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Calif. regulators approve 175 MW of batteries for 2 utilities

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Calif. regulators approve 175 MW of batteries for 2 utilities

Pacific Gas and Electric Co. can move ahead with its plan to purchase 165 MW of grid-scale and behind-the-meter battery storage from four developers after the California Public Utilities Commission approved six contracts Oct. 11 as part of the state's energy storage expansion. Regulators also approved one 10-MW contract proposed by Southern California Edison Co.

The big winner of the PG&E Corp. utility's procurement is Italian power company Enel SpA, whose Enel Green Power North America subsidiary has 10- and 20-year agreements to supply 50-MW, 25-MW and 10-MW transmission-connected systems between December 2022 and December 2023.

LS Power Group has one 10-year contract to connect a 50-MW project to the PG&E utility's transmission grid by December 2021, while Tesla Inc. has a 20-year "distribution deferral" deal to install a 20-MW array on the distribution grid by November 2021. A project development subsidiary of EDF Renewables Inc., an affiliate of France's Electricité de France SA, has a contract to aggregate 10 MW of customer-sited storage over 10 years.

Regulators approved a 10-year contract for a unit of Powin Energy Corp. to connect a 10-MW system to the distribution grid operated by Edison International's SoCalEd utility.

Each system relies on lithium-based batteries with four hours of storage and qualifies for the state's resource-adequacy programs. As approved, the utilities can recover the cost of the contracts, which were kept confidential, through charges to ratepayers. Regulators called the agreements "cost-effective" and "reasonable."