Batteries Compete with Gas Plants to Power California at Night

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California has reached a major milestone in clean energy. Over the past decade, the state has built a massive fleet of batteries, achieving an impressive 10 gigawatts of installed capacity. This spring, these batteries began to significantly reshape California’s power grid, validating the long-held promises of clean energy advocates.

Governor Gavin Newsom announced this achievement, highlighting that this capacity exceeds that of any other state or country. To put it in perspective, 10 gigawatts can meet about 20% of the peak electricity demand managed by the California Independent System Operator (CAISO).

The impact is clear: batteries are now managing the evening decline of solar power, enabling more solar generation, and reducing the reliance on fossil gas. Recent data from April confirms these benefits, showing increased battery discharges during evening hours, reducing the need for gas-fired power.

California’s solar production has also surged, reaching new heights and effectively integrating with the growing battery capacity. This combination allows for better utilization of midday solar power, improving the economics of solar projects by shifting energy use to more valuable evening hours.

While fossil gas remains crucial, especially during hotter months, the trends suggest that California’s clean energy transition is extending into nighttime hours, supported by the growing battery fleet. This progress marks a significant step forward in the state’s journey toward a sustainable and resilient power grid.

Original article posted on May 9, 2024

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