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Texas-based Vistra Corp. will expand its industry-leading battery storage reputation in California.

image credit: Courtesy Dreamstime
Christopher Neely's picture
Independent Local News Organization

Journalist for nearly a decade with keen interest in local energy policies for cities and national efforts to facilitate a renewable revolution. 

  • Member since 2017
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  • May 25, 2022
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After merging with Dynegy and taking over the Moss Landing Power Plant in Central California in 2018, Vistra Corp. staked its business model on straddling two worlds in the demand response industry. The facility was already an operable natural-gas power plant, though its new reality was a smaller scale peaker plant—a far cry from its days as the largest fossil fuel power plant in California.

Using the high-voltage transmission lines from the plant’s heyday, the company went on to build the largest utility-scale battery storage facility in the world. A smart business move that solidified the plant’s role in continuing to provide energy relief even after fossil fuels are decommissioned at some point in the future. 

Now, Vistra is using the Moss Landing model and planning to retrofit two power plants along the coastal edge of California, in Morro Bay and Oakland, with plans to more than double its battery storage capacity in Moss Landing. We’re seeing the beginnings of a battery storage powerhouse. 

Battery storage is among the among the critical aspects of realizing a future more dependent on solar and wind power. Although, today, batteries are not solely charged up with renewable energy, their presence in the bullpen diminishes the need for dirty and expensive peaker plants when demand is high, and as summers get hotter and the population grows in places like California, demand is only increasing. However, there is still much to figure out in the world of battery storage. Lithium-ion technology still dominates battery storage projects and had led to many issues. Vistra’s Moss Landing facility, though the largest in the world, is completely dormant after back to back incidents where it’s fire suppression system was triggered early and doused its batteries in water. 

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