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PPA with Southern California Edison for Leeward Renewable Energy’s first standalone BESS

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US developer Leeward Renewable Energy has signed a 15-year power purchase agreement (PPA) with utility  Southern California Edison for a 126MW battery storage project in California’s Kern County.

Texas-headquartered Leeward Renewable Energy (LRE) has a background in wind energy development. Combining its wind and solar PV developments, it has to date brought around 2.7GW of generation capacity online across more than 20 projects. LRE is in the portfolio of OMERS Infrastructure, an arm of Canadian pension plan investor OMERS.

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Although its solar PV development activities include utility-scale solar-plus-storage projects, several of which have been reported on by this site, its Antelope Valley Battery Energy Storage System (Antelope Valley BESS) is LRE’s first-ever standalone battery storage project.

With a 4-hour duration (504MWh), it will help Southern California Edison (SCE), one of California’s three main investor-owned utilities (IOUs), meet its resource adequacy requirements and increase its use of renewable energy.

Including the aforementioned solar-plus-storage projects in its portfolio, it will also bring Leeward’s BESS track record to more than 1GWh in operation. Leeward said construction is expected to begin in the middle of this year, which given that it is now July, must be imminent, with Antelope Valley BESS scheduled to go into commercial operation early in 2024.

Antelope Valley BESS is on a site adjacent to two LRE solar-plus-storage projects: Chapparal Springs, which is a 174MW PV plant paired with a 88MW/352MWh BESS, on which LRE closed financially in January with a US$260 million construction financing deal; and Rabbitrush, a 100MW solar PV plant with 20MW/50MWh BESS.

Chapparal Springs is under construction and LRE signed a PPA for that project with Valley Clean Energy, one of California’s non-profit Community Choice Aggregator (CCA) energy suppliers.

System integrator Powin Energy was picked as the BESS supplier to Rabbitrush in 2021, and the project marked the first to be supplied with thin-film PV modules by US maker First Solar in a 10GW supply deal with LRE.

Construction of Rabbitrush was completed and commercial operation started in late 2022. Two other CCAs, Central Coast Community Energy and Silicon Valley Clean Energy are offtakers to that one, through 15-year PPAs.

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