3,000MW of California energy storage will ramp to deal with solar eclipse
Expected path of eclipse. Northern and southern path limits in blue. Within the central path, obscurity of the sun will be total but California will also experience obscuration of up to 76% at times. Image: http://eclipse.gsfc.nasa.gov/SEgoogle/SEgoogle2001/SE2017Aug21Tgoogle.html
California’s grid operations will be supported by the ramping of an estimated 3,000MW of energy storage, when a solar eclipse expected across the Pacific North-West of the US will cause PV generation to dip.
The California Energy Storage Alliance (CESA) trade group issued a statement on Tuesday, asserting that the near-three hour period when the California sun is obscured by the passing moon, between 9:02am and 11:54am local time, will see energy storage ramping to support the grid and providing energy and other support services.
According to CESA, the ability of energy storage to also ramp down i.e. take energy off the grid as well as put energy into it, will be a useful tool for the grid as solar generators start to come back on when the eclipse is over. The sun in Northern California will be 76% obscured, while the sun in Southern California will be 62% blocked out.
“The eclipse is an important example of how energy storage can help the grid,” Alex Morris, policy director at CESA, said.
“Whether ‘front of meter’ or aggregated customer-sited (behind the meter) storage, energy storage solutions – as part of the electric grid ‘tool-kit’ – not only provide benefits to the environment and the grid, but can also help customers manage electricity costs.”
Morris also said energy storage is “an innovative part of the California grid that provides key capabilities for operating a cleaner and more affordable grid, while also ramping up extremely quickly to meet electricity needs when solar power wanes, as we expect during the August 21st eclipse.”
1,900 utility-scale PV plants in path of eclipse
According to the US government’s Energy Information Administration (EIA), 1,900 utility-scale PV plants across the US lie in the eclipse’s path but said that “relatively little solar PV capacity” will actually be in locations where they will be significantly affected. EIA said at the beginning of August that the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) did not expect the eclipse to create reliability issues on the bulk electric system.