A Southern California city known for its annual grand prix and its offshore oil derricks is now looking at an energy-storage project that will neither start cars nor run on fossil fuel.
In October, power company AES submitted a study for public review of a proposed battery-energy-storage system in Long Beach, Calif. The 300-megawatt facility would be constructed on an existing parking lot within the northern portion of the company’s existing Alamitos Generating Station.
The Alamitos battery-energy-storage system (BESS) would consist of three 50-foot tall buildings, similar in appearance to data server farms. Each building would house arrays of lithium-ion batteries and cooling equipment. The project would also require construction of a separate chiller plant and a fire-control system within each of the buildings that houses a battery array.
The company says the Alamitos BESS would provide local area capacity for electrical system reliability and flexibility. More specifically, it would enable the company to access increasing amounts of renewable-energy generation.
While the facility represents a shift in strategy towards renewables, cost is also at play. The company feels that battery storage is a more cost-effective way to meet peak demand than the traditional “peaker plants,” which are fired up quickly when demand is high.
“Batteries can out-compete the peakers now just on price,” said Stephen O’Kane, AES U.S. West’s director of sustainability and regulatory compliance, in an interview with the Long Beach Press-Telegram.
The project also allows AES to boast in other ways. According to the company, the Alamitos BESS would be the largest battery-storage facility on the planet.
“It is the largest that we know of in the world,” said Jennifer Didlo, AES Southland president, in the same interview with the local press.
It is also not the first of its kind for the power provider. AES Energy Storage, an AES subsidiary, recently entered into contracts with San Diego Gas and Electric to install and commission two energy-storage arrays, totaling 37.5 MW at sites in San Diego County.