California Gets Another 100MW Battery Project as Competition With Gas Peakers Heats Up

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Clean Power Alliance, a local power purchasing authority, or “community-choice aggregator,” for 1 million customer accounts in the greater L.A. region, signed the deal with independent power producer sPower Thursday. The signing ceremony took place over a GoToMeeting video chat, because it’s April 2020.


Southern California’s grid has become a hot spot for very large batteries stepping in to provide grid capacity. The region holds considerable amounts of renewable energy production but also a large number of coastal gas plants that face impending retirement due to an environmental regulation.

Instead of replacing the old gas plants with new ones, some communities have opted for battery plants, which provide local capacity without any local pollution or emissions. The city of Oxnard in Ventura County (an area served by the Clean Power Alliance) pulled that off, getting NRG’s Puente plant canceled in favor of a portfolio of battery projects.

The Azalea project contracts 60 MW of solar and 38 MW/152 MWh of energy storage capacity from Idemitsu Renewables (formerly Solar Frontier Americas) in Kern County. The project has a 15-year contract and will create approximately 474 construction jobs. It will come online December 2022.

The site selection in Lancaster plays a different role: It’s adjacent to the Antelope Valley substation, surrounded by solar and wind projects, Natasha Keefer, director of planning and procurement for Clean Power Alliance, said in an interview. The organization is dedicated to expanding clean energy, and it hopes to use the battery to integrate renewables into the system.

“Having this battery there is going to be good for the node,” said Trupti Kalbag, director of power marketing at sPower.

This marks the first battery deal for Clean Power Alliance. It’s also the first time a CCA, a relatively new structure in the California power scene, has entered the rarefied “100 Megawatt Club.” That’s equivalent to the largest battery in the world by megawatt capacity — the Tesla-supplied Hornsdale plant in South Australia — though Clean Power Alliance’s project will have a considerably longer duration at 400 megawatt-hours. 

SPower will own and operate the Luna Storage facility. It will build the $100 million project with union labor in Lancaster, at the northern edge of Los Angeles County, a little over an hour’s drive from downtown L.A. 

Of the other projects approved in May, the High Desert project contracts 100 MW of solar and 50 MW/200 MWh of storage capacity from Middle River Power in San Bernardino County. The project has a 15-year contract and will create approximately 200 construction jobs. By utilizing a portion of an existing interconnection capacity, the project can come online more quickly and at a lower cost than a traditional greenfield development.


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