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PG&E Plans Largest-Ever Storage Project at 300 MW Natural Gas Plant

Pacific Gas and Electric Co. (PG&E) has filed plans with the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) to launch a 570 MW, four-project effort with lithium-ion batteries, the largest tied to an existing natural gas-fired generation plant at Moss Landing.

A 300 MW battery is to be installed at a plant owned and operated by Texas-based Vistra Energy Corp., which would own the largest-ever battery.

"This installation would be capable of running for four hours while putting out the same amount of power as a small natural gas-fired plant," said a PG&E spokesperson.

A second project, a 10 MW lithium-ion battery, is planned at a customer's facilities behind the meter at Micronoc Inc., which would be the first to come online in October 2019.

A third battery project, Hummingbird Energy Storage LLC in Morgan Hill, would be a 75 MW battery installation, while the fourth is a 182.5 MW Tesla Inc. project. The Hummingbird and Tesla projects are slated to begin operating in December 2020.

All of the projects are in what PG&E designates as the Moss Landing sub-area in Monterey County. All but the Micronoc project are transmission-connected.

A subsidiary of Vistra, Dynegy Marketing and Trade LLC, would own the third-party storage project. Dynegy, now merged with Vista, manages a portfolio of 41 GW of installed capacity across 12 states.

This transmission-connected battery energy storage system, i.e. BESS, would address “local capacity requirements and will participate in the California Independent System Operator markets, providing energy and ancillary services," a PG&E spokesperson said.

In January, CPUC authorized the San Francisco-based combination utility to hold competitive solicitations for energy storage, or preferred resources, to meet specific local area needs in three specified sub-areas.

PG&E’s Roy Kuga, vice president for grid integration and innovation, outlined the changing role energy storage is playing in California's response to climate change. Energy storage has been part of PG&E's power mix for decades, beginning in the 1980s with the Helms Pumped Storage Plant and has shifted somewhat lately with the decrease in battery prices.

"As a result, we believe that battery energy storage will be even more significant in enhancing overall grid reliability, integrating renewables and helping customers save energy and money," Kuga said.

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