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US utility Southern California Edison has entered into an agreement to build a new virtual power plant with distributed energy resources (DER) solutions company Sunrun.

A new partnership between Southern California Edison (SCE) and the DER solutions firm will help to increase grid resilience and lower power costs for consumers.

Sunrun will deploy thousands of its solar-powered battery systems to provide up to 5MW of energy to support SCE’s overall energy system.

SCE will send signals to Sunrun during high-demand events such as extreme heat waves when the energy grid is strained. In response, the solution provider will dispatch energy from the battery systems for grid reliability.

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The virtual power plant will participate in California Independent System Operator’s (CAISO) Resource Adequacy (RA) programme, which ensures efficient and reliable operation of California’s grid.

At least 10% of the RA capacity will be provided from battery systems installed on low-to-moderate income households.

Battery installations are expected to start at the end of 2020, with plans for all installations to be completed by August 2023.

Lynn Jurich, the CEO of Sunrun, said: “The need for a more resilient grid and backup power could not be more apparent in California at this moment in history.”