California Sees Huge Battery Storage Spike Over Three Years

California Independent System Operator: Batteries Plugged Into Grid Has Increased Tenfold
Battery storage plant in California
The Crimson Battery Energy Storage Project in Blythe, Calif. (Bing Guan/Bloomberg News)

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California has, in just three years, seen a tenfold increase in batteries plugged into its grid as solar and wind installations take the place of aging gas-burning power plants.

The state now has enough large-scale batteries to supply 5,600 megawatts of electricity, up from 500 megawatts in 2020, the California Independent System Operator reported July 11. That’s enough to power 3.8 million homes for about four hours before the batteries need to be recharged, according to the operator.

Batteries can soak up electricity at midday, when California often has more solar power than it can use, then feed electricity to the grid in the evening as the sun goes down. California has more large-scale batteries than any other state, with second-place Texas now boasting 2,200 megawatts of energy storage, according to a May report from S&P Global.

“With our state experiencing more frequent climate extremes such as record heat waves and droughts, it is essential to invest in innovative technologies like energy storage to make sure we can continue to reliably power the world’s fourth largest economy,” said Elliot Mainzer, the grid operator’s CEO.

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