California exceeds 10 GW battery storage threshold – pv magazine International

California is building massive amounts of battery storage and the project pipeline shows no signs of slowing down. Batteries are playing an increasingly important role in the grid, taking solar energy in the middle of the day and shifting it to the evening peak, where they have become the single largest supplier.

To 10,379 MW, California has increased its battery capacity by 1,250% in the last five years – up from 770 MW in 2019. The state is expected to need 52 GW of energy storage to reach its ambitious goal of 100% clean electricity by 2045.

Developers plan to add 6,813 MW of battery storage capacity this year in the California Independent System Operator (CAISO) area, dominated by four-hour lithium-ion systems, according to an analysis from S&P Global Market Intelligence data.

“In just five years [since the beginning of the Newsom Administration]“California has increased its battery storage capacity by more than tenfold,” said California Governor Gavin Newsom. “Our energy storage revolution is here, and it couldn’t come at a more crucial time as we transition from a grid powered by dirty fossil fuels to one powered by clean energy.”

The ever-expanding battery energy storage fleet is becoming critical for California to maintain a clean and reliable electric grid – storing energy from renewable sources such as solar during the day for use when solar power wanes in the evening hours.

Just a few weeks ago, battery storage became the largest source of supply for the power grid for the first time, with their discharge exceeding 6 GW. In this groundbreaking event, battery storage overtook gas, nuclear, hydro and renewables as the largest source of supply for a period of about two hours during the evening peak.

In what appears to be becoming the new norm, battery storage was once again the largest single supplier on the grid during the evening peak last weekend. According to CAISCO's Grid Status data, a new record outflow of 6.52 GW was registered over the weekend. On April 30, the battery's peak discharge increased to 6.76 GW, breaking the previous record.

Five years ago, the record output for battery storage was just 120 MW, as the data tracker shows.

In its latest annual transmission plan, CAISO proposes to invest $6.1 billion in 26 grid improvements by 2035 to connect new renewable energy projects. This would pave the way for 38 GW of new solar capacity, most of which would be coupled with battery storage.

CAISO's latest plan aims to increase access for battery projects co-powered with solar or wind energy, as well as standalone systems near major load centers in the Los Angeles Basin, the Greater Bay Area and San Diego.

U.S. installed battery capacity will double to 30 GW this year due to investments in California and Texas, the Energy Information Agency said in January.

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Anna Harden

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