California’s Largest Battery Storage Installation to Be Installed in Mojave Desert

on September 12, 2019

The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) and Glendale Water and Power, through the Southern California Public Power Authority (SCPPA), on May 16, 2019, received SCPPA’s approval on agreements with 8minute Solar Energy (8mSE) for the installation of a 300-MW/1,200-MWh battery energy storage system (BESS) located at 8mSE’s Eland Solar and Storage Center. The LADWP Board of Commissioners approved the plan on Sept. 10.

The BESS will be co-located with a 400-MW solar PV plant (PV Plant), which will deliver energy across a 5-mile gen-tie to LADWP’s Barren Ridge Switching Station in the Mojave Desert (Figure 1). The agreements were formalized as power purchase agreements (PPAs) with a 25-year term.

Each PPA nominally stipulates a 100-MW/400-MWh BESS, for a total size of 200-MW/800-MWh, but LADWP intends to exercise its option under the PPA to expand the BESS to the larger size of 150-MW/600-MWh, for a total size of 300-MW/1,200-MWh. Each BESS and PV Plant (Project) is expected to reach commercial operation no later than December 2023. The PV Plant will be built in two phases, with Eland 1 and Eland 2 each having 200 MW of PV and 600 MWh of BESS. Figure 3 shows the interconnection of Eland Solar and Storage Center with the Barren Ridge Switching Station.

In order to accommodate the Project, the Barren Ridge Switching Station will need to be expanded with two new busses. In addition, a +200-MVAR/–100-MAVR static VAR compensator (SVC) will be installed at the Barren Ridge Switching Station to supply requisite VAR support and stiffen the newly commissioned Barren Ridge-Rinaldi Transmission Line (BRRTL) receiving the Project energy. The new 63-mile 230-kV, double-circuit BRRTL was completed in 2016 at a cost of approximately $240 million, primarily to enable the Barren Ridge Substation to serve as a hub for renewable energy. Figure 4 shows construction of the BRRTL, while Figure 5 shows on-going upgrades to the Barren Ridge Substation.

The BESS installation near LADWP’s Barren Ridge renewable hub will better position LADWP to meet its aggressive Renewable Portfolio Standard goals of 55% by 2025, 80% by 2036, and 100% carbon neutral by 2045. Renewable generation, such as solar and wind, is heavily weather dependent and will vary over time, often making it difficult to schedule and count on with a high level of certainty. New technologies, including energy storage, advanced inverter functions, and enhanced monitoring and controls, potentially have the capability to bridge the gap between variable renewable and conventional generation.

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