- The California Public Utilities Commission on Thursday approved four energy storage projects for Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) to replace retiring gas generators, including two batteries that would be the largest in the world.
- The CPUC granted approval for a total of 567.5 MW / 2,270 MWh of storage, including a 300 MW / 1,200 MWh project from Vistra Energy and a 182.5 MW / 730 MWh project from Tesla that the utility would own. Those batteries, once completed, would be the two largest in service.
- The CPUC directed PG&E to purchase the storage in January instead of approving new ratepayer-funded contracts for three gas plants in PG&E’s service area. Analysts told Utility Dive the cost of the batteries is likely cheaper than continuing to operate the plants.
Approval of PG&E’s landmark energy storage solicitation is the most significant example to date of batteries taking the place of fossil fuel generation on the power grid.
Energy storage has helped decrease the California’s reliance on gas for years, particularly since 2016, when regulators ordered accelerated battery procurements to counteract the closure of a natural gas storage facility outside Los Angeles.
The PG&E projects, however, are the first time a utility and its regulators have sought to directly replace multiple major power plants with battery storage.