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New battery storage brings more clean energy and reliability to Chula Vista power grid

The Solana Beach-based tech company, EnerSmart, will help to store energy that can be sold and used on the grid when needed, making it more resilient to blackouts.

CHULA VISTA, Calif. — San Diego continues to pave the way for more clean energy on our power grid with the arrival of EnerSmart’s new battery storage project that hopes to stabilize the power grid and increase renewable energy usage in Chula Vista.

As solar and wind power continue to grow as sources of energy for our power grid, so does the need to store that energy. It’s been a race to the finish to develop the most reliable and best-performing battery and now the latest company launching their product in the South Bay is EnerSmart – based out of Solana Beach.

“We're really excited to be part of the solution," said James Beach, the Co-Founder of EnerSmart. "It’s a fantastic job, we love what we’re doing, and really excited to be in San Diego.”

The state of California is now on its way to meeting the most ambitious clean energy goals in the nation – setting a benchmark of 90 percent clean electricity by 2035, and 100 percent clean electricity by 2045.

"Across the country, we’re really gonna be far down the line in transitioning away from an economy that’s so dependent on oil and gas to an economy that has so many other sources that we can rely on to provide cheaper energy, cleaner energy, more reliable energy over time," United States Representative Scott Peters (CA-50) told CBS 8. "One thing I'm working on as well is really making sure that we turn these investments around more quickly. We have so much delay in our permitting process that I think the environmental community needs to realize that speed is what we’re after. We’re in a race against climate change."

In order to meet those goals, battery storage needs to hold clean energy when it’s produced, to be used on the grid during peak hours, or in the case of solar panels, when the sun isn’t shining. 

"One of the reasons we're here is that San Diego has the most expensive power in the country so it was one of the best places for battery storage projects," added Beach. "But over time, that will change. I think in 20 years power prices will be levelized. It’ll be clean, it will be reliable and very efficient, and it’s just gonna take some time to get there. But these are the first steps to help that happen."

These six energy storage containers in Chula Vista can store enough energy to power 3,000 homes in the area. Enersmart says more energy storage means less strain on our energy grid and less likelihood of electricity blackouts.

"Basically the way it works is you have large power generation facilities transmit the power to the local area into a substation and then distribute it around," Beach told CBS 8. "Now, you’ve got a source of power right here so it can come in and put energy on the system quickly and absolutely help with brownouts."

The company now has 11 additional projects in development in the county with other competitors also stepping up and developing more clean energy as well as ways to store it in off-hours. 

"The development of battery storage projects like these are critical to ensure that we not only meet our renewable energy demands but also support our grid that is reliable and secure," said Jason Anderson, the President of Clean Tech San Diego. "Innovators like EnerSmart are filling a critical gap by allowing the increased use of renewable energy at all times of day and in any condition."

The project was financed by North American Development Bank, a company that supports environmental infrastructure projects mainly along the U.S. - Mexico Border.

"Sustainability has a lot of different legs to it," NAD Bank Deputy Managing Director, John Beckham added. "Profitability is one of them, making sure we take care of our environment is another one, taking care of our communities is the third part of it."



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