Imperial Irrigation District brings online new 30-MW energy storage system

Imperial Irrigation District (IID) in California has commissioned a 30-MW; 20-MWh lithium-ion battery storage system designed to increase reliability by providing the ability to balance power while integrating renewable energy resources into the local grid.

The system was dedicated by IID and representatives from Coachella Energy Storage Partners on Oct. 26, according to a news release from IID. The system should provide spinning reserve and “black start” power restoration capabilities.

Construction of IID’s battery energy storage system, which is considered to be one of the largest of its kind in the western U.S., began late last summer. As the project neared completion, the system has been tested and is ready to operate at full capacity, if needed, IID said.

The battery energy storage system has been created to mitigate stability and power quality issues as renewable energy resources are integrated into the IID grid, allowing the district to further diversify its energy portfolio, IID said.

The project adds reliability to the IID grid, allowing the district to “black start” units at its El Centro generation station.

“With the increase of renewable energy and distributed generation in our electric system, the new battery energy storage system will help smooth variable generation and increase system-wide reliability,” said IID Board of Directors President Norma Sierra Galindo. “The system will provide a much faster, environmentally friendly alternative than traditional generation.”

General Electric (NYSE:GE) has provided Coachella Energy Storage Partners with an integrated storage solution for the project. This is one of GE’s largest energy storage projects to date and one of few of its lithium-ion storage projects. The project’s operator is ZGlobal.

Both ZGlobal and Coachella Energy Storage are firms based in California. The lithium ion batteries were manufactured by Samsung SDI America.

The third largest public power provider in California, IID manages more than 1,000 MW of energy derived from a diverse portfolio of resources, including solar, geothermal, biomass and hydro. IID awarded CESP the project through a competitive bidding process.

About Wayne Barber 4201 Articles
Wayne Barber, Chief Analyst for the GenerationHub, has been covering power generation, energy and natural resources issues at national publications for more than 20 years. Prior to joining PennWell he was editor of Generation Markets Week at SNL Financial for nine years. He has also worked as a business journalist at both McGraw-Hill and Financial Times Energy. Wayne also worked as a newspaper reporter for several years. During his career has visited nuclear reactors and coal mines as well as coal and natural gas power plants. Wayne can be reached at