This special interest group is for professionals to connect and discuss all types of carbon-free power alternatives, including nuclear, renewable, tidal and more.

Joe Deely's picture
Partner Deely Group

Involved with high-tech for last 30 years. Interested in energy.

  • Member since 2018
  • 1,965 items added with 237,936 views
  • Aug 5, 2021
  • 464 views

Storage continues to ramp up in California. The two projects below have the capability of providing almost 2,700 MWh of battery discharge to the grid when needed. This is equivalent to 14 - 50MW NG peaker plants running for 4hours.

First:

Terra-Gen said on Monday (2 August) that financing has been completed for the first phase of what looks set to be the world’s largest solar-plus-storage project, Edwards Sanborn Solar Storage facility, in California’s Kern County

...

However, in Monday’s press release the developer said the near-term phases of the project franchise will include 760MWac of solar and 2,445MWh of energy storage, with the first 735MWh of battery storage expected to come online in the third quarter of this year. 

By the second quarter of 2022, the first 1,501MWh phase of battery deployment should be online, along with 346MW of solar. Subsequent phases will be financed later this year, with expected commissioning dates for the second half of 2022 and the beginning of 2023.

Second:

Meanwhile, Capital Dynamics said that it has secured tax equity investment on a 60MW / 240MWh battery energy storage system (BESS), which is being retrofitted to a 280MWac solar PV plant and for which the off taker is consumer tech giant Apple.

The project is expected to be completed later this year, Capital Dynamics said in a press release last week. 

Note the second project is a retrofit to an existing solar plant. I would expect that almost all existing large solar plants will eventually incorporate storage.

 

Note: will be interesting to see if the first 735 MWh of storage actually come online in the third quarter of this year. The CA grid can definitely use it.

Joe Deely's picture
Thank Joe for the Post!
Energy Central contributors share their experience and insights for the benefit of other Members (like you). Please show them your appreciation by leaving a comment, 'liking' this post, or following this Member.
More posts from this member
Discussions
Spell checking: Press the CTRL or COMMAND key then click on the underlined misspelled word.
Bob Meinetz's picture
Bob Meinetz on Aug 5, 2021

Joe, you seem to believe the batteries at these "solar-plus-storage" projects will only be storing clean energy from the solar farm built adjacent to them. Why? There's no financial incentive to do it that way (they'd never be able to charge batteries at night).

More likely, Terra-Gen is installing their batteries next to a solar farm so naïve renewables advocates will think they're only storing solar energy, when they're actually charging them from a grid mix.
 

"The CA grid can definitely use it."

Though its grid doesn't care either way, CA tax- and rate-payers can certainly do without subsidizing a battery system that only serves to enrich renewables investors - while making their electricity's carbon profile worse.

Maybe the designation "Solar-Plus-Fraud" would be more appropriate?

Joe Deely's picture
Joe Deely on Aug 5, 2021

Bob,

You must be confusing me with someone else... perhaps the guy who recently made this comment.

On Friday in California, the Helms Pumped Storage Facility reservoir - from where water was to be pumped uphill to save clean energy from CA wind and solar farms - was empty.

He seems to think the Helms Pumped Storage facility only uses energy from wind and solar. Maybe you can explain it to him.  By the way, his name is Bob Meinetz too - are you guys related?

Personally, I understand that batteries are charged when electricity is cheap and discharged when electricity is more expensive. That is how they make money and you have to make money because those batteries ain't cheap.

Looking at the average price per hour from 2019 CAISO report you easily see that best average time to charge is between 11am-2pm and discharge between 6-9pm.  In other words, buy in the low $20s and sell at $60+.  Dang, no wonder they can pay for those batteries.

The important question is - what is the fuel mix between 11am-2pm?

 Funnily enough - CAISO has a chart for that as well - 2019.

