345 MWh energy storage investment seen as a low risk growth strategy

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There was not lot of public data pv magazine USA could find on these projects, however, it was most important to note that a conservative electricity utility – the one that emits the second largest volume of greenhouse gases by an electric utility in the United States – sees energy storage as part of its “growth and low-risk business strategy of developing or acquiring interests in projects covered by long-term contracts.” And it quite jives with this publication’s pontification that energy storage is investment grade.

Southern Power, a subsidiary of Southern Company, has partnered with esVolta to develop four energy storage facilities located, some located in Southern California Edison (SoCal) territory. The four facilities total more than 86 MW / 345 MWh. Southern Power has fully closed on the investment in one of the four projects, with the other three subject to completion.

Other projects recently developed by esVolta in California and beyond, below, might give insight into what is being invested in here.

In the fall, esVolta won four other projects in SoCal territory – the Wildcat Energy Storage project (above image) will feature a 3 MW/12 MWh near Palm Springs, and the three Acorn Energy Storage (Acorn I in below image) projects will total 6.5 MW/26.5 MWh in Thousand Oaks. The Wildcat Energy Storage project is intended to bolster local distribution networks enabling wires upgrades to be deferred. The technical aspects of the projects were outlined in SoCal’s “Energy Division Technical Review and Disposition” (pdf).

In a press release published in January, esVolta President & Founder Randolph Man noted that the contract responsibilities in their projects vary – as in some, the utility customer purchases capacity, while the developer retains the ability to provide additional value-added energy and ancillary services into the local market. Whereas, at their 6.5 MW/26 MWh Don Lee system in Escondido, the utility bought the whole bundle of services.

esVolta’s Stratford Energy Storage project (featured image of article) is an 8.8 MW/40.8 MWh system located in the city of Stratford, Ontario, Canada, and is the largest battery storage facility in Canada. The facility provides voltage control, frequency regulation, and system peak reduction operations.

Partially overshadowed because of other larger projects, esVolta also participated in PG&E’s ground breaking (and now at risk due to a bankruptcy) 567 MW / 2.27 gigawatt-hours (GWh) energy storage solicitation last year. The 75 MW / 300 MWh Hummingbird facility is esVolta’s largest project to date and it is primarily intended to relieve local capacity constraints caused by retiring fossil fuel units.

Southern Company’s Twitter feed recently showed off an energy storage system from Ideal Power: