The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) Board of Water and Power Commissioners on Tuesday advanced a utility-scale battery storage project at the Beacon Solar Plant in the Mojave Desert that will allow greater utilization of nearly 600 MW of solar power, while helping maintain grid reliability and reducing the use of LADWP’s natural-gas-fired generating units.
“Los Angeles is committed to showing the world that a clean energy future that is safe, reliable, and affordable is well within reach,” said Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti. “With half of our energy portfolio expected to come from renewable sources by 2025 and continuing to grow from there, the Beacon battery storage system approved today will help maximize the amount of solar we capture and deliver to Angelenos. I commend the LADWP board and staff for the forward thinking we need to realize our vision of a carbon-free electric grid.”
According to LADWP, the board action Tuesday approved an agreement with Doosan GridTech CA LLC to build the Beacon Energy Storage System (BESS), a 20 MW lithium-ion battery energy storage system that will interconnect with the Beacon Solar Plant and Barren Ridge Switching Stations along Highway 14 north of Mojave, Calif. The new storage project will add to LADWP’s energy storage portfolio, which already includes 1,296 MW of energy storage capacity.
LADWP General Manager David H. Wright said, “The BESS is a unique type of battery energy storage system that will be an integral part of LADWP’s ability to meet its long-term clean energy goals and mandates and help diversify LADWP’s portfolio of energy storage technologies while maintaining reliability and keeping electricity rates low for our customers.”
The BESS will help LADWP meet its target of 178 MW of new energy storage by 2021, as set forth in A.B.2514, which allows local governing bodies, such as the Los Angeles City Council and its Board of Water and Power Commissioners, to establish energy storage targets for their public power utility. LADWP had accelerated the timeline for the BESS from the original 2020 completion date to March 2018 to address grid reliability issues created by the interruption in natural gas supply from SoCal Gas’ Aliso Canyon storage facility.
The project is strategically located to capture and mitigate the variability of 600 MW of solar power and 135 MW of wind power generated by several utility-scale renewable projects in LADWP’s largest renewable energy corridor in neighboring Kern County. This renewable energy hub connects to the city’s power grid through the recently constructed 1,200 MW Barren Ridge Renewable Transmission Project and allows LADWP to increase the amount of renewable energy serving the City of Los Angeles. In 2016, LADWP provided 29% of its customers’ energy needs from renewable sources, which is equivalent to meeting 100% of all energy needs of the cities of Anaheim, Burbank, Pasadena and Riverside for a full year.
“The Beacon battery storage project will join the 1,296 MW Castaic Pumped Hydro Energy Storage plant and other smaller storage projects already in our storage portfolio. Instead of curtailing solar, the BESS will use plentiful, low-cost renewable energy to charge up its batteries, and discharge that energy later during periods of higher prices, while lowering emissions by replacing fossil fuel generation,” said Reiko Kerr, LADWP senior assistant general manager of power system engineering, planning and technical services.