Leading the Deployment of Battery Storage
Our utility, Southern California Edison, has nearly 400 megawatts of battery storage under contract. That’s nearly double the amount that was installed in the entire nation in 2015.
Batteries allow us to capture and store energy during times of low demand, when it is plentiful and inexpensive, and use it during times of high demand, when energy is in short supply and more expensive.
As more and more renewable resources such as solar and wind come online, batteries can help smooth out the fluctuations in these resources by storing the energy they generate and supplying it to the grid later when the sun isn’t shining or the wind isn’t blowing. Energy storage can also support local distribution circuits impacted by the high penetration of renewable resources and improve power quality.
We’re experimenting with new battery technology to help ‘smooth out’ variations in load and generation output, and maintain stability in the local power distribution system.
Our Demonstration Projects: Tehachapi Energy Storage Project
The recently concluded Tehachapi Energy Storage Project demonstration was the largest lithium-ion battery energy storage demonstration project in North America at commissioning. The facility is located near one of the largest wind generation hubs in the U.S. — the Tehachapi Wind Resource Area. It is capable of supplying 32 megawatt-hours of electricity — 8 megawatts of power for four continuous hours, which is enough to power 6,000 homes. With the demonstration concluded, plans are underway to use the facility as a distribution-level resource supporting SCE’s Monolith substation near Tehachapi, CA.
Our Smart Grid Demonstration, Co-Funded by DoE
The Irvine Smart Grid Demonstration (ISGD) is putting key smart grid elements to the test. Co-funded by a U.S. Department of Energy grant, the project evaluates technologies, including battery technologies, to assess their role in the emerging Smart Grid.
The Smart Grid is an increasingly intelligent and highly automated electric power system that incorporates technological advances in power system hardware, telecommunications, computing and more. The idea is power can be injected into or withdrawn from the grid at appropriate times to smooth out variations in load and generation output, helping to maintain the stability of a local distribution system.
“The whole purpose of ISGD is to test technology,” says Ardalan “Ed” Kamiab, project manager in our utility’s Advanced Technology group. “Maybe at some point, these technologies will become tools we can use to avoid building additional circuits or bringing additional generation online.”
Residential Energy Storage Units (RESU)
One of the advanced battery storage devices we’re testing at ISGD is the Residential Energy Storage Unit (RESU), which could have several valuable applications – for instance, in a neighborhood with an influx of electric cars.
Fourteen RESUs have been deployed in customer homes on the campus of University of California, Irvine; each can store 10 kWh of energy from the electric grid or from a customer’s rooftop solar PV system.
We hope to demonstrate how RESUs can reduce the added stress of electric cars and solar PV on a local distribution circuit. The RESU will be operated in a variety of modes, including demand response, to test this capability. In the event of an outage the RESUs also automatically provide back-up power for certain customer-selected loads (such as a garage door or refrigerator).
“When the owner of an electric car goes home at night and plugs it in, generally that’s charging off peak,” according to Bob Yinger, Consulting Engineer in our utility’s Advanced Technology group. “But what if they take it to work and want to charge during the day?”
Solar Power for Electric Cars
Meanwhile, in a parking structure at the University of California – Irvine, our ISGD team constructed a solar car shade system that connects 20 electric vehicle charging stations, a 48-kW array of solar PV panels, and a battery energy storage system (BESS). The team plans to demonstrate how energy storage and solar energy could support workplace charging of electric cars, without increasing the load on the grid.
Advanced Batteries for Residential Neighborhoods & Substations
Complex questions surround ISGD’s testing of two other energy storage systems. The Community Energy Storage (CES) device is being operated in a residential neighborhood, while the Distribution-Level Battery Energy Storage System (DBESS) is being operated at the substation level.
Looking for a Letter of Support or Commitment?
Our utility, Southern California Edison, collaborates with many organizations to support innovation in the areas of renewable sources of energy, grid optimization, and energy storage. If you are working on a project of this nature and need a letter of support or commitment for a California Energy Commission EPIC proposal, DOE or other funding source proposal, we may be able to help. Please review our instructions, then complete a request form and submit it to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.