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Vistra Energy seeks to expand battery storage capacity at California power plant


Vistra seeks OK from CPUC to add 100 MW of Moss Landing battery storage

Existing 300 MW of battery storage to be in service by the end of year

Vistra says will be "largest battery of its kind" in the world when complete

  • Author
  • Kassia Micek
  • Editor
  • Keiron Greenhalgh
  • Commodity
  • Electric Power
  • Topic
  • Battery Metals

Houston — Vistra Energy is seeking California Public Utility Commission approval to expand the size of its battery energy storage system at the Moss Landing Power Plant in California, which is already slated to be the "largest battery of its kind in the world" once operational, the company said Tuesday.

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Vistra has entered into a 10-year resource adequacy agreement with Pacific Gas & Electric for a 100-MW battery to complement the 300-MW battery already under construction at the plant, it said. A decision from the PUC on the agreement is expected within 120 days.

Should it be approved by the PUC, Vistra plans to start construction on the second phase of the Moss Landing battery energy storage project in July, with commercial operations expected by August 2021, it said. The 300-MW first phase of the project remains on schedule to come online in December, it added.

The addition of 100 MW at Moss Landing brings Vistra's total battery energy storage under contract in California to 436.25 MW, it said.

Vistra also plans to add a 36.25-MW battery at its Oakland Power Plant, which is awaiting approval from the PUC. The battery is a partial replacement for the aging 165-MW jet fuel-fired plant that currently holds a Reliability-Must-Run contract with the California Independent System Operator.

Battery storage growing

S&P Global Platts Analytics expects more than 10 GW of battery storage projects to be commissioned by 2024 across the US, with California, New York, Texas and Nevada strong markets.

"Battery storage will play a major role in meeting resource adequacy needs as gas capacity retires," said Morris Greenberg, senior manager of North American power analytics.

The ISO's footprint is expected to add 1,037 MW of battery storage this year and 2,456 MW in 2021, according to a report the ISO issued Tuesday. These include projects where all studies were complete or waived, and where the interconnection agreement status is listed as executed, in progress or filed unexecuted, such as the 100-MW Moss Landing project.

"Our Moss Landing site provides a unique opportunity for extensive battery development with its existing infrastructure and the physical space needed for even more potential growth," Vistra CEO Curt Morgan said in the statement. "Utilizing our existing power plant sites allows us to cost-competitively develop renewable and battery storage assets as we rotate our power generation portfolio toward carbon-free technologies."

The Moss Landing site in Monterey County, California, also hosts a 1,060-MW natural gas-fired, combined-cycle facility.

In November 2018, the PUC approved Vistra's 20-year resource adequacy contract with PG&E for the 300-MW battery.