GE Signs Largest Battery Storage Deal to Date


Coachella Energy Storage picks GE technology for its $38M IID contract.

General Electric (GE) signed its largest energy storage deal to date to provide Coachella Energy Storage Partners with a 30-megawatt battery system as part of a contract with Imperial Irrigation District (IID).

The storage facility will be located about 100 miles east of San Diego. IID is the third-largest public power utility in California and the nation’s largest irrigation district. The utility was looking for 20 megawatts to 40 megawatts of battery storage to address ramp, regulation, capacity, ancillary services, system reliability and power quality, as well as to provide black-start capability for an adjacent gas turbine.

Coachella Energy Storage Partners (CESP) beat out eight other vendors in the final round of solicitation, including S&C, AES Energy Storage, Black & Veatch and Duke Energy Business Services.

“We chose GE as the energy-storage system provider for this project because they supplied the most comprehensive solution at a competitive price,” Mike Abatti, president of CESP, said in a statement. The current cost of the project is about $38 million, according to the The Desert Sun.

From the start, IID was only looking for battery storage solutions, rather than other energy storage technologies. This project will be one of the largest battery systems to date in California. There is an energy storage boom in California following the state’s 1.3-gigawatt energy storage mandate for the three investor-owned utilities.

For the IID, however, the impetus for the solicitation came from the September 2011 blackout that started in Arizona but spread through a large swath of Southern California and left millions in the region without power. In IID’s district, temperatures swelled into the triple digits as many people were left without lights and air conditioning.

GE will bring together a lithium-ion battery with its inverters, plant controls, transformers and medium-voltage switchgear in a single enclosure. CESP chose ZGlobal as the engineer for the project. After 18 months, the control of the project will transfer to IID.

Earlier this year, GE rebooted its lithium-ion battery business and made cuts to the production of its sodium-ion batteries. In April, GE won a contract for an 8-megawatt-hour battery energy storage system for Con Edison Development, the unregulated arm of Con Edison, in Central Valley, Calif.

As with the IID deployment, the Con Edison project involves a suite of GE’s other products for a complete energy-storage system. GE also landed a deal to supply Convergent Energy + Power with a 7-megawatt, 7-megawatt-hour battery energy storage system with controls and inverters for the Ontario Independent Electricity System Operator.

“We focus on full system performance rather than individual component pieces, allowing customers to match power production with demand in real time and utilize grid assets more efficiently,” Anne McEntee, president and CEO of GE’s renewable energy business, said in a statement.

GE anticipates construction on the IID project will begin early next year, with commercial operation scheduled for the third quarter of 2016.

Katherine Tweed

Originally published in
eptember 2, 2015

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    By: Katherine Tweed

    Freelance writer and editor covering clean tech, environmental issues, health and (sometimes) cocktail culture

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