Central California electric utility Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) is planning to replace three aging natural gas power plants in its network with stationary energy storage installations from Tesla.
The approval of the plan to replace three aging peaker power plants with stationary storage installations by the California Public Utilities Commission is the culmination of an effort by the Commission to encourage PG&E to look to stationary energy storage solutions as alternatives to the aging paradigm of natural gas-fired peaker plants.
The effort to transition utilities away from natural gas plants and to stationary energy storage supports the broader state-wide push to source 100% of its electricity from zero-emission sources by 2045, which includes adding 1.3 gigawatts of energy storage to the state’s grid by 2020.
The CPUC approved a plan to install four new stationary energy storage installations in PG&E territory that would see an additional 568 megawatts of new storage being added. The installations are led by an impressive 300 MW/1,200MWh installation by Vistra Energy Corporation that will be the largest battery storage project in the world.
“Vistra is excited for this opportunity to work with PG&E, and the State of California, to develop a world-class battery project on our Moss Landing site, while building industry-leading expertise in the development and commercialization of battery storage assets,” said Curt Morgan, Vistra’s president and chief executive officer. “The Moss Landing battery project will be the largest of its kind in the world and will position Vistra as a market leader in utility-scale battery development.”
esVolta will install and operate a 75 MW / 300 MWh Hummingbird Energy Storage LLC installation in Santa Clara County in Northern California that is planned to come into servce in December of 2020. “esVolta is delighted to be selected by PG&E for the Hummingbird project. PG&E is a leading North American energy company and a key customer for esVolta, and this contract award is an important milestone for our company as we build towards our goal of assembling a large portfolio of utility-scale, advanced energy storage projects,” said Randolph Mann, president of esVolta.
A smaller distributed installation by Micronoc Inc will see an additional 10 MW of capacity being installed across several customer locations to round out the bunch.
Tesla was contracted for the second largest installation of the bunch, with a 182.5 MW facility just to the south of San Jose, California, according to Bloomberg. After the installation by Tesla, PG&E will own the facility in what could be a transition of the operation and maintenance of what are effectively peaker plants from external operators to the utility itself. This highlights yet another advantage of grid scale stationary energy storage facilities which require FAR less maintenance and ongoing care than natural gas peaker plants.