Last second move by SCE – gas plant scrapped for storage, renewables


What was considered to be a done deal instead looks like a testament to the transition to renewable energy.

Southern California Edison (SCE) has about-turned on its plans to procure a new 262-megawatt (MW) natural gas peaker plant to supply power to the coastal city of Oxnard, and has opted for a roster of energy storage projects around the city.

The outcome has seen power producer NRG’s proposed gas plant cancelled before the final round of approvals.

If regulators approve the move, Strata Solar will build and own a new 100MW/400MWh system in the city.

The new system is set to tie for the position as the largest lithium-ion battery in the world, and is expected to come online in December 2020. It’s counterpart in size is the AES Alamitos plant, which is expected to be operational at around the same time.

SCE plans to complement the project with a range of smaller 10MW to 40MW units in the immediate area. Developers for these sites include E.ON, Enel, Able Grid, Ormat, Alta Gas, and Swell – the latter aggregates fleets of home batteries into grid assets, and has won a 14MW contract to provide behind-the-meter demand response.

Activists and others opposed the gas plant, which was viewed as an unnecessary blight on the California coastline, and has been seen as a win for clean energy providers.

“The big takeaway is the power of community opposition,” said Earthjustice attorney Matt Vespa. “Puente was viewed as a done deal… It was going to be on the beach, and now we have clean energy investment in that community instead of a gas plant.”