Southern California Edison (SCE) has signed a contract with Ameresco, a cleantech integrator and renewable energy asset developer, owner, and operator, to design and build three grid scale battery energy storage systems (BESSs) at existing substation parcels throughout SCE’s service territory in California. To efficiently meet the electrical demands in the San Joaquin Valley, Rancho Cucamonga and neighbouring communities, and the Long Beach area, the contracted systems will be installed at three unique distribution-level substation sites in SCE’s service territory.

The systems have a total capacity of 537.5 MW and a four-hour endurance, totalling 2,150 MWh. The three substation systems represent a novel method to integrate advanced energy storage at the distribution level in order to address overall system capacity and reliability requirements. They will be operated in such a way that they maximise grid reliability by charging during periods of excess power and discharging during times of necessity.

A turnkey Engineering, Procurement, Construction, and Maintenance (EPCM) contractual method will be used for the project. As per a company statement, this aggressive strategy will greatly boost grid dependability due to the impact of extreme weather occurrences in the state, with a targeted commercial operation date of August 2022. Further, this project will contribute to California’s clean energy goals and enable SCE and its parent company to meet its 2045 net-zero greenhouse gas emissions target.

REGlobal’s Views: Power utilities in California are focusing on integrating vast energy storage systems in their grids so as to help address the intermittency issues caused by a high penetration of solar and wind energy and create more stable grids. This trend is likely to continue as high volumes of renewables are added in the state’s energy mix.