Large-Scale Energy Storage

Large-scale energy storage projects are fast-starting, quick-ramping, high-capacity resources that can help balance peak loads and enhance clean-energy resources’ ability to meet the needs of the electric grid. Strategic bulk-storage investments will allow us to park surplus renewable energy for times of low supply, and provide flexibility to the grid without burning fossil fuels. CEERT vigorously advocates for large-scale storage at the CAISO and in CPUC procurement rulemakings.

Recent Developments:

Jim Caldwell also participated in the Large Scale Storage Special Study, which the CAISO intended to demonstrate the economic viability of large-scale pumped hydro storage (which will be cheaper than bat¬teries for the foreseeable future) to integrate variable renewables like wind and solar. However, the study determined that large-scale storage was not cost-effective at a 50% Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) if other measures like “Fix the Grid” and grid reform were successful. There will be follow-on work to try to define whether there are local capacity needs that would add value to some pumped storage projects such as San Vincente east of San Diego, or more aggressive RPS goals that could change the general answer. These findings by the CAISO are entirely consistent with the Low Carbon Grid Study.

V. John White held several meetings with Tim Haines of the California State Water Project Contractors to discuss working together on an analysis of the State Department of Water Resources (DWR) system, and the potential to integrate and expand use of the DWR dams for renewable energy storage while strengthening water reliability and increasing water infrastructure investment. Plans are underway to work with the California Water Foundation and the Resources Legacy Fund to carry out this analysis over the next year, assuming funding can be identified and secured.