The California Independent System Operator’s (CAISO) grid represents 80% of electricity usage in California. Every spring and into summer new records are set on this grid – most solar generated in a day, highest percentage of electricity from solar at a specific moment, and highest amount of solar electricity at any specific moment.
But this is just the beginning, and the state is currently arguing over a bill to move to 100% renewable and zero carbon sources of electricity.
Another way to look at where the state is going is the California ISO Controlled Grid Generation Queue (XLS). In C11 – the most recent version of the state’s queue – there are 92 projects overall, and only one of them is a fossil fuel-fired project, a single gas plant. Cody Hill, director of energy storage at LS Power, broke down the queue in Twitter:
… also, disclaimer for anyone who doesn't know: most things that enter the interconnection study process never get built. But nothing gets built without going through it and it takes years. If it isn't in the queue, it isn't part of the medium-term future.
— Cody Hill (@cody_a_hill) August 7, 2018
Verifying Hill’s note that not everything in the queue is built, a following tweet by Ravi Manghani notes, “A ton of those projects are in the queue from @PGE4Me Calpine replacement LSA
#energystorage procurement. Only 550 MW of those got awarded.”
So take the exact numbers with a grain of salt, but – as Cody said – the trend is clear.
When focusing only on solar and energy storage projects, the list falls to 81 individual projects. Thirty two of them are energy storage alone. Among those are three of the the Moss Landing projects (PG&E Calpine replacements noted above) – each at 500 MW and larger, and two with ratings above 1 GWh.
Twenty projects list energy storage as the primary fuel, and these feature 3.8 GW of energy storage capacity and 5 GW of solar power capacity.
Nine projects list solar PV as their primary source, and energy storage as their secondary fuel. These nine total 3.9 GW of solar, including two solar projects larger than 1 GW. The energy storage component is 3.4 GW, also including two 1 GW energy storage plants.
And lastly, are twenty standalone solar PV projects. These plants average 152 MW and total 3 GW.
There are also two other tabs on the spreadsheet from CAISO – Completed Generation Projects and Withdrawn Generation Projects. The withdrawn tab totals over 1,100 projects, totaling 224 GW of capacity going back to 2007. The list included one project being removed in the most recent update of this queue – a 199 MW wind turbine project in San Bernardino County.
Correction: This article was corrected on August 9 at 10:43 AM EST. The previous version stated that there were no gas plants in the interconnection queue, however there was one. The article and headline have been changed to reflect this. We regret the error.