ORIGINAL REPORTING: Major Utility Plans Big Batteries For Emergencies
SCE Emergency Big Battery Project May Be a Gamechanger
Herman K. Trabish, October 28, 2021 (California Current)
Editor’s note: Batteries big and small are increasingly the key point in planning for the power system’s future.
Southern California Edison just announced it is procuring 537.5 MW of battery energy storage to be online mid-summer, a move that could accelerate the transition away from fossil fuels to using clean energy to provide reliability.
This would be “a significant benchmark in our transition to a carbon-free electric system,” Center for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Technologies Executive Director V. John White told Current. “It will add important utility experience with large-scale batteries in the real world under [a July 1 joint statement from] stress conditions.”
Three large lithium-ion battery installations at existing SCE substations totaling 2,150 MWh are scheduled to be online by August 2022. They were bought pursuant to the authority in the California Public Utilities Commission 2020 Emergency Reliability rulemaking (R.20-11-003). They are to provide system and local reliability beyond next year.
The 537.5 MW will be installed at SCE-owned substations in San Joaquin Valley, Rancho Cucamonga, and Long Beach. It will significantly help meet the utility’s 675 MW emergency reliability system resource adequacy requirement and just increased 19% planning reserve margin for June through October 2022, William Walsh, VP for Energy Procurement and Management, told Current.
The battery project, costing an estimated $1.23 billion to install and operate, will be discharged to meet local or system emergency power shortages, Walsh said. They will be charged during low cost, low load, high solar periods and discharged during high cost “net peaks,” when stored solar can avoid the natural gas generation normally used to meet peak demand after the sun sets.
These installations also will show that batteries at substations can displace “diesel generators and ratepayer costs for burning diesel fuel” that PG&E has initiated, CEERT’s White said. The SCE project’s size, location, and accelerated timeline show battery storage is becoming a crucial part of the power system as California regulators expand efforts to protect against [Emergency Proclamation] increasing threats to reliability… … click here for more