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Utility bankruptcy blow for California battery storage?

Mon, 02/04/2019 - 00:00 -- John Shepherd

Plans for four major energy storage projects in California could be under threat after the Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

The California Public Utilities Commission had granted approval for the lithium-ion projects— totalling 567.5 megawatts/2,270 megawatt-hours—to replace retiring gas generators.

The proposals included a 300MW/1,200MWh system— billed as “the largest system of its kind in the world— to be provided by Vistra Energy and located on the site of the Moss Landing Power Plant.

However, PG&E said on 29 January it was seeking court approval to access US$5.5 billion in debtor-in-possession financing to support operations and ongoing safety initiatives.

PG&E had not responded to questions from BEST Battery Briefing about the future of the battery projects at the time of going to press.

The utility cited lawsuits from victims of Californian wildfires and tens of billions of dollars in potential liabilities when it announced it planned to file for bankruptcy.

State investigators recently determined that the utility’s equipment was not to blame for a 2017 fire that caused deaths in northern California wine country.

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