What California operators are calling the largest battery storage project in the nation has connected to the state’s grid system and could facility how it incorporate higher penetration of intermittent renewable energy resources.
Putting the Gateway Energy Storage Project into operation added 62.5 MW of interconnection to the California Independent System Operator (CAISO) grid. Gateway is located in San Diego County and owned by LS Power Group.
CAISO officials called Gateway the start of a dramatic growth in energy storage capacity for the system. Numerous planned projects could add 923 MW of storage by the end of the year, more than quintupling the previous battery capacity statewide.
One week earlier, Terra-Gen brought 16.5 MW of its Mojave 90 wind-storage hybrid project into service.
“We are at a turning point for storage on our system,” said Steve Berberich, ISO president and CEO. “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.”
Gateway is a lithium-ion battery system which will have a total capacity of 250 MW when it is fully online as expected by August. It would become the largest battery energy storage system in the world, according to CAISO.
CAISO serves about 80 percent of California and a small part of Nevada. California state leaders are mandating 100 percent clean energy generation by 2045, including 33 percent by the end of this year.
Energy Storage backers say that utility-scale batteries can smooth out the so-called “duck curve” effect of greatest solar penetration during the day when demand is relatively low, but solar generation drops as residential demand rises in the evening. California is the nation’s leading solar energy state, with more than 27,400 MW installed capacity as of last year, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association.