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Clearway inaugurates 482MW solar-plus-storage project in California

By JP Casey
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US independent power producer Clearway Energy has started commercial operations at its Daggett solar-plus-storage facility, which includes 482MW of solar capacity and 280MW of battery storage.

The project, at which Clearway started construction in 2021, is located next to the decommissioned Coolwater gas-fired power plant in San Bernadino County, southern California. While Clearway plans to continue work at the project, a third phase of development that will see the company add an additional 113.5MW of battery capacity and be brought online in 2025, Clearway has signed deals with six load serving entities to offtake power generated at the project.

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“The Daggett facility is a vital asset for the Clean Power Alliance (CPA), providing enough energy to power approximately 85,000 homes in Southern California,” said Ted Bardacke, CEO of the CPA, one of the organisations to acquire power from the project.

“There were numerous challenges in getting this project across the finish line including the pandemic, supply chain delays, solar panel tariffs, and extraordinary global crises such as the war in Ukraine,” continued Bardacke. “I’m glad we were able to work together to bring us to where we are today.”

The commission of projects such as this will be good news for the California renewables sector, with the state aiming to meet 100% of its energy demand by clean energy sources by 2045. Californian solar generation has increased twentyfold between 2012 and 2022, and according to the California Energy Commission, in 2021, 37% of the state’s electricity came from solar and wind.

As with other recent and ongoing projects in Clearway’s portfolio, the battery energy storage system (BESS) equipment was supplied and integrated by Wärtsilä. Other projects the pair have partnered on include two large-scale solar-plus-storage plants in Hawaii which have both entered commercial operation.

Wärtsilä signed a deal in mid-2022 to supply 500MW/2,000MWh of BESS at five Clearway projects in total, with two further sites in California remaining.

As the project’s construction got underway in 2021, the BESS output and capacity was given as 394MW at 4-hour duration (1,576MWh), which would rank Daggett among the biggest projects of its type in the US.

Clearway noted in a release last week that the first 280MW/1,120MWh of BESS to come online together with the solar PV plant will be followed by the remainder in the next phase of project development: a separate off-taker has been contracted with for the remaining 113.5MW, which is scheduled to come online in 2025.

The use of battery storage facilities in particular will be significant, as California has sought to encourage new storage facilities in recent years. According to the California Independent System Operator (CAISO), battery storage capacity installed in the state increased from 250MW to 5GW between 2019 and 2023, and the state government expects this capacity to grow to 52GW by the middle of the century.

This story first appeared on PV Tech.

Additional reporting for Energy-Storage.news by Andy Colthorpe.

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