California, already a state leading the way to a renewable future has just passed a historic vote that will see it replace three natural-gas power plants with utility-grade lithium-ion batteries from Tesla.
The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) voted 4-1 to approved Pacific Gas & Electric's proposal that when completed will be the world's largest battery system.
The system is made up of four separate energy storage projects. The vote is particularly important as it is the first time ever that a utility and its regulators have replaced power plants with a renewable energy source.
Want to nerd out a bit? @californiapuc just approved battery storage to provide electricity at a retiring gas plant in #SantaClaraCounty. https://t.co/EVvvBN2ZjN It's the trifecta of what we need: reliable power from low-carbon sources in existing infrastructure. #cleanenergy— Liane Randolph (@LRandolphCPUC) November 8, 2018
Utility commission sets a challenge to find a renewable replacement
The project was initiated when CPUC ordered California's largest utility company, PG&E, to explore options to replace the soon to be retired Calpine Corp. gas plants.
CPUC reportedly pressed on PG&E to find a renewable solution.
California has been slowly decreasing its reliance on fossil fuels, particularly natural gas for years.
Although no final project costs have been released, it is likely that the battery storage system is cheaper than continuing to operate the natural gas plants.
Tesla will sell Powerpacks to California's largest utility operator
More than 100 proposals were received by the utility company about how to manage the project and land the Moss Landing Power Plant. The winning project sees PG&E team up with electric car company Tesla to build the battery system.
The total project is comprised of four separate sites including a 183-megawatt facility south of San Jose, California, that will be designed and built by Tesla and owned by PG&E.
Other energy companies will manage smaller installations. a 300-megawatt installation will be developed by Vistra Energy Corp.
California continues to lead the U.S in energy policy
Hummingbird Energy Storage LLC is developing a 75-megawatt project, and Micronoc Inc. plans to install 10 megawatts of capacity at customer locations.
PG&E will purchase energy capacity from the other projects, but it will own outright the Tesla infrastructure.
Tesla will charge PG&E for the engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) of the project. Although the biggest by far, this isn’t the first time Tesla and PG&E have worked together on a project.
California mandates use of solar rooftop panels
The two industry leaders have another electric storage project together in Sacramento. This is just another step forward for California who has been leading the U.S and the world in its innovative energy policy.
Earlier in the year, the southern coastal state mandated the use of solar rooftop panels on new homes.
Last September Governor Jerry Brown signed legislation requiring California to get all of its power from 100 percent renewable energy by 2045.
The battery projects are set to go online by 2020.