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Hydrostor files application for second compressed air storage facility in California


Gem Energy Storage Center to provide 500 MW of capacity

Follows 400-MW Pecho Energy Storage Center

  • Author
  • Brandon Mulder
  • Editor
  • Gary Gentile
  • Commodity
  • Electric Power Energy Transition Natural Gas

Hydrostor is developing a second long-duration energy storage facility in California that will store up to 500 MW of renewable energy from surrounding solar and wind generators, the company said Dec. 1.

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The Gem Energy Storage Center, to be located north of Los Angeles in Kern County, is being concurrently developed with Hydrostor's Pecho Energy Storage Center, a 400-MW storage facility planned for San Luis Obispo County.

The company filed an application for certification with the California Energy Commission for the $975 million Gem center on Dec. 1 and an application for the $800 million Pecho center on Nov. 23. Both projects will use Hydrostor's Advanced Compressed Air Energy Storage technology, which uses excess generation from renewable sources to compress and store air during periods of low customer demand.

Once energy is stored, the air pressure system will be used to generate electricity during periods of high demand for at least eight hours at full capacity, the company said. The Gem center will be capable of providing up to 4,000 MWh over an eight-hour periods, and the Pecho center will be capable of up to 3,200 MWh.

"Gem's quick-starting, flexible, and dispatchable long-duration energy supply will have the ability to ramp-up and down through a wide range of electrical output," the company said in a statement. "This flexibility over long durations is vital in facilitating the integration of onshore and offshore renewable energy and will play a critical role in helping achieve California's climate change objectives."

Both projects are expected to come online in 2026, bringing a total of 900 MW of long duration energy storage to the California grid. The capacity will count towards the California Public Utilities Commission's June 2021 order instructing utilities to add11,500 MW of new electricity capacity between 2023 and 2026 from preferred clean energy sources.

The CPUC said the additions will be needed to replace more than 3,700-MW of retiring natural gas plants and the retiring 2,200-MW Diablo Canyon Power Plant, the state's last remaining nuclear facility.

In 2018, the California legislature passed a law requiring that renewables and zero-carbon energy resources supply 100% of electric retail sales by 2045.