226MWh of vanadium flow batteries on the way for California community energy group CCCE

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California’s largest VRFB project to date, supplied by Japan’s Sumitomo Electric Industries (SEI), has been participating in wholesale market opportunities since 2018. Image: SDG&E / Ted Walton.

Four new grid-scale battery energy storage projects have been announced by California energy supplier Central Coast Community Energy (CCCE), including three long-duration flow battery projects. 

CCCE, one of the US state’s community choice aggregator (CCA) energy supplier groups, said it has selected the projects in response to a request for proposals (RfP) it issued in June. In total, 21 proposals from 16 developers were submitted and two more energy storage projects are still being considered along with the announced four. 

In what could be the biggest utility procurement of the technology so far in the world, vanadium redox flow battery (VRFB) systems with eight-hour storage duration will be built ranging in size from 6MW / 18MWh to 16MW / 128MWh, together with a four-hour lithium-ion battery system. CCCE gave an estimated date of 2026 for all of the approved projects to be operational.

The biggest VRFB project in California to date is thought to be the 2MW / 8MWh system inaugurated in 2017 in the service area of utility San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) in a project supported by the state’s government as well as Japan’s state New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organisation (NEDO). 

CCCE’s new projects are:

Project nameLocationTypeOutputCapacityDeveloper
Green Valley Energy Storage ProjectSalinasVRFB16MW128MWhConcentric Power Inc
Bodega Energy Storage ProjectGonazalesVRFB10MW80MWhConcentric Power Inc
Rava Mesa Unincorporated Monterey CountyVRFB6MW18MWhConcentric Power Inc
Industrial Parkway Storage ProjectSanta MariaLithium-ion10MW40MWhRenewable Properties LLC

“These local energy storage projects will create jobs, support the effectiveness of standalone energy storage, contribute to statewide grid stability, and support California’s transition to clean and renewable energy,” CCCE CEO Tom Habashi said.

“Long-duration energy storage plays an integral role in all of this. Central Coast Community Energy is proud to be innovating with emerging technologies within our service area.”

Community Choice Aggregators give consumers the option of selecting which sources their energy comes from. Many opt for green energy and according to the California Community Choice Association long-term contracts for 2,645.4MW / 9,237.6MWh of energy storage have been signed by CCAs in the state as of earlier this month. 

In July, Central Coast Community Energy signed contracts for 778MW of renewable generation and 118.75MW of energy storage in a joint procurement with Silicon Valley Energy, another of the CCAs. 

As noted in yesterday’s reporting on Energy-Storage.news about a proposed 400MW / 3,200MWh advanced compressed air energy storage project in California by Hydrostor, the state’s regulatory Public Utilities Commission has moved to procure 1,000MW of long-duration energy storage by 2028. 

This is thought to be the first competitive long-duration storage procurement planned in the US. Meanwhile a group of CCAs — not including CCCE — is holding a solicitation for 500MW of long-duration storage. The solicitation, issued in October 2020, is now closed and a decision is pending. 

With California’s combination of a target for carbon-free electricity by 2045 and shortfalls of energy on the grid, particularly during summer peak periods, the need for energy storage in the state is acute. State governor Gavin Newsom moved earlier this year to expedite energy storage project development, along with renewable energy

Newsom has also proposed putting hundreds of millions of dollars of financial support into developing long-duration energy storage in California. A report from consultancy Strategen earlier this year said that California could need 55GW of long-duration storage by 2045 to achieve its decarbonisation goals while making electricity supply resilient and reliable.

Another report, published this week by the newly-formed Long-Duration Energy Storage Council (LDES Council), stated that up to 140TWh of long-duration energy storage could be needed worldwide by 2040 to limit the worst impacts of climate change.

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