California regulators approve SDG&E energy storage projects
- The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) last week approved two energy storage projects proposed by San Diego Gas & Electric, the result of a May directive from regulators that utilities speed battery projects to boost regional reliability and guard against natural gas storage.
- AES will construct the storage projects on utility-owned property in Escondido and El Cajon, Calif.
- The projects, including a 30 MW and a 7.5 MW installation, are expected to be operational early next year.
SDG&E was already bidding out storage projects when California regulators said they wanted to pick up the pace, allowing the utility to have the AES project on the table within months. The CPUC is pushing for expedited deployment to avoid potential blackouts in the state, related to gas losses at the Aliso Canyon natural gas storage facility.
"We were in the process of a competitive solicitation for energy storage and already had completed a pre-evaluation of respondents," SDG&E Chief Development Officer James Avery, "As a result, we could move quickly to respond to the CPUC's request for expedited proposals."
The utility signed an agreement with AES in mid-July for a total of 37.5 MW of lithium-ion battery storage. The batteries will charge when there is an abundance of solar and wind energy, and will supply higher-priced load when demand spikes.
The CPUC required SDG&E to procure a total of 165 MW of energy storage by 2020, to be operational by 2024.
In March, SDG&E signed a contract with Hecate Energy Bancroft LLC for a 20-MW energy storage facility capable of powering 28,000 homes for up to four hours. Alongside the battery project, it also announced an 18.5 MW efficiency program it will run with Willdan Energy Solution.
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