LADWP Fast-Tracks First Utility-Scale Solar Battery

Project Will Improve Integration of Solar Power
and Reduce Need for Natural Gas to Maintain Electric Reliability

LOS ANGELES (August 16, 2017) – The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) Board of Water and Power Commissioners on Tuesday advanced a utility-scale battery storage project at the Beacon Solar Plant in the Mojave Desert that will allow greater utilization of nearly 600 megawatts (MW) of solar power, while helping maintain grid reliability and reducing the use of LADWP’s natural gas-fired generating units.

“Los Angeles is committed to showing the world that a clean energy future that is safe, reliable, and affordable is well within reach,” said Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti. “With half of our energy portfolio expected to come from renewable sources by 2025 and continuing to grow from there, the Beacon battery storage system approved today will help maximize the amount of solar we capture and deliver to Angelenos.  I commend the LADWP Board and staff for the forward thinking we need to realize our vision of a carbon-free electric grid.”

The Board’s action Tuesday approved an agreement with Doosan GridTech CA, LLC to build the Beacon Energy Storage System (BESS), a 20 MW lithium-ion battery energy storage system that will interconnect with the Beacon Solar Plant and Barren Ridge Switching Stations along Highway 14 north of Mojave, Calif. The new storage project will add to LADWP’s energy storage portfolio, which already includes 1,296 MW of energy storage capacity.

LADWP General Manager David H. Wright said, “The BESS is a unique type of battery energy storage system that will be an integral part of LADWP’s ability to meet its long-term clean energy goals and mandates and help diversify LADWP’s portfolio of energy storage technologies while maintaining reliability and keeping electricity rates low for our customers.”

The BESS will help LADWP meet its target of 178 MW of new energy storage by 2021, as set forth in AB 2514, which allows local governing bodies, such as the Los Angeles City Council and its Board of Water and Power Commissioners, to establish energy storage targets for their public power utility. LADWP had accelerated the timeline for the BESS from the original 2020 completion date to March 2018 to address grid reliability issues created by the interruption in natural gas supply from SoCal Gas’ Aliso Canyon storage facility.

The project is strategically located to capture and mitigate the variability of 600 MW of solar power, and 135 MW of wind power generated by several utility-scale renewable projects in LADWP’s largest renewable energy corridor in neighboring Kern County. This renewable energy hub connects to the city’s power grid through the recently constructed 1,200 MW Barren Ridge Renewable Transmission Project and allows LADWP to increase the amount of renewable energy serving the City of Los Angeles. In 2016, LADWP provided 29 percent of its customers’ energy needs from renewable sources, which is equivalent to meeting 100 percent of all energy needs of the Cities of Anaheim, Burbank, Pasadena and Riverside for a full year.

As renewable energy becomes an even larger share of LA’s total energy portfolio, energy storage provides a carbon-free, clean energy solution to integrating intermittent renewable energy onto the grid. It will also help avoid over-generation of solar, while ensuring LADWP continues to meet federal electric grid reliability standards. “The Beacon battery storage project will join the 1,296 MW Castaic Pumped Hydro Energy Storage plant and other smaller storage projects already in our storage portfolio. Instead of curtailing solar, the BESS will use plentiful, low-cost renewable energy to charge up its batteries, and discharge that energy later during periods of higher prices, while lowering emissions by replacing fossil fuel generation,” said Reiko Kerr, LADWP Senior Assistant General Manager of Power System Engineering, Planning and Technical Services.

In a separate action, the Board on Tuesday approved updates to LADWP’s energy storage procurement target as required by AB 2514, which allows publicly owned utilities, such as LADWP, to establish their own energy storage targets but requires the target be re-evaluated every three years. Based on analysis of grid reliability needs and costs, LADWP will maintain its energy storage target of 178 MW by 2021, as set forth in the 2016 Integrated Resource Plan (IRP), but has revised the location of energy storage within the power grid to be more cost effective. These targets may increase with completion of the LADWP 2018 IRP.  The BESS project helps keep LADWP on track to meet the Mayor’s Sustainable City pLAn target of 1,750 MW of energy storage by 2025.

For more information, view the Energy Storage Presentation given to the Board of Water and Power Commissioners August 15, 2017.