PG&E Proposes Plan For 567 MW of Energy Storage

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Power lines in Central California
Credit: David Prasad via Flickr

Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) this week requested approval of four energy storage projects totaling approximately 567 megawatts (MW), in a filing at the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC).

In January, the CPUC authorized PG&E to launch an accelerated solicitation for energy storage projects capable of meeting reliability needs for three specified local sub-areas in the northern central valley (Pease local sub-area and Bogue local sub-area) and spanning Silicon Valley to the central coast (South Bay - Moss Landing local sub-area).

PG&E issued its request for offers on February 28 and received offers from numerous participants. After careful evaluation, PG&E selected one offer for a utility-owned project and three offers for third-party owned projects, all to be located within the South Bay - Moss Landing local sub-area. (see chart)

The proposed utility-owned project is a 182.5-MW lithium-ion battery energy storage system (BESS) located within PG&E's Moss Landing substation. This transmission-connected BESS will address local capacity requirements and will participate in the California Independent System Operator (CAISO) markets, providing energy and ancillary services.

"Energy storage plays an increasingly important role in California's clean energy future, and while it has been a part of PG&E's power mix for decades – starting with the Helms Pumped Storage Plant in the 1980's – recent decreases in battery prices are enabling energy storage to become a competitive alternative to traditional solutions. As a result, 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, PG&E.

Related: Pumped Hydropower Plus Wind, Solar Is Path To 100 Percent Renewable Energy

The three contracts awarded for third-party owned projects also are lithium-ion battery projects.

The projects include: a 10-MW aggregation of behind-the-meter batteries located at customer sites and interconnected to local substations within the South Bay – Moss Landing local sub-area; a stand-alone, transmission-connected 75-MW BESS located near the city of Morgan Hill; and a stand-alone, transmission-connected 300-MW BESS located in Moss Landing.

PG&E is implementing transmission solutions, rather than energy storage contracts, for the Pease and Bogue local sub-areas that would effectively address capacity shortfalls and alleviate voltage issues in those areas, respectively.

If approved by the CPUC, the first of PG&E's proposed projects is scheduled to come online by the end of 2019, with the other projects scheduled to come on-line by the end of 2020.

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