Energy Efficiency
Energy Storage

California utility commissions 125 MW in new solar, storage and DR projects

Southern California Edison struck six new agreements on Sept. 8 for 125 megawatts of battery storage, solar and demand response.

The procurement is part of the utility's Preferred Resources Pilot, which will use battery storage and other clean energy resources to supply power to densely populated cities in Orange County, California.

"We want to find out whether these resources can reliably meet the needs of a metropolitan area, delivering the energy that is needed, when it is needed, and for as long as it is needed," said Colin Cushnie, SCE vice president for energy procurement and management. "This pilot is helping us move forward in development of a grid of the future that will support use of clean energy technologies and help us meet our state's environmental goals."

The new projects are expected to come online between 2019 and 2020 and will add to the 136 MW of clean energy resources that have already been procured for the pilot, SCE said. The pilot program will study how solar, wind, battery storage, energy efficiency and energy conservation can be used to offset increasing electricity demand in Orange County.

SCE said increasing demand is due in part to the closure of the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station, as well as the impending retirement of nearby ocean-cooled power plants, both of which may impact grid reliability. While these generation exits could lead to the need for new, gas-fired generation, the pilot study could prove additional generation is not necessary, SCE said.

Advanced Microgrid Solutions was one of six companies chosen and received the largest contract — 40 MW. Under the contract, AMS will build, own and manage networks of advanced energy storage systems with SCE commercial and industrial customers to provide load control in key areas. AMS will also install a combination of advanced energy storage, demand management software and energy efficiency technologies at select locations to manage demand and avoid the need for new generation. Customers who host AMS's energy storage systems can expect lower energy bills as the batteries reduce demand during peak times.

SCE also awarded a 35-MW contract to Convergent, a 15-MW contract to Hecate, and a 10-MW contract to NextEra Energy for battery storage. It awarded NRG Energy a 10-MW contract for a solar and battery storage hybrid project, and a 5-MW contract to Swell for a demand response battery storage project. NextEra Energy was also awarded a separate 10-MW demand response contract from energy conservation and battery storage.