The World’s Largest Lithium Ion Energy Storage Facility

By Roy L Hales

As their name suggests, San Diego Gas & Electric’s #1 energy source is natural gas. They obtained 54% of their electricity from gas burning plants in 2015. Yet they also operate in a state which intends to produce 33% of its’ electricity from renewables by 2020. SDG&E has already exceeded that target, using renewables like solar,  wind and hydro to provide 35% of their supply. Now, in compliance with California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) guidelines, SDG&E unveiled the World’s largest lithium ion energy storage facility.

The World’s Largest Lithium Ion Energy Storage Facility

After SDG&E President Scotty Drury (l) flipped a symbolic battery storage switch. With him is (l to r) CPUC President Michael Picker, AES President John Zahurancik, and Escondido Mayor Sam Abed – Courtesy SDG&E

The 30 megawatt (MW) energy storage plant at Escondido, CA, has a capacity of  up to 120 megawatt hours of energy. It could serve 20,000 customers for four hours.

A smaller, 7.5 MW installation, was erected in El Cajon.

“On a day (like Friday),  which is nice and sunny , but also cool, demands for energy in the middle of the day aren’t very high but production is. So we’d being storing solar in the day and releasing it at 6-7:00 tonight after everyone’s home from work, and school, and home with their families. It’s a tool that we can use to make the integration of solar and wind much more reliable and better matched to the times when our customers need it most,” said Josh Gerber, Project Director SDG&E.

SDG&E Escondido Battery Energy Storage Facility (2) courtesy SDG&E.

“Even though this is the largest energy storage project in the World, it came online in about six months. So it is one of the quickest installed projects in the World as well,” said John Zahurancik, AES Energy Storage president.

“These projects affirm our commitment to deliver clean energy to customers and to provide a more reliable power supply to our electric grid when it is most needed,” said SDG&E’s president, Scott Drury, in a press release.

  • Escondido Battery Storage - Courtesy SDG&E

165 Of Energy Storage By 2020

These two plants are the first steps in  SDG&E’s compliance with the CPUC regulations that they must procure a total of 165 MW of energy storage by 2020, and it must be operational by 2024.

SDG&E intends to develop, or interconnect, more than 330 MWs of energy storage by 2030.

All photos courtesy SDG&E.

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