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Rapid Battery Storage Growth Will Help California Avoid Blackouts This Summer

California could avoid rolling blackouts this summer thanks to a fast buildout in battery storage capacity, the state’s Energy Commission said this week.

Since 2020, California has added 18.5 gigawatts of “new resources” as Bloomberg put it in a report on the news. These include 6.6 GW in battery storage capacity, 6.3 GW of solar generation capacity, and 1.4 GW of solar plus storage, the California Energy Commission said.

These should provide supply security during the hottest months of the year, in combination with hydropower, which has increased after two wet winters, the authority also said. In case of extreme heat, the capacity already built could supply an additional 5 GW of electricity, helped by so-called peaker gas-fired plants.

“We are going into the summer feeling much more prepared and confident,” said the vice chair of the California Energy Commission, Siva Gunda. He added, however, that supply could still be jeopardized by wildfires if they affect transmission lines. “One of the patterns over the last four years was the unexpected,” Gunda said.

Earlier this month the California Energy Commission boasted that as much as 61% of retail electricity sales in the state came from non-hydrocarbon sources, after “historic investment that has led to an extraordinary pace of development in new clean energy generation.”

California plans to have a 100% emission-free grid by 2045 and is moving in that direction by building solar generation capacity and battery storage, mostly. Plans are to add another 18.8 GW of “new clean resources” by 2028.

California is the biggest solar generator in the United States and it also has the most battery storage to back up that generation in the world, after China. The emission-free grid plan by 2045 would necessitate the buildout of some 50 GW in battery storage capacity by that year.

By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com


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