Energy Storage Being Added to California Gas-Fired Peaker Plants

A North Carolina-based group that provides battery energy storage and software technology is set to co-locate 420 MWh of storage at four natural gas-fired facilities in California.

Durham-headquartered FlexGen Power Systems on Jan. 17 said it would provide energy storage to Middle River Power (MRP), a Chicago, Illinois-based independent power company. MRP was created in 2016 to operate and manage power generation assets acquired and developed by Avenue Capital through Avenue’s managed investment funds.

The California projects will have energy storage co-located with simple cycle gas-fired peaking plants. The facilities will share interconnection to the state’s power grid. FlexGen said the batteries would be used to store excess energy from solar power resources during the day, and could then be used to support electricity demand during the evening and nighttime hours.

“The projects are providing clean peaking energy for the California grid,” said Yann Brandt, chief commercial officer for FlexGen. “Clean energy is captured during times of oversupply and discharged during peak hours. This flexibility in capturing energy for times when it’s most needed is exactly why batteries are the key solution to a changing electricity grid. Californians are benefiting from this investment with cleaner and more resilient infrastructure.”

Installation at Four Facilities

The four gas-fired power plants were not immediately identified. MRP’s portfolio includes several gas-fueled peaker plants in California.

“California has been a global leader in driving the clean energy transition, and this group of innovative projects is another important milestone towards providing the state with a reliable grid built on a foundation of clean energy. We’re proud to be partnering with Middle River Power to deliver increased grid reliability and service to California residents and businesses,” said Kelcy Pegler, CEO of FlexGen. “Energy storage is critical to the future of the grid, and FlexGen has spent the last decade honing our capabilities to deliver critical energy storage assets to our partners.”

FlexGen said, “The gas turbines will dispatch significantly less often than they do today, resulting in lower emissions, while remaining available to dispatch during extreme conditions. The projects will utilize FlexGen’s HybridOS software system, which will enable ancillary services, capacity, and energy market trading.

“We’re thrilled to work with FlexGen to bring these innovative projects to fruition, integrating additional renewable energy while enhancing a resilient grid,” said Mark Kubow, president of Middle River Power. “The energy storage assets store plentiful solar energy in the middle of the day then deploy that energy to the grid during evening peak hours, while maintaining our natural gas facilities as a flexible, reliable backstop. We are excited to introduce our first tranche of projects that takes such a meaningful step in helping California in the transition to more renewable resources.”

MRP has more than 3 GW of generation capacity under management or being developed in the U.S. Those assets include natural gas, coal, geothermal, and solar power facilities in California, Maryland, Virginia, and West Virginia.

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

SHARE this article