Vistra Energy approved to build a grid battery bigger than all utility-scale storage in the US combined

One of the largest energy storage projects in the world took two more key steps on Wednesday with the approval of a second phase of the Vistra Energy-backed battery energy storage project and groundbreaking for the PG&E-backed Elkhorn Battery Storage Facility in Moss Landing, Monterey Herald reports.

By a unanimous vote, the county Planning Commission approved the Vistra Energy, Irving, Texas, proposal to install a 1,200-megawatt standalone lithium ion battery energy storage system on a 137.5-acre area at the Dynegy power plant in Moss Landing. The proposal calls for construction of four new two-story buildings totaling more than 390,000 square feet, each housing a 300-megawatt battery energy storage unit with associated conversion systems, as well as two substations.

The project is considered the second phase of a Vistra Energy initiative already approved by the commission last year and constructed that included installation of battery modules within a power plant turbine building, a power conversion system and transformers, and a new substation building.

The commission voted in favor despite opposition from the Friends and Neighbors of the Elhorn Slough and The Open Monterey Project, which argued that a power plant master plan amendment is needed because the proposal is not related nor accessory to the current plant use and is not a coastal dependent use, and required more thorough environmental review.

At the same time, PG&E and Tesla Inc. announced the start of construction on a 182.5-megawatt lithium ion battery storage system at the power company’s electric substation at the power plant.

The project, unanimously approved by the commission in February, is expected to complete construction early next year and be fully operational by mid-2021, according to a company release.

The projects are designed to support the state’s renewable energy initiatives to increase energy storage in an effort to reduce the loss of alternative energy produced by means such as solar and wind, especially during off-peak usage times, and providing consistent, reliable energy on demand.

Also Wednesday, the commission took a first crack at considering a proposed amendment to the county general plan’s greenhouse gas reductions policy that would be designed to more consistent with shifting state guidance on the issue by removing specific target years for reaching emission reduction milestones.

When the county’s greenhouse gas reduction policy was adopted the state-required emissions to be reduced 15% from 2005 levels by 2020 but has since set a target of reducing emissions to 40% below 1990 levels by 2030.



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