A Lot of Double A’s

World’s largest battery storage project online in California

Battery storage used to just mean that cabinet in the front hallway, where you kept assorted AA’s, 9V’s, flashlights, and that awesome 80s battery-tester that lit up green if the battery in question still worked. Now you need a real estate agent, permits, and multi-million dollar renewable energy or utilities providers to store your batteries. AES Energy Storage, of Arlington, Va., just teamed up with San Diego Gas & Electric for the behemoth of said projects.

AES showcased two new lithium-ion battery storage sites February 28, in partnership with SDG&E, that total 37.5 MW. One of these sites—located at an SDG&E substation in Escondido, CA—hosts a 30 MW, four-hour duration project that the company says is the largest in the world. And according to AES, it’s not even close. The Escondido site is 50 percent larger than the next largest installation, it said in a press release. Either way, that’s a lot of double A’s.

An aerial view of the AES battery storage section at San Diego Gas & Electric’s Escondido, Calif., substation. The 30 MW, four-hour duration project is the largest capacity for a battery storage site in the world. —Energy Storage Exchange photo

In July 2016, SDG&E fast-tracked energy storage projects to enhance regional grid reliability and selected Advancion 4, AES’ fourth generation battery-based energy storage platform. SDG&E draws about a third of its energy from wind and solar. Above is an aerial view of the Escondido location.

The scale and long battery duration of the project is indicative of storage being deployed as flexible capacity, addressing reliability issues with renewables that have been heavily criticized by its detractors.

Located at SDG&E substations in Escondido and El Cajon, the Advancion energy storage arrays will provide 37.5 MW of power and serve as a 75 MW flexible resource to the grid. Combined, the arrays will provide enough capacity to power approximately 25,000 homes for four hours. Both arrays incorporate components from well-known suppliers including batteries by Samsung SDI and power conversion systems by Parker Hannifin.

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