Between 11am-2pm - in 2019 there is still a substantial amount of non zero-carbon generation. Look like about 60% ZC to 40% NG and imports. That said - charging batteries with that mix and discharging them in early/late evening will substantially reduce CO2.

Plus, where is the puck going?  More and more solar is being added, so NG will get squeezed out during midday. This means that battery charging will continue to get cleaner.  See how that works? 

Bob Meinetz's picture
Bob Meinetz on Aug 6, 2021

Joe, have you been watching the news? On Friday, CA Gov. Gavin Newsom declared a State of Emergency through the end of October. How long will it take you to admit the Grand Renewables Experiment is a complete failure?
There's already too much solar at midday, and not enough at other times. Without at least a $trillion worth of batteries, and probably $250 billion in added solar, you'll never have enough reliable capacity to power the grid and charge batteries at the same time, .
Where you think the "puck is going" means nothing to me. Show me a breakdown of how renewables + batteries is going to reliably power the grid - no fossil fuels. Include current costs for all new storage, and new renewables, and transmission, based on sources with links - no homemade charts. Show me what's going to take that blue natural gas line off the graph below, because it sure ain't renewables.
Without that, you got nothing.

Joe Deely's picture
Joe Deely on Aug 6, 2021

Bob,

Yep been watching the news. CA grid is definitely screwed this year and probably next year as well.  I'd say there is a 70-80% chance of rolling blackouts this summer. 

Going forward planners need to assume that generation from hydro is zero and give much lower values for imports. I think there is a 7-10GW shortfall. 

You said:

There's already too much solar at midday, and not enough at other times

It looks like you didn't really look at the graphs I provided in earlier comment. Fig 1.8 shows that there is still plenty of NG to replace at midday. Plus we need a lot more solar to charge all the storage that will be coming online. Here is chart from a couple of days ago on CAISO - 

 

Note that there is still plenty of NG to replace midday. The green line (renewables) need to move from current 15,000 MW up to 30,000 MW - at least. Throw in battery charging and we still need large amounts of solar. You mentioned 250 GW - how did you come up with that?

Note also in the chart that battery discharge was 1,213 MW when NG peaked. This should grow to 5GW by next summer - assuming projects get completed - but I think CAISO needs to get this to 10GW before we can stop worrying about blackouts.

What's your solution Bob? Add another 2GW of nuclear at $30B and get that online by 2035?

Bob Meinetz's picture
Bob Meinetz on Aug 6, 2021

Joe, look at solar's production curve...then imagine the sun's arc in the sky. That green line should be a nice, upward, sinusoidal curve that peaks at very close to mid-day - but instead, it starts to flatten about 8:00 AM and peaks ~3:00 PM. What happened? Did a cloud front move in, and prevent solar power from realizing its true potential?

What's happening is this: system operators are deliberately curtailing solar to boost electricity prices for gas (one week ago today, wholesale locational marginal prices, or LMPs, topped $600/MWh; curtailment set a record).

"Note that there is still plenty of NG to replace midday."

You're assuming the existence of an incentive to replace NG.

It's. All. About. Selling. More. Gas.

"What's your solution Bob?

I'll defer to the California Council on Science and Technology (CCST). Their 2011 report California's Energy Future: Powering California with Nuclear Energy concluded that

"• There are no technical barriers to large-scale deployment of nuclear power in California. 
• The cost of electricity from new nuclear power plants is uncertain. 

• Loan guarantees for nuclear power will be required.
• Nuclear electricity costs will be much lower than solar for some time.
• Cooling water availability in California is not a problem.

• There should be no problem with uranium availability for the foreseeable future. 
• While there are manufacturing bottlenecks now, these should disappear over the next 10 to 15 years if nuclear power facilities world-wide grow as expected."

A companion report, California's Energy Future: the View to 2020found

"• Nuclear power provides reliable baseload power with very low emissions and can offset variability issues incurred by renewables, but faces obstacles with current public policy and public opinion. By law, new nuclear power in California is currently predicated on a solution for nuclear waste. Present electricity costs are expected to be higher than those from coal- or gas-fired plants if there are no emission charges. 

