The US’ largest battery storage resource to date was connected to the California Independent System Operator’s (ISO) grid in June— with the 62.5MW lithium-ion system supplying more than a quarter of the area’s battery capacity.
The initial phase of LS Power Group’s Gateway Energy Storage Project in San Diego County signals an era of rapid battery growth for ISO through 2023 as the firm aims toward the state’s procurement targets.
The Gateway project aims to deploy 250MW of lithium-ion battery capacity when it is in full operation, which the company hopes will be in August.
The power grid, which serves about 80% of California and a small portion of Nevada, has around 216MW of storage capacity in commercial operation.
If all planned projects in the interconnection queue are completed on schedule, storage capacity will witness a six-fold jump to 923MW by the end of this year, compared to the start of the year, say ISO.
Steve Berberich, ISO president and CEO, said: “We are at a turning point for storage on our system. For many years, we have understood the promise of storage to take oversupply off the grid in the middle of the day and deliver it at the end of the day when the need is great.
“With some of these large-capacity projects coming online, 2020 will be the transition year for battery storage to play a critical role in integrating renewables in the future.”
Berberich predicts as much as 15GW of battery storage – of different duration levels and various technologies – will be needed to help the state reach its goal of cutting all carbon from power grids by 2045.
More battery storage is expected to be added to the ISO market in the next few years, most notably 300MW of a 400MW project planned by Vistra Energy Corp. at Moss Landing in Monterey Bay, and 187.5MW at the Gateway station.
Out of more than 170 battery ESS facilities of 1MW or more operating in the US, the second largest are 40MW in California and one in Alaska.
Some larger projects are on the horizon in the US, including plans for a system of more than 400MW in Florida, and another in Nevada due to be 380MW.