Energy regulators in California are being asked to approve installation of four battery storage facilities to replace reliance on gas peaker plants for grid reliability.
The Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) is asking the California Public Utilities Commission to approve installation of four lithium-ion units— with a combined BESS capacity of more than 560 megawatts— to replace local gas generation plants in the South Bay area.
The Commission asked PG&E to propose gas alternatives earlier this year— after rejecting a request to award “reliability must-run” (RMR) status to gas generator Calpine.
RMR units provide services essential to the reliability of the transmission network and receive guaranteed tariff payments. However, the Commission said “lack of competition involving RMR can lead to market distortions and unjust rates for power”.
Now PG&E wants to own and operate one transmission-connected 182.5MW BESS at one of its substations. Another three third-party BESS units would include a 10MW “aggregation of behind-the-meter batteries” interconnected to local substations, plus 75MW and 300MW stand-alone, transmission-connected units.
Roy Kuga (pictured), PG&E’s vice-president for grid integration and innovation, said: “Recent decreases in battery prices are enabling energy storage to become a competitive alternative to traditional solutions.”