SDG&E unveils lithium battery storage facility - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

SDG&E unveils lithium battery storage facility

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ESCONDIDO (CNS) - San Diego Gas & Electric officials unveiled what they billed as the world's largest lithium ion battery energy storage facility Friday in Escondido.

The facility at the utility's construction and operations center on Enterprise Street is capable of storing up to 120 megawatt hours of energy, according to SDG&E. That amount can provide about 20,000 customers four hours of power.

Construction on the facility, and a smaller storage system in El Cajon, began last summer in partnership with AES Energy Storage.

"San Diego County is a community of leadership and innovation, so it is only fitting that this community should receive the benefit of this unique project," said Scott Drury, SDG&E's president.

"For more than a decade, SDG&E has been at the forefront to deliver results consistent with state and local clean energy and carbon emission goals," Drury said. "These projects affirm our commitment to deliver clean energy to customers and to provide a more reliable power supply to our electric grid when it is most needed."

The facility consists of 400,000 batteries -- similar to those in electric vehicles -- installed in nearly 20,000 modules and placed in 24 containers.

Utility officials said the batteries will act like a sponge, soaking up and storing energy when it is abundant -- when the sun is shining, the wind is blowing and energy use is low -- and releasing it when energy resources are in high demand.

This will provide reliable energy when customers need it most, and maximize the use of renewable resources such as solar and wind, they said.

In May, the California Public Utilities Commission directed Southern California electric utilities to fast-track additional energy storage options to enhance regional reliability. SDG&E is mandated by the state agency to have 165 megawatts of energy storage online by 2024.

Adding storage resources improves the overall reliability of the grid as it allows the system to accommodate greater amounts of renewable power and helps to ease congestion, according to the utility.

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