PG&E Opens Historic Battery Energy Storage System at Moss Landing – Monterey Herald
MOSS LANDING — Monterey County is once again leading the way into the future of clean energy storage as industry leaders this week ushered in the use of Pacific Gas and Electric’s latest addition to its Moss Landing electrical substation – a 182.5 megawatt Tesla Megapack battery energy storage system.
The system, dubbed Elkhorn Battery, which became fully operational in April, was designed and maintained by both PG&E and Tesla, and is owned and operated by PG&E. It has the capacity to store and ship up to 730 megawatt hours of energy to the California power grid at a maximum rate of 182.5 megawatts for up to four hours during periods of high demand. That’s enough to power 225,000 homes in Monterey County.
But for those behind the historic expansion, the impact extends far across the central coast.
“This is just the next step in bringing clean energy and a bright, prosperous future to all Californians,” PG&E CEO Patti Poppe said at a groundbreaking ceremony Monday.
The completion and now operation of PG&E’s Elkhorn Battery project is the culmination of nearly four years of planning, development and construction. First approved by the California Public Utilities Commission in November 2018 and the Monterey County Planning Commission in 2020, the project began in July 2020, with heavy construction through 2021. Earlier this year it was fully powered and certified for market participation by the California Independent System Operator, officially bringing the system online.
The value of the Elkhorn Battery lies in its ability to integrate affordable clean energy into the California grid, which, in turn, improves the reliability of the statewide energy supply, the carrier explained. word from PG&E, Paul Doherty, ahead of Monday’s ceremony. The batteries, he said, allow operators to store solar power during the day when it is plentiful, as well as when demand is generally low, then offload the reserved power to the grid when demand is low. increase.
“It’s a win-win-win,” Doherty said. “It’s more affordable energy, it’s cleaner energy, and it helps the state meet the needs of the grid, you know, especially during times like peak demand in the summer, when there’s has potential power shortages.”
The Elkhorn Battery system participates in the California Independent System Operator wholesale electricity markets, which manages the flow of electricity for approximately 80% of California.
To illustrate what the facility means to customers and real-time state energy storage, Poppe cited a success story of the system from its short period of active operation. Just 10 days after connecting to the grid in April, Elkhorn saw a midday charging cost of about $10/megawatt hour, when the system had “clean, abundant, renewable energy resources,” Poppe said. Meanwhile, at peak demand, power was selling at $100/megawatt hour, but Elkhorn had already reserved power to ship.
“It saves money for our customers and brings clean energy that otherwise would have been a diesel-generated, fossil-fuel-powered resource,” Poppe said. “People, I think sometimes, speculate that California is going too far with clean energy. Heck no, we’re just getting started, and a facility like this makes that possible.”
The system includes 256 Tesla Megapack battery units on 33 concrete slabs, with each unit containing batteries and power conversion equipment in a single cabinet. Transformers and switchgear are also being installed alongside megapacks to connect the energy stored in the batteries to PG&E’s existing 115 kilovolt electronic transmission system at Moss Landing.
Project manager Alan Prior explained that the system design incorporates a lot of redundancy “so if something goes wrong with a bit, we can take it out of service” and the installation will still operate as needed. He added that below the visible batteries and transformers is about five feet of infrastructure to support operation. All equipment is also seismically rated so it will continue to operate during an earthquake.
Although the Elkhorn Battery system is complete, speakers at Monday’s ceremony pointed out that this venture is part of a larger trend – and is not near the end of PG&E’s plans for clean energy storage. in California. Currently, PG&E has contracts for battery energy storage systems totaling more than 3,330 megawatts of capacity deployed statewide through 2024, of which 955.5 megawatts have already been connected to the California power grid.
This, in addition to the new Elkhorn battery system commissioned at Moss Landing, includes a 200 megawatt Diablo storage system in Contra Costa County; 60 megawatt Coso battery storage located in Inyo County; Vista Moss Landing’s 400-megawatt battery energy storage facility, which completed Phase II last year; 63 megawatt NextEra Blythe system in Riverside County; and a 50 megawatt gateway system in San Diego County.
The systems are part of PG&E’s efforts to procure energy resources prompted by the California Public Utilities Commission’s 2021 ruling ordering all state load utility entities, including investor-owned utilities such than PG&E, to collectively procure 11.5 gigawatts of new electrical resources.
The power would come online between 2023 and 2026 to support California’s greenhouse gas reduction policy and to replace power generation from scheduled withdrawals from Southern California natural gas power plants and of PG&E’s Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant.
PG&E expects more than 1,400 additional megawatts of storage capacity to come online in 2022 and 2023.
“We are building (a) future that our grandchildren and our grandchildren’s children can be proud of. … We will have ensured that they have clean, reliable and secure energy, and that they are powering the lives and prosperity they dream of,” Poppe said, concluding Monday’s ceremony. “We’re making it happen, and we’re making it happen right here in Elkhorn today.”