Southern California Edison adds 225 megawatts of storage to Springville as one of their three projects to increase storage by 535MW to help meet carbon neutrality
SPRINGVILLE – Looking to speed up an emergency project by this coming summer, Southern California Edison has announced it will build a multi-million-dollar battery storage complex at the Springville substation in Tulare County.
The project is one of three that SCE will build over the next nine months at a cost of $1.22 billion. They add up to 535 megawatts (MW) of storage with the Springville project being 225MW, nearly half the total. That would put the value of the local project at around $500 million.
The Springville project will download power to the battery storage modules from their Big Creek hydro facilities in the Sierra when demand is low and release it to the grid when power demand is high in the SCE service area. SCE will use lithium-ion batteries with 4-hour dispatch capability. Power is needed, California energy officials say, to meet potential summer demand this coming year.
The state wants to add an additional 5000MW to the power supply to be ready for more extreme weather events that have resulted in power shutdowns.
On July 30, 2021, Governor Newsom proclaimed a state of emergency in California due to the increasing effects of climate change and their impact on the state’s electric system. The Emergency Proclamation states that “it is necessary to take immediate action to reduce the strain on the energy infrastructure, increase energy capacity, and make energy supply more resilient this year to protect the health and safety of Californians.”
Additionally, the Emergency Proclamation notes that “a second summer of extreme drought, heat, and fire in 2022 would pose an even more grave threat to California’s energy supply, unless additional actions to increase California’s energy infrastructure and capacity begin now.”
Reports say that Pedro Pizarro, president and CEO of Edison International, says his team will build the roughly 535MW of storage by mid-summer and is also working on securing more than 230MW of capacity from third parties. SCE, which serves more than 15 million people across Southern, Central and Coastal California, has contracted with Ameresco and filed papers with the CPUC outlining plans to build the capacity at its Springville (225 MW), Hinson (200 MW) and Etiwanda (112 MW) substations. These latter two stations are in southern California.
SCE will use land at its existing substations to quickly develop, permit and interconnect the battery storage resources. The battery energy storage systems are expected to be online by August 2022.
SCE will substantially increase the amount of energy storage capacity it has available to mitigate the risk of potential customer outages if the West experiences a summer of extreme heat. The additional 535 MWs of SCE-owned storage complement the long-term capacity contracts completed last year — 1,355 MWs of utility-scale battery storage and 5MWs of demand response that uses energy from customer-owned energy storage. It will bring SCE’s total amount of installed and procured storage capacity to about 2,810MWs.
“The steps we are taking today will benefit our customers in many ways. They will make the grid more resilient to the effects of extreme weather and will help us continue our progress toward the clean energy future, which is essential to combating climate change,” Kevin Payne, president and CEO of SCE said. “Electric utilities like SCE have a critical role in integrating renewable energy into the grid. The clean energy then powers clean transportation and buildings, and in doing so, creates clean energy jobs that benefit Southern Californians economically and environmentally.”
By locating the battery storage at its substations, SCE will be able to meet electricity demands more effectively in the San Joaquin Valley, Rancho Cucamonga and nearby communities as well as the greater Long Beach area, including the Port of Long Beach, while enhancing overall grid reliability. The batteries can be charged when electricity demand is lower and store nearly 2,150 megawatt-hours. They will also decrease the grid’s dependence on natural gas power plants as California transitions to a clean energy future.
As laid out in Pathway 2045, SCE’s report that examines the changes that need to take place to reach carbon neutrality by 2045, SCE estimates the state needs to add 30 gigawatts (GW) of utility-scale storage to the grid and 10GW of storage from distributed energy resources to meet the state’s clean energy and carbon neutrality goals. These new battery energy storage systems will help California meet these goals and also help Edison International, SCE’s parent company, meet its 2045 net-zero greenhouse gas emissions commitment.