Battery storage technology is booming at Moss Landing.
On the same day that Tesla and Pacific Gas and Electric announced the start of construction on their battery system-which at 182.5 megawatts is already among the largest underway in the world-Vistra Energy secured a permit at an adjacent site for a battery system that could grow to become eight times bigger.
Vistra already had a permit for a 300-megawatt project. On July 29, the Monterey County Planning Commission gave Vistra unanimous approval to expand it into a 1,500-megawatts project. For now, however, the market can only sustain a 100-megawatt expansion, Vistra says.
"Vistra's Moss Landing Power Plant site provides a unique opportunity for extensive battery development," Meranda Cohn, a Vistra spokesperson says. "With this new permit already in place, Vistra will be able to move quickly when that time comes."
Battery technology is critical in the transition to renewable energy because it can store wind and solar power as it's generated and dispatch electricity to the grid when it's needed.
To put the scale of projects in Moss Landing in context, one megawatt is enough electricity to supply the instantaneous demand of 750 homes, according to CAISO, which operates California's grid. The 182.5 megawatts of the PG&E's Elkhorn Battery Storage Facility would supply 137,000 homes. At full build-out, Vistra's project would supply 1,125,000 homes.
Moss Landing is considered an ideal site for battery development because the power plant area is already industrialized and provides access to transmission lines. Development there is supported by environmental groups like the Sierra Club as a win-win for air quality and climate change and job creation.