California gas plant to be re-powered with batteries + solar

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While it has been no secret that the City of Glendale, California has been looking to re-power the aging gas-fired Grayson Power Plant with renewables, details the scope of that project, as well as the carveouts for each specific type of generation proved to be scarce.

That all has changed, however, as the city has released a plan to replace all but one of the plant’s existing generation facilities with a mix of battery storage, distributed solar and geothermal energy. Broken down by capacity, the plan calls for a 75 MW, 300 MWh battery energy storage system, up to 50 MW of distributed solar projects, energy efficiency and demand response programs. not all of the gas is going by the wayside, however, as a 50 MW simple-cycle gas turbine known as Unit 9 will remain, and Glendale will retain rights to the 50 MW Magnolia power plant in Burbank.

The plan also proposes the addition of 93 MW of “peaker” gas generation from up to five combustion turbines.

And if you’ve ever doubted that strong policy leads to real change, know that the City of Glendale has stated that the plant’s re-powering is being done pursuant to SB 100. That bill is the clean energy mandate passed last year, which has a looming benchmark of  60% renewable generation from utilities by 2030, on the way to its 100% clean energy by 2045 mandate.

This now marks the second California power plant this month that is set to be replaced, at least partially, through battery storage. The other is an infamous jet fuel-burning plant in Oakland, set to be replaced by a 20 MW, 80 MWh battery storage system.

In fact, this news from Glendale will likely mark the final bit chapter what has been the month of the battery. Battery deployment is likely the next domino to fall in the path of the energy revolution, and with those future capacity predictions from the Energy Information Administration and the wild increase in year-to-year battery investment, it’s falling fast. What’s especially exciting is that not only are we now seeing large-scale batteries as a solution for retiring power plants, but these batteries are now being fed by distributed energy. Every day, the dream of a grid built upon distributed generation becomes less of a hope and more of a reality, thanks to town like Glendale.

Edit 7/31/19 – This article was editing following confusion about the role of gas in the city of Glendale’s future the article mistakenly reported that the Grayson Plant wpould keep 50 Mw of gas on-line. this has been corrected to 50 MW with Glendale retaining rights to a plant with another 50 MW. The 93 MW of gas peakers have been proposed, not approved nor retained. We apologize for the error.