Clearway, Wartsila Partner on Five Large Solar-Plus-Storage Projects

A series of large solar-plus-storage installations is set for deployment in California and Hawaii, with Clearway Energy Group and Wärtsilä announcing five sites where the companies will install solar photovoltaic (PV) resources along with battery systems.

The projects announced July 11 include 500 MWac/2-GWh of power in total, installed at solar power sites operated by Clearway, with Wärtsilä responsible for the energy storage.

“We’re increasingly seeing the owners of large-scale solar facilities add significant amounts of energy storage to optimally operate portfolio of assets and make good on power commitments, in addition to the other myriad of benefits of co-location in regards to interconnection requirements and project economics,” said Andrew Tang, Wärtsilä’s vice president, Energy Storage & Optimization. Tang told POWER, “Wärtsilä is extremely proud to partner with Clearway on these landmark projects, which will play an important role in maintaining grid reliability in Hawaii and California as the states work towards their respective decarbonization and renewable energy goals.”

The companies in a news release said the contracts announced Monday “will provide essential grid reliability to balance an increasing mix of renewable generation.”

‘A World Powered by Clean Energy’

“Wärtsilä shares our vision of a world powered by clean energy. We are excited to bring online a portfolio of solar and storage projects at this scale to ensure reliable and affordable clean energy for our customers,” said Craig Cornelius, CEO of Clearway Energy Group. France-based TotalEnergies earlier this year acquired a 50% stake in Clearway, one of the largest renewable energy companies in the U.S.

Clearway Energy Group is adding battery energy storage from Wärtsilä to the Mililani solar power site in Hawaii. Courtesy: Wärtsilä.

The portfolio includes the Daggett 2 and Daggett 3 projects, which together represent one of the largest co-located PV-plus-storage facilities in California, at 482 MWac of solar PV and 275 MWac /1.1 GWh of energy storage. The Daggett projects are in San Bernardino, adjacent to the retired Coolwater Generating Station, a former 636-MW natural gas-fired power plant.

Coolwater was known for its gasification project, which ran from 1984 to 1988, in which the plant burned gas derived from coal. The Coolwater station was a full-commercial-size demonstration plant of integrated gasification combined cycle power generation (IGCC) technology. Data from the project was used to enable construction of other IGCC plants. NRG Energy retired the 636 MW of gas-fired generation on Jan. 1, 2015.

Support for ‘Volatile Peak Periods’ of Power Demand

The companies said the AC-coupled energy storage systems will deliver renewable energy during what are “increasingly volatile peak periods and help [California] reach its goal of 100% carbon-free electricity by 2045.” Construction is underway on both projects, which are expected to be completed next year.

Two projects, comprising 75 MWac/300 MWh of energy storage, are being installed at Clearway Energy Group’s Mililani I Solar and Waiawa Solar Power facilities on the island of Oahu in Hawaii. Clearway Energy on Monday said adding energy storage at the sites will “contribute to Hawaii’s goal of reaching 100% renewable energy generation by 2045.” Construction at the sites is expected to be completed this year. The projects are Wärtsilä’s first large-scale energy storage systems in Hawaii.

The fifth project in the portfolio is a 147-MWac/588-MWh energy storage system that will be connected to the operating 192-MWac Rosamond Central solar PV facility in Kern County, California. The companies on Monday said the energy storage system “will increase the effectiveness of the solar facility by performing ancillary services, primarily solar shifting, for the California Independent System Operator.” Construction is expected to be completed by year-end 2023.

GridSolv Quantum System

Each project will include Wärtsilä’s GridSolv Quantum energy storage system, along with the company’s GEMS Digital Energy Platform, an energy management platform for power system optimization. All five projects will also include long-term service agreements with Wärtsilä.

“The U.S. is a bellwether for the global energy transition and projects like these demonstrate that decarbonization is possible on a grand scale anywhere in the world,” said Håkan Agnevall, president and CEO, Wärtsilä. “Energy storage as a flexible balancing power asset is an essential component for a 100% renewable energy future. We are very proud and grateful for being awarded these significant projects, which are major indicators of Wärtsilä’s position as a leading provider of global flexibility solutions for the clean energy transition.”

Agnevall added, “We focus on power system optimization and the integration of different generating assets, providing our customers with the highest reliability at the lowest overall energy cost. Across the globe, we have been delivering energy storage systems at increasing scope and scale to help our customers meet their decarbonization goals.”

Darrell Proctor is a senior associate editor for POWER (@POWERmagazine).

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