Moss Landing may soon be the location of the largest energy storage project in the world.
Late last month, Pacific Gas and Electric asked the state to approve four lithium-ion battery storage projects. Three of the projects would be owned and operated by a third party while one would be built by Tesla and owned and operated by PG&E. All would be located within the South Bay–Moss Landing local sub-area.
The projects would serve to help facilitate renewable power by storing solar energy generated during the daylight hours and then delivering that energy back to the grid after the sun goes down and the need for power is greater.
“... We believe that battery energy storage will be even more significant in enhancing overall grid reliability, integrating renewables, and helping customers save energy and money,” said Roy Kuga, vice president, Grid Integration and Innovation for PG&E, about the overall endeavor.
If approved, once constructed and operational, the project could come online by December 2020 and make Moss Landing the energy storage capital of the world.
While Kuga noted that the recent decreases in battery prices are enabling energy storage to become a competitive alternative to traditional solutions, Ted Terrasas, the sustainability coordinator for the city of Monterey said that the need to store power is a response to the solar boom.
“With solar, you have to have the capacity to either use it or store it,” explained Terrasas, noting that 10 years ago the need to store it wasn’t an issue. “Before, we never had that problem – any power being generated was being used but now we’ve got way too much power and we can’t figure out how to hold onto it. What we’re not using, we need to have somewhere to put it. When it comes on the grid, you use it to power something or put it in a battery.”
It was in January that the California Public Utilities Commission ordered PG&E to solicit energy storage projects to address energy needs.
The company selected the offer for the utility-owned project — a 182.5 MW battery energy storage system (BESS) that would be comprised of Tesla Powerpacks. According to PG&E, it would address local capacity requirements and enable enhanced local reliability. It will also participate in the California Independent System Operator (CAISO) markets, providing energy and ancillary services to the CAISO-controlled grid.
Another project spearheaded by energy company Vistra (that recently merged with Dynegy Inc.) could become the first grid-scale lithium-ion battery installation to store more than a gigawatt-hour of energy.
One of the contracts would be awarded to Micronoc Inc. for an aggregation of behind-the-meter batteries located at customer sites and interconnected to local substations. Another third-party contract would go to Hummingbird Energy Storage LLC for a stand-alone transmission-connected 75 MW BESS located near Morgan Hill.
Tom Habashi, the CEO of Monterey Bay Community Power said the proposed projects would be helpful when dealing with the state’s renewable energy problem.
“The bottom line is, if we are to further reduce our carbon emissions in a significant way, we must reduce our need for natural gas and other fossil fuels during the hours that renewables are not producing electricity through storage,” said Habashi.
Added Kuga,“Energy storage plays an increasingly important role in California’s clean energy future.”
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