Speed of deployment and rapid demand response functions at grid-scale has seen California embrace battery energy storage systems in the face of potential blackouts.
Just over a year since a gas leak in the Aliso Canyon region of the US state utility Southern California Edison (SCE) has been busy tendering projects to tackle the threat of blackouts in the area.
Three of four firms have gone on-line in the past fortnight using lithium-ion batteries to reach a combined 42MW of capacity.
The most high profile would arguable be the Southern California Edison’s Mira Loma Substation in Ontario, which is powered by 20MW of Tesla supplied lithium-ion batteries.
The system contains 400 modular ‘power packs’, each containing 16 lithium pods.
But the real eye-opening statistic is the speed it was deployed, the whole system was built in just 88 days.
The other 20MW system was opened by utility AltaGas Ltd. The Pomona Energy Storage Facility is based at its existing facility in the East Los Angeles Basin of Southern California.
AltaGas completed construction of the lithium-ion battery system in less than four months.
David Harris, President and CEO of AltaGas, said: “Providing energy from electricity stored in lithium-ion batteries provides clean reliable energy that complements California’s renewable energy portfolio while adding to the versatility of our asset base which is well situated for pursuing other energy storage developments.”
In August 2016, AltaGas’ subsidiary, AltaGas Pomona Energy Storage Inc., signed a 10-year Energy Storage Resource Adequacy Purchase Agreement with Southern California Edison for the facility.
AltaGas will provide SCE with 20MW of resource adequacy capacity for a continuous four hour period. Commercial operations of the Facility under the terms of the ESA began on December 31, 2016.
Meanwhile, battery ESS firm Powin Energy was announcing its 2MW/8MWh system in Irvine, California was officially on-line.
The ESS, which was developed, manufactured, installed and commissioned will provide grid support services, including peak demand requirements, for SCE
The storage system consists of more that 2,400 battery packs, each containing 3.7 kWh of lithium iron phosphate prismatic modules. Eaton provided the power converter, transformers, and switchgear.
“The natural gas and resulting capacity shortages due to the Aliso Canyon emergency shutdown necessitated that we bring this project online by the end of 2016, ” said Geoff Brown, president of Powin Energy.
The third SCE project, a 5MW lithium-in ESS from developer Western Grid, is yet to come online. This contract is only for a three-year term, rather than the 10-year terms for the first two.
By early 2017, utilities SCE and San Diego Gas & Electric, the two Southern California utilities tasked with dealing with the Aliso Canyon crises, is expected to bring 104.5MW of new energy storage capacity online.
According to Ravi Manghani, director of energy storage at GTM Research it will be one of the largest and fastest deployments of clean energy technology in history.