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Berkshire Hathaway IPP secures energy storage offtake agreements with California community electricity provider

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BHE Renewables (BHER) has secured Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) with California community electricity provider Clean Power Alliance (CPA) relating to two of the developer’s hybrid solar-plus-storage projects in Kern County, California.

At a regular meeting held 7 June, CPA’s Board of Directors approved the two agreements that will provide the non-profit electricity provider with 46MW of battery storage capacity for a period of 20 years.

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CPA is one of 25 community electricity providers set-up as part of California’s Community Choice Aggregation (CCA) scheme providing electricity as an alternative to investor-owned utilities. The organisation is the biggest among the state’s CCAs, with electricity supplied to around 3 million customers in 35 Southern California communities in Los Angeles and Ventura counties.

The organisation representing the interest of California‘s community choice electricity providers, known as California Community Choice Association (CalCCA), said in a statement released last week that the PPAs were the 45th and 46th long-term energy agreement signed by CPA. The recent contracts increase CPA’s energy storage capacity within its overall energy portfolio to 1,934MW.

A few days after the meeting, Clean Power Alliance announced its annual request for offers for energy resources including standalone energy storage, renewable energy generation, renewables-plus-storage hybrids, resource adequacy (RA) and dispatchable thermal energy with RA contracts.

Energy storage resources entering the RFO, which is hosted on the Ascend Analytics Energy Exchange (AEX), must be a minimum of 15MW and 10-year and 20-year contracts are being offered for qualifying storage and hybrid storage projects.

Solar Star complex

Under the terms of the agreements, CPA will receive energy from two identically sized solar and battery storage facilities being developed by BHER at its Solar Star complex located approximately 7 miles southwest of Willow Springs in Kern County, California. The Solar Star Solar 3 + 4 facilities will each comprise a 24MW photovoltaic solar facility co-located with a 23MW/92MWh lithium-ion based BESS.

The Solar Star 3 and 4 facilities will interconnect to the CAISO-controlled grid via Southern California Edison’s (SCE’s) Whirlwind 230kV Substation. The two new developments will be located nearby BHER’s operational Solar Star 1 and 2 facilities which have 314MW and 265MW of solar capacity, respectively. BHER sells the energy generated by the two solar-only projects to SCE under separate long-term PPAs.

BHER has secured CAISO interconnection agreements for the two new Solar Star developments (queue no’s 1323 and 1324), along with necessary land use permits and approvals under the California Environmental Equality Act (CEQA). The Solar Star 3 facility is expected to be brought online in July 2025 and the Solar Star 4 project is anticipated to come online a month later in August 2025.

CPA will pay BHER a fixed price per MWh for energy and a kW-month fee for the energy storage capacity. The agreements include energy, ancillary services and resource adequacy.

Tight supply market

The PPAs relating to BHER’s Solar Star 3 + 4 facilities were selected by CPA after the developer submitted an offer outside of the electricity provider’s annual RFO procurement process.

In September 2023, CPA commenced negotiations with the developers of 10 projects which it had selected as part of its annual RFO procurement and put another 17 projects on a waiting list. In the agenda packet for the June 7 meeting, CPA stated that although it had secured four agreements as part of last year’s RFO, none of the remaining shortlisted or waitlisted projects remained viable.

CPA blamed the lack of available projects on a tight supply market caused by numerous factors including “delays to project interconnections, scarcity of projects with Full Capacity Deliverability Status (FCDS) and rising financing costs.”

CPA said it will continue to explore capacity procurement through bilateral offers in addition to its annual RFO process which seeks to fill a large portion of its energy portfolio with long-term contracts and reduce the need to purchase energy in volatile short-term markets.

Warren Buffet-owned Berkshire Hathaway

BHER is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway Energy Corporation – a holding company owned by investor Warren Buffet’s multinational conglomerate Berkshire Hathaway, Inc.

Berkshire Hathaway also owns utility NV Energy which recently announced a PPA with developer Arevia Power covering 700MWac of solar capacity and 700MW/2,800MWh of energy storage capacity from the developer’s Libra Solar project located in Mineral County, Nevada, as reported by Energy-Storage.News earlier this week.

22 October 2024
New York, USA
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