April 17 A major California utility and General
Electric Co on Monday unveiled a first-of-its-kind
battery storage system that will enable instant power output
from a natural gas peaking plant to accommodate the state's
changing electricity needs while decreasing greenhouse gas
The system, which was installed at two separate Southern
California Edison "peaker" plants this month, will give the
utility increased flexibility as the large amounts of renewable
wind and solar power required by state mandates have made energy
generation cleaner but far less predictable.
Peaker plants are small power plants designed to come online
quickly when power demand is high, such as on a hot summer day.
But they are also among the least efficient resources available
to the utility.
The 10 megawatt batteries, which contain cells made by
Samsung SDI, are capable of providing power
immediately, eliminating the need for the plant to burn fuel in
"standby" mode. Prior to integrating the batteries, the 50
megawatt plant would take about 10 minutes to ramp up to a
Southern California Edison's president, Ron Nichols, said at
an event to unveil the hybrid electric gas turbine in Norwalk,
California that the new system would cut plant startups in half
and reduce total run hours by 60 percent.
The systems will work particularly well as solar power drops
off at the end of the day, just at the time when demand starts
to rise as utility customers get home from work and begin
running air conditioners or turning on appliances.
California is requiring its utilities to source half of
their electricity needs from renewable sources by 2030. At the
same time, the state has required procurement of energy storage
systems to help integrate those renewables. Southern California
Edison has brought several energy storage projects online,
including a large Tesla Inc battery earlier this year.
The GE systems were installed at peakers in Norwalk and
Rancho Cucamonga. The utility is considering adding the systems
to three other peaker plants in its territory, Nichols said.
(Reporting by Nichola Groom; Editing by Bill Rigby)