ArcLight: Legacy thermal plant sites ‘make excellent potential locations for battery projects’

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ArcLight views its portfolio of existing thermal power plant assets as “excellent potential locations for battery projects,” with sites in New York and now California earmarked for development.

Affiliates of the Boston-headquartered equity investment firm have legacy power plants at which steps are being taken to deploy large-scale battery energy storage system (BESS) assets.

On Monday (27 June), one of those companies, Generation Bridge, said that it is progressing plans to execute a 67MW/335MWh BESS installation at the site of a 252MW natural gas plant in Long Beach, California.

Generation Bridge has a portfolio of 4,895MW of thermal plants spread across California, Connecticut and New York State, all of which were acquired by ArcLight from NRG Energy in 2021. A representative for Generation Bridge / ArcLight said that the group has plans to put storage at other sites too.

While the source would not be specific, they said: “certain projects have already filed for electrical queue positions and others are under evaluation,” and the company is known to be developing a 15MW BESS at its Arthur Kills plant site in New York.

Last week, another of the equity group’s affiliates, Eastern Generation, received state approval for a 135MW BESS project at the site of its 959MW fuel oil and natural gas plant in Astoria, New York.

That is likely to be accompanied by two more projects at Eastern Generation power plant locations, totalling 350MW, Energy-Storage.news reported.

It has long been noted that getting interconnection to the grid in the US – and in many other parts of the world – can be a slow waiting game and often a costly process for renewables and energy storage assets.

While various actions are being taken, both by industry stakeholders, experts and clean energy advocates as well as at federal level by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), the number of projects waiting to obtain grid connection is in the multiple gigawatts in most parts of the US.

Generation Bridge announced this week that key interconnection studies have been completed for the Long Beach California Pier S Battery System Project, as the company has called it, including charge, discharge and transmission of the full proposed capacity of the 335MWh BESS.

The BESS will utilise the existing interconnection, real estate and site infrastructure that is already there at the site.

‘Critical locations of the electrical system’

This is something that has been seen elsewhere around the world at several battery projects in development, already constructed, or that have been proposed.

Perhaps the highest profile is the world’s largest BESS, which has been installed at the site of Moss Landing power plant in California, although other examples include various coal plant sites in Australia that have been proposed by the generation companies that own them.

“Obtaining interconnections for greenfield projects remains an impediment,” the ArcLight representative told Energy-Storage.news.

“Certain legacy projects are sited on critical locations of the electrical system. The confluence of site availability and electrical location make ArcLight’s legacy sites excellent potential locations for battery projects.”

Generation Bridge is targeting a commercial operation date for the Long Beach project for 2025, which would be around the time Eastern Generation hopes to have its New York BESS portfolio up and running. Commercial discussions have already begun for the Long Beach system.

As would be typical for a project of its scale in the California market, the Long Beach BESS would provide resource adequacy, peaking capacity, load following, support “grid integrity” and other ancillary services, the representative said.

While the proposed plan is for a five-hour duration system, battery sizing at this stage is preliminary and subject to change.

“The [Long Beach] BESS Project is a tangible example of the ongoing energy transition and ArcLight’s focus on leveraging its ownership interests in over 20,000MW of conventional power generation assets to develop emissions-free, dispatchable resources that further facilitate the integration of renewable energy resources into the existing power grid,” ArcLight founder and managing partner Dan Revers said.

ArcLight is also considering solar PV projects at some sites, the representative also said.

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