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Asset manager Greenbacker buys 120MWh BESS project in California


Greenbacker Capital Management has acquired a 30MW/120MWh battery energy storage system (BESS) in California.

The firm has bought the four-hour duration project, called Haltville BESS, from developer SunCode Energy.

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It is expected to come online in the third quarter of 2023, and already has a long-term power purchase agreement in place with an ‘investment-grade utility’. Although the announcement didn’t specify, this is most likely a Resource Adequacy agreement with one of the state’s three investor-owned utilities (IOUs), PG&E, SDG&E and SCE.

Resource Adequacy is the framework through which grid operator CAISO ensures there is enough power to meet demand with a reserve margin, without the need for centralised auctions, the route taken by grid operators in the UK and Northeast US.

The Holtville BESS is the largest standalone energy storage project in Greenbacker’s portfolio of clean energy assets.

Transaction counsel for Greenbacker was Greenberg Traurig while Troutman Pepper served as counsel for SunCode Energy.

“Utility-scale energy storage is central to both our investment thesis and our broader mission of empowering a sustainable world,” said Mehul Mehta, CIO of Greenbacker.

“Our successful partnership with SunCode Energy on our largest BESS asset to date will lower power bills while increasing grid stability in California, and we look forward to working together on future clean energy collaborations.”

California is the largest battery storage market in the world by GW deployed and, while more was deployed in Texas in Q1, it is expected to lead deployments this year too. A recent large-scale project to come online is the 548MWh system from RWE while a 1,200MWh extension to what is already the largest project in the world is set to be completed this summer, from Vistra Energy.

These are mostly lithium-ion projects but other technologies are being deployed in longer durations with financial aid from the California Energy Commission, including a zinc-bromine 20MWh system and a 10MWh vanadium flow battery.

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