SCE PPA moves Southern Power to add 160 MW energy storage to California solar projects

By Rod Walton, Power Engineering and POWERGEN+ content director

The wholesale energy subsidiary of Southern Co. is adding battery storage capacity to two of the solar facilities it operates in California.

Southern California Edison awarded Southern Power two 20-year power purchase agreements (PPAs). The wholesale producer is adding the energy storage to the Tranquility and Garland solar farms.

“These projects will be two of the first co-located solar and storage projects operating in the California market,” said Southern Power President Bill Grantham. “We’re excited to be a part of the effort to enhance California’s grid reliability. The addition of these storage resources to our clean energy portfolio is a great strategic fit for our business and will further position Southern Power to meet our customers’ needs as the energy industry continues to evolve.”

The battery-based energy storage additions will enhance California’s grid reliability by providing Southern California Edison and the California ISO (CAISO) with additional flexible resource capacity that will assist in further integrating intermittent renewable energy into the grid. For the Garland Solar Facility in Kern County, California, 88 MW and 352 MWh of energy storage will be added, while 72 MW and 288 MWh will be added to the Tranquility Solar Facility in Fresno County, California.

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The energy storage projects will be owned in partnership with AIP Management (on behalf of Danish pension funds PKA and PenSam) and Global Atlantic Financial Group, both of which have existing ownership interests in the Garland and Tranquility solar facilities that went into commercial operation in 2016. Southern Power operates the solar projects and will be responsible for operating the energy storage projects upon completion.

The 200-MW Tranquility solar farm began operations in 2016 and was developed by Canadian Solar subsidiary Recurrent Energy. It is located on 1,900 acres of retired agricultural land.

See our coverage of utility-scale solar projects

Recurrent Energy also developed the 200-MW/272-MWh Garland project, with the 2,000-acre site operational at the end of 2016.

The California Public Utilities Commission has authorized more than 1,500 MW in energy storage capacity to be built in the state.

(Rod Walton is the content director for Power Engineering, POWERGEN International and POWERGEN+ virtual series. He can be reached at 918-831-9177 and rod.walton@clarionevents.com).

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