutions in the San Jose area or at other sites in the Bay Area?


8. Are there any other energy storage solution projects in development?

PG&E has several recent energy storage procurements for deployment within the next 3 years.

9. Because of the benefits these energy storage systems provide, would you expect that they will become more common in Northern California?

I would expect so, yes.

10. Eventually, will it be possible for a number of energy storage systems to replace a peaker plant?

I do believe that energy storage will eventually replace peaker plants in the US. Please see this recent interview with the NextEra CEO, Jim Robo, where he suggests the same.

Related: What Will Drive Growth Of Stationary Battery Energy Storage Systems?

Image Credit: S&C Electric

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Jake Richardson

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