The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power's Board of Water and Power Commissioners on Aug. 15 advanced a utility-scale battery storage project at a solar plant in the Mojave Desert that LADWP said will allow for greater utilization of nearly 600 megawatts of solar power, while helping to maintain grid reliability and reducing the use of LADWP's natural gas-fired generating units.
The LADWP board approved an agreement with Doosan GridTech CA LLC to build the Beacon Energy Storage System, or BESS, a 20-MW lithium-ion battery energy storage system that will interconnect with the Beacon Solar Plant and Barren Ridge Switching Stations near Mojave, Calif.
The new storage project will add to LADWP's energy storage portfolio, which already includes 1,296 MW of energy storage capacity, LADWP noted in an Aug. 16 news release.
The BESS "is a unique type of battery energy storage system that will be an integral part of LADWP's ability to meet its long-term clean energy goals and mandates and help diversify LADWP's portfolio of energy storage technologies while maintaining reliability and keeping electricity rates low for our customers," said LADWP General Manager David Wright.
The BESS will help LADWP meet its target of 178 MW of new energy storage by 2021, as set forth in a California law (AB 2514), which allows local governing bodies, such as the Los Angeles City Council and its Board of Water and Power Commissioners, to establish energy storage targets for their public power utility.
LADWP had accelerated the timeline for the BESS from the original 2020 completion date to March 2018 to address grid reliability issues created by the interruption in natural gas supply from Southern California Gas' Aliso Canyon storage facility.
LADWP said the project is strategically located to capture and mitigate the variability of 600 MW of solar power and 135 MW of wind power generated by several utility-scale renewable projects in LADWP's largest renewable energy corridor in neighboring Kern County.
This renewable energy hub connects to the city's power grid through the recently constructed 1,200-MW Barren Ridge Renewable Transmission Project and allows LADWP to increase the amount of renewable energy serving Los Angeles.
In 2016, the public power utility provided 29 percent of its customers' energy needs from renewable sources.
"As renewable energy becomes an even larger share of LA's total energy portfolio, energy storage provides a carbon-free, clean energy solution to integrating intermittent renewable energy onto the grid. It will also help avoid over-generation of solar, while ensuring LADWP continues to meet federal electric grid reliability standards," LADWP said in the news release.
Reiko Kerr, LADWP's senior assistant general manager of power system engineering, planning and technical services, noted that the Beacon battery storage project will join the 1,296-MW Castaic Pumped Hydro Energy Storage plant and other smaller storage projects already in LADWP's storage portfolio.
"Instead of curtailing solar, the BESS will use plentiful, low-cost renewable energy to charge up its batteries, and discharge that energy later during periods of higher prices, while lowering emissions by replacing fossil fuel generation," she said.
Board also approves storage procurement target updates
In a separate action, the board on Aug. 15 approved updates to LADWP's energy storage procurement target as required by AB 2514. While the law allows publicly owned utilities to establish their own energy storage targets, it also requires the target be re-evaluated every three years.
Based on an analysis of grid reliability needs and costs, LADWP will maintain its energy storage target of 178 MW by 2021, as set forth in its 2016 integrated resource plan (IRP), but has revised the location of energy storage within the power grid to be more cost effective.
These targets may increase with completion of the LADWP 2018 IRP, the public power utility said.
The BESS project will also help keep LADWP on track to meet a target set under a plan set forth by Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti that includes a target of 1,750 MW of energy storage by 2025.