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California's cumulative deployment of battery energy storage systems reaches 2,607MW

During a forest fire in July last year, battery storage systems with a total installed capacity of 1GW supplied electricity to California's grid, helping to keep the lights on.

Elliot Mainzer, president and CEO of the California Independent System Operator (CAISO), said this is part of the important role that energy storage technology plays. Meanwhile, the installed capacity of energy storage systems deployed by California Independent System Operators (CASIO) in 2021 will increase 12-fold compared to last year to 2,359MW, according to survey data released by grid and wholesale market operators.

April 06, 2022

“2021 is a really fantastic time for the California energy storage market,” Mainzer said in a video conference about energy storage deployments. These resources are performing very well. We are very optimistic about the future of energy storage in the grid.”

On July 9 last year, the Bootleg forest fires in southern Oregon caused the state's utility to cut power to three transmission lines in those areas, while power from the Pacific Northwest was fed into the California Independent System Operator (CASIO) grid. limited. The incident led grid operators to issue emergency alerts that power shortages could not meet customer demand.

The California Independent System Operator (CASIO) noted that the state was able to quickly dispatch about 1 GW of battery storage connected to the grid to help maintain power.

"July 9 was a very stressful day for the California grid," Mainzer said. "And last summer, we really saw what wildfire risk could mean for our large power system."

Gabe Murtaugh, manager of the energy storage business unit at the California Independent System Operator (CASIO), highlighted how close the power system is to the point of collapse: “If there was another problem, we could really be in serious trouble and we might have to reduce the load on our customers. "

Mainzer had said two months before the Bootleg forest fires that he was cautiously optimistic about the reliability of the grid and the role energy storage could play in the summer of 2021, with reliability risks. And a month later, investor-owned utility Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) echoed that.

California Independent System Operator (CASIO) deployment of energy storage has grown dramatically

In the six months following the Bootleg wildfire, battery energy storage was deployed on a massive scale in California, as the state aims to have a carbon-free electricity system by 2045.

During the year, California added about 2,359GW of utility-scale battery storage, a 12-fold increase in installed capacity that the grid operator described as "staggeringly large." The figure confirms California’s role as a major player and enabler of the U.S. energy storage market.

According to industry media reports, the California Independent System Operator (CASIO) figure was 90% of the total installed capacity of utility-scale energy storage systems installed in the U.S. last year, according to survey data from the American Clean Energy Council (ACP). California accounted for 62 percent of the 4.2 GW of storage installed in the U.S. last year, according to a Bloomberg New Energy Finance survey.

The California Independent System Operator (CASIO) said in its monthly report that by January 2022, the cumulative installed capacity of battery storage systems in the state had increased to 2,607MW.

Broader renewables record set, but still long road to net-zero target

The California Independent System Operator (CASIO) power system set multiple records for renewable energy generation last year. For example, peak solar output was 13,205 MW on May 27 last year, peak wind output was 5,754 MW on May 29, and at 2.28pm on April 24, the peak renewable energy service load was 94.5%. On August 18, the highest share of renewable energy in peak electricity demand for 24/7 service was 43.5%, a record high.

The California Independent System Operator (CASIO) service area covers 80% of the California population. It also includes the service area of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) and Berkshire Hathaway's investment subsidiary Pacificorp.

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