Arizona is stepping up its energy storage game with a new contract for battery supplier AES to install 100 megawatts of stationary storage for the utility Arizona Public Service.
The new installation will soak up electricity generated from solar during the day and dole it out to the utility as the sun goes down, extending the capability of the solar generation into the night. In doing so, it will allow more renewables to be added to the grid, by giving the grid operator more flexibility. AES will operate the new 100 megawatt (MW) unit for the 20-year duration of the lease and guarantees four-hour backup capability.
“By delivering solar after sunset, these projects with AES signal a new direction for how we can meet our customers’ peak need for energy with an increasingly clean mix of resources,” said Brad Albert, Vice President, Resource Management for APS. “This work with AES is also part of a long-term transition to larger roles for renewable and storage technologies in Arizona’s energy future.”
The installation is one part of a much larger push by the utility to install 850 MW of energy storage and 100 MW of solar generation by 2025. The recent advance into energy storage and solar represents an about face for the utility after it succumbed to the will of the lobbyists for entrenched electricity generators and denied equitable access to rooftop solar for homeowners.
According to GTM, 200 MW of these new energy storage installation will be colocated at existing solar farms, with another 500 MW deployed around APS’s service territory. The final 150 MW will be contracted out to third parties to own and operate.
“Arizona is realizing its great solar potential. As the state continues its transition to more sustainable energy sources, customers will require cost-effective and reliable electricity,” said Andrés Gluski, president and CEO of AES said in a statement about the new installation. “Energy storage can replace traditional peaking thermal generation to meet peak power demands while reducing greenhouse gas emissions and maximizing the use of renewable energy.”