California community group contracts for 260MWh of batteries to help keep lights on in dark times
A community choice energy provider run by the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission in California has signed contracts for battery storage with EDF Renewables and NextEra Energy totalling 260MWh, to be deployed in combination with solar PV.
San Francisco Public Utilities Commission is the provider of water to the City of San Francisco and other parts of the Bay Area in California but also provides hydroelectric and solar energy in the Hetch Hetchy Valley of the famous Yosemite National Park – as well as providing power to San Francisco homes and businesses through its community choice programme, CleanPowerSF.
Community choice utilities providers, active in a handful of US states, are non-profit entities that enable customers to choose where their power comes from and through which sources, while still being able to rely on large investor-owned utilities’ infrastructure to transmit and distribute that power. The groups have been active in the past year or so in inking contracts for clean solar PV coupled with battery storage that makes the power dispatchable and reliable, nowhere more so than in California.
CleanPower SF serves about 380,000 customers with electricity. It has just signed two separate contracts: one with a NextEra subsidiary to deliver a 20MW solar PV project combined with a 60MWh battery storage system and the other with EDF Renewables North America for a 200MWh battery storage system to be coupled with a 100MW solar PV plant that is already under construction by EDF. The projects will be CleanPowerSF’s first to add battery storage to its generation portfolio.
EDF Renewables, itself a subsidiary of France-headquartered utility major EDF Group, has done around 16GW of renewables projects in North American markets and looks after another 11GW under service contracts. The company claims the 200MWh project award from CleanPowerSF brings its battery storage portfolio to be constructed in the US by 2023 to 1.5GWh. Also contributing a significant chunk of capacity to that pipeline is a 200MW solar PV project in Nevada which will utilise 180MW / 720MWh of battery storage.