California utilities embrace solar & battery storage solutions to replace retiring gas power plants
A few weeks ago the utility Southern California Edison selected a 195 MW battery portfolio to supply local capacity needs around Oxnard CA instead of the 262-megawatt natural-gas peaker plant it had chosen previously. Puente Gas Plant will be replaced with a 100-megawatt/400-megawatt-hour system in Oxnard constructed by Strata Solar, if approved. In large part this was due to community pressure and opposition with major support from the Sierra Club.
This system will tie for largest lithium-ion battery in the world; the AES Alamitos plant in Long Beach, CA of the same size is due around the same time. AES has been operating since the 1950’s.
The huge battery will be complimented with smaller units in the area, ranging from 10 to 40 megawatts.
This is an unprecedented outcome, in which independent power producer NRG saw its gas plant plans foiled before the final round of siting approval. It is a major victory for local activists who rallied against fossil fuel infrastructure ruining the Southern California coastline, as well as clean energy providers who had to prove they were ready for utility scale projects.
California has commited to a zero-carbon grid by 2045 which requires phasing out gas for flexible capacity and utilizing sustainable alternatives to replace it, with storage being a frontrunner.
In CA that process is underway in select locations. In November 2018 the utility PG&E procured a series of huge batteries for reliability purposes rather than pay to keep aging gas plants online south of the San Francisco Bay. Los Angeles has committed to phasing out gas power rather than rebuilding three plants in its territory.
With supportive policies and regulatory support, California leads the way in the early energy storage market however the demand is reflected in many states.
Check out the Green Tech Media Article here.