San Diego is known as a craft beer capital and a biotechnology hub, but did you know our region also is an leading adopter of energy storage solutions to boost grid reliability and maximize renewable energy use?
In March this year, San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) commissioned the world’s largest lithium ion energy storage facility – 30 megawatt (MW) battery arrays capable of serving the energy equivalent of 20,000 customers for four hours. The facility that includes nearly 400,000 battery cells was installed in record time. It was a whirlwind of activity getting this project contracted, approved, built and commissioned - in just about eight months.
It was through great collaboration and coordination with AES and our state regulator that it happened. Everyone worked expeditiously to get this asset on line for the benefit of our customers.
That’s why we’re so gratified to receive the 2017 Innovation Award from Energy Storage North America for our project with AES Energy Storage.
We see energy storage as a transformative tool to help us achieve our mission to become the cleanest, safest, and most reliable energy company in America. Today, 43 percent of the energy we deliver to our customers comes from renewable sources – the highest of any utility in California. In 2021, we expect to hit 49 percent.
There is more than 100MW of energy storage connected to SDG&E’s reliable power grid, with technologies ranging from lithium-ion to pumped hydro to vanadium redox, and applications range from transmission-sited to behind-the-meter.
So why are we investing in storage?
We see the potential for energy storage to provide a reliable peaking resource to help us meet our evening energy ramp needs, as well as providing other valuable uses such as grid resiliency during unforeseen events. The solar resources on California’s grid are abundant, sometimes resulting in negative daytime energy prices. And San Diego has the most installed solar power of any city in the United States.
Pairing solar resources with storage lets us harvest that low-cost, clean energy for later use – to meet peak demand as people come home from work, flip on their air conditioning to cool off, to start cooking dinner and relax with their families.
Battery storage is an important piece of the puzzle to creating a more resilient, more reliable, and more environmentally sustainable grid.
John Sowers is senior vice president of asset management for San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E), one of Sempra Energy’s regulated California utilities.