California is requesting 3.3 GW of battery storage for renewable energy from the utilities, including a ginormous 770 MW online by next summer. This is notable for both the unprecedented size of the projects and for the battery storage being sited next to existing solar PV at the point of interconnection. The goal is continuous energy supplying consumers during peak demand, regardless of whether the sun is out. Grid scale batteries coupled with renewables can now deliver that.
The new batteries will eventually replace four natural gas plants, are cost-effective with other forms of energy, and will smooth out the infamous duck curve where renewables generate too much energy during the day and not enough at night.
Most of the winning projects will be co-located with existing solar farms that will charge the batteries, making them useful for integrating and smoothing the intermittency of the state’s growing share of renewable generation, as well as providing resource adequacy (RA) for times of peak demand in the late afternoons and evenings. That’s needed to replace grid capacity provided by four natural gas-fired power plants on the Southern California coast that use seawater for cooling, and have been ordered to close as soon as possible to reduce their environmental impact.