California is set to host one of the world’s largest standalone renewable hybrid projects. Slated to come online in the fourth quarter of 2022, the Edwards & Sanborn project in Kern County will feature 1,118 MW of solar and 2,165 MWh of energy storage.
Renewable developer Terra-Gen on Dec. 10 announced an agreement with engineering firm Mortenson to proceed on the project, anticipating site construction will begin in the first quarter of 2021.
Mortenson, the full engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) contractor on both the solar and energy storage scopes, said solar production on the site will utilize more than 2.5 million modules, while the and energy storage component will utilize more than 110,000 lithium-ion battery modules. At peak construction, more than 700 people will be employed on-site at the project, it said.
The project is Mortenson’s 78th solar project and 11th energy storage project, it said. However, Trent Mostaert, Mortenson’s vice president and general manager of Solar, said the project is “industry-changing and during this challenging 2020 will redefine the impact these systems will have on our clean energy future.”
Terra-Gen, a subsidiary of private equity firm ECP, is a renewable energy developer that operates about 1.3 GW of wind, solar, and geothermal facilities. “Selecting the right partner to execute a project of this scale coupled with cutting edge battery experience was paramount for Terra-Gen, and Mortenson was a natural fit,” said Brian Gorda, Terra-Gen’s vice president of Engineering. “Terra-Gen is excited to push the industry to new heights and build a plant that provides energy for all hours of demand.”
Kern County, once known as California’s “oil capitol” owing to a thriving oil industry in Bakersfield, has quickly grown into a key renewable energy hub. According to the Kern County administrative office, more than 5,000 wind turbines have been installed in the Tehachapi-Mojave wind corridor. “Wind energy is set to expand with the completion of the Wind Hub Substation and 500 KV transmission line that is being constructed by Southern California Edison,” it said. Solar investment is also on the rise with more than 19 commercial projects (of 20 MW of less) in the permitting process and two utility-scale solar projects (200 MW or more) in the approval pipeline.
POWER will update this article as more details are received about how the solar and storage components will be paired, and who will purchase its power.
It is also unclear whether the project will be co-located and/or co-controlled. At 1.1 GW+2 GWh, however, the hybrid project is notable for its size. Earlier this year, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) found that at the end of 2019, at least 125 co-located hybrid plants of larger than 1 MW that pair two or more generators or storage at a single point of interconnection, or full hybrids that feature co-location and co-control, were already operational—an aggregate 14 GW. “Some of the most common configurations include wind+storage (13 projects, 1,290 MW wind, 184 MW storage), PV+storage (40 projects, 882 MW PV, 169 MW storage), and fossil+storage (10 projects, 2,414 MW fossil, 91 MW storage),” it said.