Batteries Ready to Power California Grid
February 01, 2017
Peak-hours demand for energy in Southern California will soon be covered
by batteries instead of fossil-fuel-based power plants.
Thanks to the falling price of lithium-ion batteries, three battery
manufacturing companies — Tesla, AES Corporation and Altagas Ltd. — are
set to open huge energy storage plants in Southern California that,
combined, amount to 15 percent of the battery storage installed around
the world last year.
After a recent accident released thousands of tons of methane into the
atmosphere, California power company Southern California Edison decided
to replace some of its natural gas plants that provide additional energy
during peak hours with batteries.
batteries needed to store that amount of energy must be huge, or small
but numerous — and in this case, numerous meant millions. But that did
not discourage the battery companies, which built their plants in record
time, within only six months.
Battery storage plants have numerous advantages. They are simpler to
construct and operate, take up less space than plants burning fossil
fuel, don't pollute and respond more quickly to spikes in energy demand.
However, analysts say in order for battery plants to be profitable, the
total price of an installed project will have to fall from the current
$500 per kilowatt hour to less than $275.