Pacific Gas and Electric seeks approval for 75 MW of energy storage projects

Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) said Dec. 2 that it has expanded its commitment to clean energy by presenting its first 75 MW of energy storage contracts to the California Public Utilities Commission for review and approval.

California’s Energy Storage Decision requires investor-owned utilities to procure 1,325 MW of storage by 2020. PG&E’s share is 580 MW.

Storage is expected to play an ever bigger role for California utilities as they work to achieve the state’s ambitious clean energy goals. By the end of 2015, PG&E forecasts that about 30% of its retail electric deliveries will come from renewable sources. Energy storage will help integrate many of those resources, such as wind and solar, which are intermittent or provide peak output during times of low demand.

Energy storage has been a part of PG&E’s power mix for decades, starting with the Helm’s Hydroelectric Facility and continuing with pilot projects such as the 2-MW Battery Storage Pilot at the Vacaville Substation and the 4-MW Yerba Buena Battery Energy Storage System located on the property of Silicon Valley storage technology company HGST.

In December 2014, PG&E issued a request for offers (RFO) to solicit proposals for energy storage projects. In addition to third-party owned storage offers, PG&E issued a list of five distribution substations where it would like to consider energy storage projects on distribution circuits to defer distribution investments. PG&E also identified three sites where it owns and operates solar photovoltaic facilities where energy storage could be added.

Fong Wan, PG&E senior vice president for Energy Policy and Procurement, said he was pleased with the first list of projects, and the role storage will play as PG&E works to meet renewable energy and storage goals.

“PG&E supports the state’s efforts to enable energy storage to play its appropriate role in the California electric grid to support the integration of utility scale and customer connected renewables, and is excited to take this first step in implementing these goals,” Wan said.

Over the last 12 months PG&E staff reviewed applications from numerous vendors interested in participating in the storage market. In selecting offers for storage projects, PG&E said it looked for projects which met at least one of three goals – grid optimization, renewable energy integration and greenhouse gas reduction.

The seven projects selected include four Lithium Ion Battery projects, two Zinc/Air Battery storage facilities and one Flywheel project (a first for PG&E). Flywheel technology uses kinetic energy to store energy and later supply that energy to the grid.

The first projects are due to come online in May 2017. The project backers, project names, technology and size are:

  • Amber Kinetics, Energy Nuevo, Flywheel, 20 MW;
  • Hecate Energy, Molino, Lithium Ion Batteries, 10 MW;
  • NextEra Energy, Golden Hills, Lithium Ion Batteries, 30 MW;
  • Convergent, Henrietta, Zinc/Air Batteries, 10 MW;
  • Western Grid, Clarksville, Zinc/Air Batteries, 3 MW;
  • Hecate Energy, Old Kearney, Lithium Ion Batteries, 1 MW; and
  • Hecate Energy, Mendocino, Lithium Ion Batteries, 1 MW.

Pacific Gas and Electric, a subsidiary of PG&E Corp. (NYSE: PCG), is one of the largest combined natural gas and electric utilities in the United States.

About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.