California pushes for 50 megawatt on-grid storage by 2021

The California Public Utilities Commission has asked that Southern California Edison procure 50 MW of storage capacity on the grid.

The decision also makes a place for energy storage technologies alongside energy efficiency, demand response and distributed generation resources, in California's Energy Action Plan, which tells utilities in which order they’re to buy the power and energy resources they need. Wednesday’s decision sets aside an additional 600 megawatts of capacity for SCE to obtain from such preferred resources, which in this case can include energy storage.

The decision to set regulations for on-grid storage is rare, however this consideration has been considered a key to addressing long-term reliability issues in California. Some good news on this front: California is already home to several storage projects.

California is home to several large-scale energy storage project funded by Department of Energy smart grid stimulus grants. PG&E is building a 300-megawatt, 10-hour compressed air energy storage (CAES) system in the Central Valley, and Southern California Edison has been working with A123 Systems on an 8-megawatt, 32 megawatt-hour lithium-ion battery warehouse of sorts in the Tehachapi mountain range. Both are aimed at stabilizing and integrating the state’s wind power resources into the grid.