The hottest days this summer pushed California’s power grid to its limit. People were asked multiple days to conserve energy to avoid rolling blackouts.
It worked… with a little help.
Like from the giant batteries sitting in neighborhoods around San Diego and the state. One of those batteries, the Kearny Energy Storage Facility, went online less than six months ago.
“We came through successfully because of assets like these,” smiled Miguel Romero, SDG&E’s Vice President of Energy Innovation.
The batteries are rechargeable and can be tapped into when the system hits its limit as it did during a recent heat wave around Labor Day.
In 2020, there was only enough battery storage in California for roughly 250 megawatts. That’s enough power for around 162,000 homes.
“Fast forward two years,” paused Romero. “The Independent System Operator had at its disposal roughly north of 3,000 megawatts.”
That’s enough power for nearly two million homes. However, Romero said this is still just the beginning.
Romero said utilities like SDG&E up and down the state are building more batteries like the one in Kearny Mesa, which holds 20 megawatts.
He said currently California has enough storage for about 3,500 megawatts. Romero said the goal is to have storage for more than 40,000 megawatts statewide by 2045. That’s enough power for 26 million homes.
“We need assets like these ones,” said Romero. “To meet California’s goals to be carbon-free by 2045.”
Romero added that SDG&E hopes to open its largest battery yet in the Imperial Valley next year. It’s expected to store 130 megawatts, which would be almost seven times larger than the battery in Kearny Mesa.