• California has ample in-state renewable resources that can provide emission-free power and protect us from international energy politics that might affect fossil or nuclear power, but a high proportion of intermittent resources would result in significant emissions (if the power is firmed with natural gas) or a loss of reliability (if the power is not firmed), unless zero-emission load balancing technology becomes available.

• If electric generation is predominantly intermittent renewable power, using natural gas to firm the power would likely result in greenhouse gas emissions that would alone exceed the 2050 target for the entire economy." [bold original]

 

Joe Deely's picture
Joe Deely on Aug 9, 2021

Bob,

Always love seeing one of your new conspiracy theories... Who comes up with this stuff? 

Joe, look at solar's production curve...then imagine the sun's arc in the sky. That green line should be a nice, upward, sinusoidal curve that peaks at very close to mid-day - but instead, it starts to flatten about 8:00 AM and peaks ~3:00 PM. What happened? Did a cloud front move in, and prevent solar power from realizing its true potential?

What's happening is this: system operators are deliberately curtailing solar to boost electricity prices for gas (one week ago today, wholesale locational marginal prices, or LMPs, topped $600/MWh; curtailment set a record).

Wacky stuff! But of course, as I specifically say AND as the legend of the chart says the green line is actually renewables not just solar.  Here is a chart that shows solar for that same day.

Buy hey - let's not let facts get in the way of a good conspiracy theory.

Next up - your comment about curtailment setting a record - one week ago. - July 31st.  Well, here is Curtailment for that week. Where's the record Bob?  

By the way Bob - you do realize that curtailment is actually down this year vs last - right?  Perhaps battery storage is already making a difference?

Finally Bob, I really did like the two 10 year old sources for your "nuclear solution".  Pretty old - but plenty of good ideas in there. Of course, the primary assumption in these reports is that nuclear will have experienced a learning curve by 2020.

Loan guarantees for six to eight new starts nationally will have to be available. DOE now has about $18 Billion for such guarantees, which will only be enough for two to three large facilities. New funding for guarantees will have to be provided, and Secretary of Energy Chu has said that this is an administration priority. These first new builds have to be completed on time and at cost for a large scale nuclear build up to occur. If all goes well, this buildup could start in 2020.

Obviously this hasn't happened. Your sources are actually a good argument for why nuclear is currently NOT a good solution.

Also as I said - these articles are 10 years old. One of the primary authors - Jane Long , wrote a much more recent paper (2021)on decarbonizing CA grid. This paper describes need for some "firm power" like nuclear, geothermal,NG/CCs, hydrogen etc.. but  the authors also understand where the bulk of decarbonization will be coming from.

We find that most of the energy supplying California in 2045 comes from inexpensive renewable resources (Figure 4), mainly solar in California. But when the sun doesn’t shine for many days at a time, the clean firm resources are worth their relatively expensive price.

Coauthor is one your favorites - Jesse Jenkins.

 

Kate Cummings's picture
Kate Cummings on Aug 13, 2021

Is there a breakdown available on the types of ESS technology being deployed?  I am going to guess most of it is will be various types of  LI ESS.  If so, has anyone thought about the potential issue of introducing technology that has a risk of fires in areas that already have wildfire issues?   Is it a matter of risk vs reward?  It would seem a perfect opportunity to try/utilize other ESS technologies such as flow batteries, why is this not happening more often?  Is it fear of trying something different/unknowns related to it?

Get Published - Build a Following

The Energy Central Power Industry Network is based on one core idea - power industry professionals helping each other and advancing the industry by sharing and learning from each other.

If you have an experience or insight to share or have learned something from a conference or seminar, your peers and colleagues on Energy Central want to hear about it. It's also easy to share a link to an article you've liked or an industry resource that you think would be helpful.

                 Learn more about posting on Energy Central »