California utility PG&E proposes 1.6GW/6.4GWh of new battery storage across nine projects

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Rendering of the Edwards Sanborn project in Kern County, California. The site includes separately utilised standalone battery storage and solar-plus-storage facilities Image: Terra-Gen / CPA.

Plans to procure energy from nine large-scale battery energy storage system (BESS) projects in California have been announced by Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E), one of the state’s three main investor-owned utilities.

The proposals come as a result of an 11.5GW clean energy procurement electricity suppliers — called load-serving entities — in California were ordered to make by the regulatory Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) in mid-2021

Investor-owned utilities and Community Choice Aggregator groups must contract for resources which will come online between 2023 and 2026. PG&E’s share of that is at least 2,302MW. 

Due to the urgent need to replace retiring fossil fuel and nuclear capacity and meet growing demand for electrification while keeping the grid reliable, CPUC allowed for 10% of procurements to include fossil fuel resources, if they represent efficiency improvements, upgrades or repowering of existing sites. 

In announcing the procurement order, CPUC said that allowing the inclusion of even that small proportion of fossil fuel generation had been a very difficult decision to make, not least of all with California pursuing 100% clean electricity by 2045 under its SB100 policy enacted in 2018. Nonetheless, given the urgency of the procurement, CPUC had pushed ahead.

PG&E, which has the retirement of the 2.5GW Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant in its service area to contend with in the short-term, offered details yesterday of the nine projects it has proposed to help it meet its obligations under the procurement. All were selected through a competitive solicitation process.

Each one of them will utilise lithium-ion BESS technology, and 15-year agreements for Resource Adequacy — the mechanism by which California load-serving entities must guarantee they can deliver energy to ensure reliable supplies — have been entered into between PG&E and project developers. 

As such, the projects will all use four-hour duration battery systems. All will be standalone battery storage systems, connected to the transmission network.

The utility said two more solicitations will be held to add the remaining capacity it requires. 

The projects

Project nameDeveloper/OwnerOutput/CapacityLocation Online date
Beaumont Energy StorageTerra-Gen100MW/400MWhBeaumont, Riverside CountyAugust 2023
Edwards Sanborn Energy StorageTerra-Gen169MW/676MWhMojave, Kern CountyAugust 2023
Canyon Country Energy StorageTerra-Gen80MW/320MWhSanta Clarita, LA CountyOctober 2023
MOSS350Vistra350MW/1400MWhMoss Landing, Monterey CountyAugust 2023
Inland Empire Energy StorageStrata Clean Energy100MW/400MWhRialto, San Bernadino CountyApril 2024
Corby Energy StorageNextEra Energy100MW/400MWhVacaville, Solano CountyJune 2024
Kola Energy StorageNextEra Energy275MW/1,100MWhTracy, Alameda CountyJune 2024
Nighthawk Storage Arevon Energy (affiliate)300MW/1,200MWhPoway, San Diego County June 2024 (pending local approval)
Caballero Energy StorageOrigis99.7MW/398.8MWhNipomo, San Luis Obispo County June 2024

A couple of those project names may be familiar to regular Energy-Storage.news readers: Edwards Sanborn shares a name and location with one of the largest — if not the largest — lithium-ion solar-plus-storage projects in construction globally, with the standalone BESS contracted for separately. 

The MOSS350 project at Moss Landing represents an expansion project for Vistra Energy’s Moss Landing Energy Storage Facility, which at present is the world’s largest standalone lithium-ion BESS (400MW/1,600MWh)

The new projects bring up PG&E’s total contracted battery storage pipeline to more than 3,330MW, to be deployed by the end of 2024. Around 1,100MW of that will come online this year and next year, including Elkhorn Battery, PG&E’s own 182.5MW/750MWh project at the Moss Landing site. 

The new projects will play into the wholesale market operated by California grid operator CAISO, providing energy and ancillary services as required. Resource Adequacy contracts ensure that a project’s owner or asset operator can guarantee that their system will be available to play into these services, as directed by the utility’s contract. 

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