SCE expands storage capacity to enhance resilience against harsh weather


US utility Southern California Edison is expanding its portfolio of energy storage capacity to enhance the resilience of its grid network against harsh weather conditions.

The utility has awarded a contract for the design and development of three grid-scale battery energy storage systems at existing substation sites.

The project will add 537.5MW/2,150MWh of storage capacity to the utility’s portfolio.

Previous outages due to harsh weather events including drought, wildfires and heatwaves have prompted Southern California Edison to deploy the energy storage projects.

The projects are expected to be in operation in August 2022, will be built by Ameresco, and will align the utility with the California state governor’s Emergency Proclamation, which is designed to increase the use of clean energy technologies to enhance grid reliability during harsh weather events.

In its Pathway 2045, Southern California Edison estimates that California state needs to add 30GW of utility-scale storage to the grid and 10GW of storage from distributed energy resources to meet its clean energy and carbon neutrality goals.

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The energy storage systems will enable Southern California Edison (SCE) to expand grid integration with renewables, as well as address associated challenges including curtailment and fluctuations. By expanding its renewables portfolio, SCE says it will be able to achieve its 2045 net-zero greenhouse gas emissions goal.

The utility claims the project will help meet growing energy demand in the San Joaquin Valley, Rancho Cucamonga and nearby communities and the Long Beach area through the use of flexible energy. SCE will charge the systems during times when generation is high and offload onto the grid when demand is high and generation low.

Kevin Payne, the CEO of SCE, said his firm “sees a growing role for battery storage as we transition to delivering 100% clean renewable energy to customers”.

He added that the project “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.”

George Sakellaris, the CEO of Ameresco, added: “Innovative cleantech projects of this magnitude have the ability to provide transformative solutions to regions in need of reliable and resilient energy.”