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CPUC approves California utility projects including PG&E’s 1.6GW/6.4GWh BESS

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The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) has approved new projects by the state’s three investor-owned utilities, including nine battery energy storage system (BESS) facilities proposed by PG&E totalling 1.6GW/6.4GWh.

The CPUC has approved the projects which were proposed by PG&E in January in response to an order to procure 11.5GW of clean energy capacity, under the CPUC’s internal resource planning process.

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They will also partially contribute towards a portion of additional resources for Summer Reliability Targets for 2022 and 2023, a requirement enacted in December 2021 after extreme weather events that year placed a strain on the grid.

The resources have to come online between 2023 and 2026 but PG&E expects these nine (which total 1,598.7MW to be exact) will be fully operational by June 2024.

They are all four-hour lithium-ion, stand-alone, transmission-connected BESS projects ranging from 80MW/320MWh to the the largest, Vistra’s 350MW/1,400MWh extension to Moss Landing, already the world’s largest BESS.

The nine BESS projects by PG&E

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 Energy125MW/500MWhVacaville, Solano CountyJune 2024
Kola Energy StorageNextEra Energy275MW/1,100MWhTracy, Alameda CountyJune 2024
Nighthawk Storage Tenaska 300MW/1,200MWhPoway, San Diego County June 2024
Caballero Energy StorageOrigis99.7MW/398.8MWhNipomo, San Luis Obispo County June 2024

All nine will provide power to the California ISO (CAISO) grid under a Long-Term Resource Adequacy Agreement contract with a lifetime of 15 years. Resource Adequacy is CAISO’s programme to ensure the grid has enough capacity to deliver power to customers. The state aims to have a carbon-free grid by 2045.

PG&E procured the sites through a competitive tender process using net market value (NMV) and other qualitative factors like being located in a disadvantaged community.

BESS projects in The Golden State are now primarily making money through Resource Adequacy and wholesale energy trading, with an installed capacity of nearly 3GW and a frequency response market of only 500MW.

The CPUC has also approved the 2020 energy storage plans for all three investor-owned utilities, PG&E, SDG&E and SCE (Southern California Edison) which has seen them procure 1,325MW of power in response to Assembly Bill 2514, to come online by the end of 2024. SCE and PG&E have procured 580MW each while SDG&E has procured 165MW.

The CPUC has also authorised two clean energy programmes from SCE: a home energy storage pilot funded at US$5 million and a heat pump programme funded at US$13.9 million.

The commission also approved changes to SCE’s 20-year power purchase agreements (PPA) with two combined cycle gas power plants from AES. The agreement will provide an additional 49.5MW of power capacity and 16.5 MW of energy and ancillary services at no additional cost, the commission said.

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