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D.E. Shaw signs 200MWac/400MWh solar and storage PPA


D. E. Shaw Renewable Investments (DESRI) has signed a solar and battery energy storage system (BESS) renewable power purchase agreement (PPA) totalling 200MWac/400MWh with a local utility.

The project is the largest combined solar PV and storage facility in northern California under PPA, claimed D.E. Shaw and off-taker Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) in a press release. It will be on the east side of Sacramento County and begin commercial operations ‘no later than 2024’.

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“Our DESRI team is pleased to continue our longstanding partnership with SMUD on the development of this landmark clean power project, especially considering the groundbreaking size and battery storage integration,” said Hy Martin, chief development officer of DESRI.

“This first-of-its-kind project took significant effort by all project partners and shows SMUD’s leadership in its drive towards carbon-free electricity generation in coming years.”

The existing agricultural ranch on the site will continue to run in parallel and other key aspects of environmental sustainability have been built into the project, the press release adds. Bona Terra Energy assisted as co-developer in the project.

DESRI has not yet replied to’ request for a clarification on whether the project is a true hybrid solar-plus-storage resource – where the solar connects to the battery which then dispatches to the grid – or more straightforward colocation – where the solar PV and battery are two separate assets which share a common connection to the grid. This story will be updated to reflect its response.

SMUD, a community-owned utility, is working towards installing nearly 4GW of renewables and demand-side resources by 2040. It aims to provide net-zero-emission power to its 1.5 million customers in and around Sacramento by 2040.

Other large solar and storage projects under PPA in California include the massive Rexford 1 Solar & Storage Centre, in Tulare County, which combines 400MWdc (300MWac) of solar PV capacity with a 180MW/540MWh battery energy storage system (BESS). Set to become operational in 2023, it is being developed by 8Minute Solar Energy who signed the 15-year PPA with Clean Power Alliance, a community choice aggregator (CCA) group.

Clean Power Alliance also bagged the output of an even larger project near San Diego, EDF Renewable’s Desert Quartzite. That combines 300MW of horizontal single-axis tracking solar PV with a 600MWh battery energy storage system (BESS) and is expected to be commissioned in February 2024. Their PPA runs for 15 years.

DESRI’s claim that this is the largest such project under a PPA in northern California depends on how you define the unofficial ‘vernacular’ region. When asked, most residents in Redding said they do not consider their southerly neighbour Sacramento part of northern California. In Merced in the south, a sizeable minority said northern California encompasses Tulare county, where 8Minute’s Rexford project is (Source: North State Public Radio).

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