Coram Energy to deploy 646 MWh ABC batteries in southern California


The Palm Desert region of southern California was an early innovator in renewable energy, with picturesque Tehachapi Pass wind farms dotting the horizon and utility-solar projects cropping up over the last decade. To fully harness the daily potential of wind and solar energy, the region will soon unveil a new grid-scale energy storage system portfolio from a project developer whose roots lie in its renewable energy market.

Advanced Battery Concepts received a 646 MWh order from Coram Energy, a renewable energy project developer, to deploy battery storage systems in utility-scale projects in Los Angeles and the Coachella Valley of southern California.

Coram Energy’s founder Brian O’Sullivan was the original developer of the Tehachapi Pass wind farms in the Palm Desert region.  In 2012, Coram sold a 50% interest in a 102 MW wind project portfolio plus 22 MW of operated wind farms in the Tehachapi region to Brookfield Renewable Partners.

ABC secured the agreement by offering a solution to storing excess local wind and solar generation at what it says was lower acquisition, operation, maintenance and lifecycle costs, resulting in an improved levelized cost of stored energy and return on investment for the operator, versus lithium-ion competitors.

The battery system is based on ABC’s recently released BOX-BE Energy Storage System, a DC battery pack that stores and delivers 341 kWh of daily energy at power delivery rates up to 1.8 MW, using the EverGreenSeal bipolar battery cell.

The Coram supply agreement is built on an initial project consisting of three phases: an initial demonstration followed by two installations at two sites representing 646 MWh, using 2,000 BOX-BE systems.

“Coram in striving to improve renewable source power reliability for California customers, seeking the best available energy storage products for present and future economical operation from a company with matching values,” said Dr. Edward Shaffer, founder and chief executive officer of ABC. “ABC’s BOX-BE ESS embodies our priorities of economic, social and environmental responsibility.”

Following the sale of the Tehachapi wind farms to Brookfield, Brian O’Sullivan headed Mexico Power Group, a Mexican wind project developer that partnered with private equity investor First Reserve in 2015 to build the first utility-scale wind farm south of the border, La Bufa (130 MW) wind in Zacatecas, Mexico.  Volkswagen Mexico produces cars in Zacatecas using clean power produced from the La Bufa wind farm, whose power-purchase agreement expires in 2033.

Advanced Battery Concepts’ BOX-BE energy storage system performance data.

Formed in 2009, Clare, Michigan-based Advanced Battery Concepts has advanced a lead-acid battery that recycles numerous components found in traditional batteries.  The company has raised $16.75 million in growth equity to date from Nuveen Global Impact Fund and other investors.  Founder Ed Shaffer told MiBiz on January 9 that ABC is in the midst of raising an additional $50 million equity round.

The California Public Utilities Commission filed a 2022 integrated resource plan (IRP) which adopts a target of 25.5GW of supply-side renewable energy and 15GW of energy storage and demand response capacity by 2032. The renewable capacity targets would effectively raise the state’s portfolio to 73%.

With the passing of the Inflation Reduction Act, California sees significant incremental energy storage additions, at 6.5 GW from 2022 to 2030, according to BloombergNEF’s second half 2022 Energy Storage Cost Outlook. While batteries are already the preferred choice for system capacity shortfalls in the state, the standalone investment tax credit in the IRA makes the economics of storage projects much more attractive.

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