San Diego Gas & Electric broke the news that it will be doubling the energy storage capacity of its network over the next 3.5 years to enable the adoption of more renewables in its service area.
SDG&E announced 5 approved grid-scale battery projects across its territory for a total of 83.5 megawatts (MW) with a storage capacity of 334 megawatt-hours (MWh). From the press release:
- Fluence will build a 40 MW/160 MWh lithium-ion battery facility in Fallbrook, Calif. The project is expected to be completed by March 2021.
- Renewable Energy Systems (RES) America will build a 30 MW/120 MWh lithium-ion battery storage facility in San Diego, Calif. The project is expected to be completed by December 2019.
- Powin Energy will build a 6.5 MW/26 MWh lithium-ion battery storage facility in Escondido, Calif. The project is expected to be completed by June 2021.
- Advanced Microgrid Solutions will build a 4 MW/16 MWh lithium-ion battery storage facility in San Juan Capistrano, Calif. The project is expected to be completed by December 2019.
- Enel Green Power will build a 3 MW/12 MWh lithium-ion battery storage facility in Poway, Calif. The project is expected to be completed by December 2021.
- OhmConnect is providing a demand response program for the equivalent of 4.5 MW.
“The approval marks yet another milestone in our journey to create a clean energy future for every family and business in southern California,” said Scott Drury, president of SDG&E. “These projects exemplify our commitment to expanding the use of innovative energy solutions such as battery storage and demand response to benefit customers and our communities.”
The geographical distribution of the projects highlight the ease with which grid scale batteries can be installed and integrated into the power grid relative to traditional natural gas-fired peaker plants that require substantially more infrastructure to generate power. Batteries on the other hand, absorb excess power throughout the day, sending it back to the grid when consumer demand exceeds electricity production, allowing utilities to stabilize the grid without having to ramp up any peaker power plants.
Renewables have exacerbated the need for grid-scale batteries as solar can only be produced when the sun is shining, regardless of when consumers are actually using electricity. Wind production is similarly weather-dependent and tends to crank out power at night as temperatures change. Adding large energy storage facilities give utilities the ability to moderate the impact of any disruptions to the grid on the production or consumption side.
“I’m excited we’re bringing more clean energy resources to San Diego and applaud SDG&E’s push to add more battery storage projects across the region,” said San Diego Mayor Kevin L. Faulconer. “These innovative projects will create good-paying jobs and help expand the use of renewable energy. I look forward to seeing this project come online next year and continue our collective journey toward a cleaner and greener San Diego.”
Complementing the new energy storage offerings is a 4.5 MW demand response program being executed in partnership with Ohm Response. Demand response programs offer participants incentives to slash consumption when the utility is experiencing peak demand. Paying consumers to reduce usage on demand is often the most cost-effective means of balancing the grid, as it does not require nearly as much up-front capital expenditure and offers the same net effect as starting up a peaker plant, but without any of the emissions.
In 2016, 43% of SDG&E’s power was generated from renewable sources, with the bulk of it coming from wind and solar. As San Diego continues to push towards 100% renewables by the target year of 2035, storage will continue to be an increasingly important part of the equation.
Source: Press Release
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