We send out a weekly newsletter with the latest in depth news and analysis on the global energy storage market. Imperial Irrigation District has already updated a number of substations to accomodate more renewables.
A community-owned utility company in California is preparing to install a large-scale battery system that could enable the addition of around 50MW of solar generation capacity to the local grid.
On New Year’s Eve, local news outlet The Desert Sun wrote an editorial piece supporting the aims of the project, which has contributed to the utility, Imperial Irrigation District (IID), needing to raise its consumer electricity rates for the first time in 20 years.
As well as serving as backup, the battery energy storage system (BESS), which will cost around US$68 million in total to install, will smooth imbalances resulting from the addition of variable solar PV resources to the grid. Under the terms of IID’s settlement with FERC, the utility will risk incurring a US$9 million penalty if the project is not completed by the last day of that year.
In other recent large-scale energy storage news from the US, another utility, Avista Corporation, has in the past few days taken delivery of some containerised energy storage units which will be used for research into integrating renewable energy sources. The Avista Energy Storage Project, as it will be known, received a US$3.2 million grant from Washington Governor Jay Inslee and the Washington State Department of Commerce this summer.


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Features two multi-functional storage drawers and two side cabinets with adjustable shelving behind tempered safety glass. IID is now expecting to receive bids from companies interested in building and installing the battery system. On 30 December, four battery storage units were put in place on campus at Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories in Pullman, Washington.
In a July press release announcing the funding, Avista touted the ability of batteries to respond within 15 milliseconds to signals to ramp up or take down generation capacity, compared to the 10 to 15 minutes typically expected of gas turbines.


Built from high-grade MDF to accommodate TVs up to 55 inches and includes a built in cable management system. IID serves around 145,000 customers in areas including Imperial Valley and San Diego and the latest plan, approved by the utility’s board in late November, was originally put together in response to a serious blackout three years ago. The US$68 million outlay, which includes US$6 million for contingencies, will be spread across four years from 2014 to 2017, with the project expected to come online during the final quarter of 2016.
As a result of that blackout, a settlement was made between IID and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) for the utility to install 33MW of energy storage for supplying uninterrupted power to its customers.



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