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California community energy supplier SDCP secures 304MW of energy storage agreements

By Matthew Biss

San Diego Community Power (SDCP) has negotiated three agreements totalling 304MW of energy storage capacity to fulfil part of its long-term energy portfolio.

During a SDCP Board of Directors meeting held 23 May 23rd 2024, individuals from the electricity provider’s power services team presented three items outlining details of the agreements which were unanimously approved by the Board.

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SDCP is a not-for-profit electricity provider formed in 2019 as part of California’s Community Choice Aggregation (CCA) programme. The scheme allows entities within service areas of investor-owned utilities, such as Southern California Edison (SCE) and Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E), to purchase electricity on behalf of local residents and businesses.

Across the state of California, there are currently 25 operational CCA programmes. Giving customers the choice of where their power comes from, several CCAs have been enthusiast adopters of renewable energy and energy storage.

Aypa Power: Euismod BESS project

Under an Energy Storage Services Agreement (ESSA), SDCP will have access to 200MW/800MWh of energy storage capacity from Aypa Power’s 600MW/2,400MWh Euismod standalone battery storage project located approximately 16 miles west of Rosamond in Kern County, California

The project was selected by SDCP as part of the CCA’s 2023 CAISO Transmission Planning Process Request for Information (TPP RFI). SDCP will pay the Blackstone-owned Aypa Power a fixed price with no escalation for capacity, energy arbitrage and ancillary services from the Euismod project for a period of 15 years.

Information relating to pricing within the contract was redacted but was described by SDCP as “competitive” and delivering “significant value” to customers.

The Euismod project will interconnect to the CAISO-controlled electricity grid via SCE’s Whirlwind 230kV Substation. The facility will be located nearby several other large renewable facilities including Clearway Energy Group’s Rosamond complex which interconnects to the same SCE substation.

Aypa Power has a single CAISO interconnection position for this project (queue no. 2055) which is being processed as part of the system operator’s Cluster 14 process. The ESSA is contingent on Aypa Power obtaining an interconnection agreement although one has yet to be agreed amongst the developer, CAISO and SCE.

Under the terms of the ESSA, SDCP’s portion of the Euismod project has a guaranteed Commercial Operation Date (COD) of 1 June 2028. Meeting chair and Council member for San Diego Joe LaCava acknowledged the “continuing challenges” with CAISO but also noted “penalty provisions” within the contract that SDCP had in place.

In the event that Aypa Power is unable to achieve certain development milestones, SDCP would receive financial compensation.

Middle River Power: Two hybrid facilities

Under two separate Financially Settled Toll and Energy Storage Agreement (ESAs), SDCP has purchased the financial hedge and capacity attributes from two hybrid battery facilities being developed by Middle River Power (MRP).

MRP is constructing separate 52MW/52MWh battery facilities at two of its legacy natural gas-fired turbine plants located in Otay Mesa and Escondido named the Border and Enterprise projects. The lithium-ion based hybrid facilities were selected by SDCP as part of its 2024-2026 RFI for resource adequacy (RA) solicitation.

SDCP will pay MRP a fixed price with no escalation for a period of 15 years once the facilities are up and running. The guaranteed CODs for the Border and Enterprise facilities are in June 2026 and December 2026, respectively.

Similarly to the Aypa Power agreement, details relating to contract pricing were redacted within the meeting documents.

Otay Mesa battery storage fire prompts concerns

During the meeting, Joe LaCava raised concerns about battery fires following a recent fire at the Gateway Battery Energy Storage facility owned by Rev Renewables located in Otay Mesa, California. The project has been operating since 2020 and was claimed by the developer to be the world’s highest capacity battery during the time.

In a document posted 28 May on X (formerly Twitter), the California Department of Foresty and Fire Protection (CalFire) for San Diego stated that it was removing final evacuation orders after seeing no signs of thermal runaway for three days, although the risk still remained.

Latest deals follow Primergy agreement

In March this year it was announced by utility-scale solar and battery storage developer Primergy Solar that it had signed a long-term Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with SDCP for the entire output of its Purple Sage Energy Center, as reported by our colleagues at PV Tech.

The project is a proposed 400MWac solar facility co-located with a 1.6GWh BESS located in Clark County, Nevada. SDCP expects to start receiving energy from the facility in 2027.

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