Earlier this month, the Biden Administration released an ambitious $2 trillion infrastructure investment plan (the American Jobs Plan) as part of its “build back better” campaign that includes proposals for clean energy, energy storage, a domestic supply chain, and electric grid infrastructure such as transmission and distribution assets. Fluence customers, including AES, are already building back better with projects like the Luna Storage facility in California.
The 100 MW / 400 MWh Luna project, which uses Fluence’s sixth-generation Gridstack™ product, demonstrates what building back better looks like, and proves that we have the speed and scale needed to reach our carbon reduction goals. Many of the elements needed to scale energy storage projects have been built into our sixth-generation technology. Having introduced it less than a year ago, I’m excited to share that Fluence Cubes are currently on the ground at Luna and arriving in the coming weeks at other project sites in California and around the world.
From Factory to Field
One of the key features of how we deliver our energy storage products is our modular, containerized form factor – the Fluence Cube. The factory-built Cube standardizes safety and quality features, simplifies system design, reduces balance of plant costs, and supports ever larger projects and portfolios. Cubes roll off the production line pre-integrated with batteries, cooling, controllers, power supply, safety features and more. Our Tech Stack, which is composed of the Cubes, advanced controls (Fluence OS) and digital intelligence (Fluence IQ), is the foundation for our Gridstack, Sunstack, and Edgestack products.
A line of Cubes at the manufacturing facility
We kicked off full-scale Cube production in October 2020 and could hardly have picked a more challenging time to manufacture our latest-generation technology. The pandemic disrupted logistics and supply chains across industries and around the world: According to Accenture, 94% of Fortune 1000 companies saw supply chain disruptions from COVID-19, with 75% reporting negative or strongly negative impacts on their business. Fortunately, although Fluence has also experienced supply chain challenges, the first Cubes shipped in December 2020 and arrived in California in January 2021.
Cubes arriving at the port in California in January 2021
From the port, the Cubes went to the Luna project site in Lancaster, north of Los Angeles.
Cubes arriving at the Luna project site
Like the 100 MW / 400 MWh Alamitos Energy Storage facility in Long Beach, for which Fluence also supplied the technology, the Luna Storage system will supply capacity peak power to the local grid. And like Alamitos, Luna is also a notable “first” – at the time it was contracted, it was the largest project for a community choice aggregator (CCA) in California. However, unlike Alamitos, Luna is not being built to replace a natural gas peaker plant; rather, it is being built at the Antelope Valley substation specifically to bring more renewable energy capacity from surrounding wind and solar projects onto the grid. Planned completion of Luna is expected later this summer.
Cubes being installed at Luna
As is the case with every disruptive new technology and market, there will be challenges in the energy storage industry we need to overcome. But breaking new ground in the energy storage market is in Fluence’s DNA. We find creative solutions to meet the unique commercial and operational requirements of energy storage projects, and then we deliver on those solutions. From 2008 to 2021, the Fluence team designed and delivered the first battery-based energy storage systems in 18 different markets. And having supplied energy storage systems for the world’s largest project five times over the last 13 years, we’re ready to meet customer demand for large-scale solutions that supply critical network services, with half a dozen megaprojects (>100 MW) concurrently under construction today and nearly 1 GW of projects slated to come online in California alone between the end of 2020 and the end of 2021.
Modular, scalable, customer-centric solutions like our Gridstack product are designed to meet customer demand for increasing scale and complexity. Luna is just the first of many projects to use our sixth-generation technology – stay tuned for more images of Cubes arriving at projects around the world in the coming months.