Power stored in 15,000 lithium batteries help make state's evolving grid more stable and flexible.
With California increasingly relying on renewable energy, how can we keep the lights on even when the sun doesn’t shine and the wind doesn’t blow?
One key to avoiding those dreaded rolling blackouts is batteries, which can store energy harnessed by solar panels and wind turbines and then dispatch that electricity when and where it is needed. So, along with a need for new solar and wind farms to generate electricity, and new power lines to distribute it, California also is projected to need 52,000 megawatts of storage capacity to meet its goal of running entirely on clean energy by 2045.
We’re only starting to reach that goal. The state has 6,617 megawatts of storage capacity, according to an online dashboard the California Energy Commission launched in October. But that number is rising quickly, the agency said, with a nearly eight-fold jump over the past four years.
And this week marked the official opening of one of the largest battery storage projects in Southern California, a commercial facility capable of storing 68.8 megawatts of power — enough to run 65,000 homes for four hours — in Stanton.
“Right now the California energy grid is going through an amazing evolution — probably the biggest evolution since it was first energized,” said John Phipps, executive director of grid operations for the California Independent System Operator, or CAISO, which manages about 80% of the state’s electricity flow, during an event Wednesday, Dec. 6, to celebrate the Stanton facility’s official opening...