Hybrid Power

Major Solar-Plus-Storage Project Online at Retired Gas-Fired Power Plant

A California-headquartered energy company announced the start of commercial operation of one of the nation’s largest solar-plus-storage hybrid power plants.

Officials with Clearway Energy Group, along with California Gov. Gavin Newsom, on Oct. 18 said the Daggett Solar + Storage project in San Bernardino County is now online. The installation features 482 MW of solar power generation capacity, along with 280 MW of energy storage. The Daggett facility is located adjacent to the decommissioned Coolwater Generating Station, a former 636-MW natural gas-fired plant in Daggett that was retired in 2015.

“This is exactly the sort of innovation and big thinking that California needs, repurposing old fossil fuel infrastructure to build one of the biggest solar and battery projects in the country,” said Newsom. “With projects like this, we’ll achieve a 100% clean electric grid and drastically cut pollution to combat climate change—all while creating good-paying jobs.”

Officials with Clearway Energy and others involved with the Daggett Solar + Storage project gathered for a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the site on Oct. 18. Source: Clearway Energy

The Daggett project, which is being built in three stages, has created more than 500 union jobs during its construction. An additional 113.5-MW battery storage portion, which is separately contracted with a utility offtaker, is expected to begin operating in 2025, bringing the project’s full battery capacity to 394 MW.

Six Groups Taking Project’s Power

Daggett Solar + Storage is contracted with six load-serving groups, including Clean Power Alliance, Constellation, East Bay Community Energy (soon to be rebranded as Ava Community Energy), MCE, Pacific Gas and Electric, and Southern California Public Power Authority.

Read how three solar-plus-storage projects are taking shape in Mississippi, in a partnership between Origis Energy and the Tennessee Valley Authority.

“Flipping the switch on our first solar-plus-storage project is a huge milestone for MCE,” said Dawn Weisz, the company’s  CEO. “The more we can couple solar with battery storage, the more renewable energy we can harness to maintain a reliable energy supply. This is yet another significant stride toward advancing California’s clean energy transition while supporting green jobs.” MCE is a not-for-profit public agency serving more than 1.5 million residents and businesses across Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, and Solano counties. MCE is contracted for 110 MW of solar power generation, and 60 MW of battery energy storage from the Daggett facility.

Wärtsilä is supplying the project’s batteries. “Wärtsilä is proud to partner with Clearway on the Daggett Solar + Storage project, which delivers reliable, sustainable, low-cost energy to California residents,” said Andrew Tang, vice president of Energy Storage & Optimization at Wärtsilä. “We look forward to deploying safe energy storage systems at more of Clearway’s solar facilities across the country in a shared effort to accelerate the transition to 100% renewable energy.”

“The Daggett Solar + Storage project embodies the path we’re on to California’s clean and reliable energy future,” said Craig Cornelius, CEO of Clearway Energy Group, which has partnered with Wärtsilä on several energy projects. “The project has brought a billion-dollar investment to an energy transition community and will provide clean, reliable, and low-cost power to California homes and businesses for years to come. We extend deep gratitude to our customers, partners, San Bernardino County, and the Daggett and Newberry Springs communities for the support that helped bring this important project to life.”

Economic Impact

Officials on Wednesday said the project will generate as much as $18.5 million in local tax revenue, with an annual economic impact from spending of about $5 million. The installation is expected to sustain more than a dozen onsite, full-time jobs.

“This project is clean energy poetry. The Daggett facility provides a leading climate solution while bringing jobs and new investments to a local economy that has long relied on traditional energy production. By transitioning a fossil fuel site to provide clean, affordable power, Clearway has demonstrated that all communities can benefit from the clean energy transition,” said Jason Grument, CEO of the American Clean Power Association. “Clearway’s success combining solar and storage technologies will help California achieve its ambitious decarbonization goals and set an example for the rest of the nation. It’s a win for the state of California and for the future of clean energy in the United States.”

“We are proud to be a co-investor in the Daggett Solar + Storage facility, one of the most significant operating solar and storage projects in the country,” said Susan Nickey, Chief Client Officer of HASI, which joined Clearway Energy in a 1.6-GW joint equity agreement in 2020.  “This project showcases the transformative promise of solar and storage technologies to meet California’s robust energy needs and ambitious decarbonization goals while simultaneously driving substantial local investment and job creation.”

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

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