Grid-scale batteries and renewable energy

Grid-scale batteries. GE
GE grid-scale batteries

Utilities increasingly are considering investing in grid-scale batteries as a way to produce enough power during peak periods. They mostly have built natural gas plants to supply needed extra electricity. However, costs for lithium-ion batteries have dropped so much that it’s becoming cheaper to install batteries and renewable energy.

The grid requires power supplied right when it is needed, and usage varies considerably throughout the day. When grid-connected batteries help supply enough electricity to meet demand, utilities don’t have to build as many power plants and transmission lines.

About half of the new generation capacity built in the U.S. annually since 2014 has come from solar, wind or other renewable sources. Natural gas plants make up the much of the rest but in the future, that industry may need to compete with energy storage for market share.

Los Angeles

The City of Los Angeles will not rebuild three natural gas plants and instead will move towards 100% renewables using battery storage.

Last March, the group released a study by Synapse Energy Economics which it says demonstrated that LADWP could transition to all renewable energy in about a decade.


Portland General Electric plans a first ever for the US, a wind / solar / battery co-location. There will be 300 MW of wind, 50 MW solar, and 30 MW battery storage.

The project was an “exciting opportunity” to combine solar, wind and storage NextEra CEO and president Armando Pimentel, who also said that Wheatridge “will allow PGE’s customers to benefit from more renewable energy over more hours of the day and create substantial economic value for the communities that host this project, many of whom stand to benefit for years to come”.


Intersect Power is considering building 495 MW or battery storage next to 495 MW of solar. If it happens, it will be the world’s largest battery system.

The project would increase the state’s installed solar capacity to over 6.8 GW and the energy storage capacity to 584 MW.

The solar-plus-storage pairing in the middle of the Permian Basin could help meet energy needs for oil-field operations.

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