SDG&E to Add More Energy Storage to Improve Regional Reliability
On August 18, 2016, The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) approved a proposal by San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) to build two new energy storage projects in San Diego County. In May, the CPUC directed Southern California electric utilities to fast-track additional energy storage options to enhance regional energy reliability.
Adding storage resources improves the overall reliability of the grid as it allows the system to accommodate greater amounts of renewable power and helps to ease congestion. SDG&E proposes to charge the batteries during times when there is an abundance of solar or wind power and discharge them during the peak usage time in the early evening.
“We were in the process of a competitive solicitation for energy storage and already had completed a pre-evaluation of respondents,” said James P. Avery, SDG&E’s chief development officer. “As a result, we could move quickly to respond to the CPUC’s request for expedited proposals.”
In mid-July, SDG&E signed an agreement with AES for a total of 37.5 megawatts (MW) of lithium-ion battery storage. AES is a major supplier of advanced storage technology and other energy resources around the world. SDG&E will own the storage projects that AES will build on utility-owned property in Escondido and El Cajon. The larger of the two will be a 30-MW unit and the smaller will be a 7.5- MW unit. Construction will begin immediately and should be completed in early 2017. The CPUC requires SDG&E to procure a total of 165 MW of energy storage by 2020, to be operational by 2024.