This California city is trading an old gas plant for a giant grid battery

Canary Media

For a decade, twin smokestacks loomed against the bright blue skies of Menifee, in Southern California’s Inland Empire. But the old gas combustion plant came down, and on the flat industrial site it left behind an army of batteries is now being assembled.

When it comes online this summer, developer Calpine’s Nova power bank will store more electricity than all but one battery plant currently operating in the U.S. The billion-dollar project, with 680 megawatts and 2,720 megawatt-hours, will help California shift its nation-leading solar generation into the critical evening and nighttime hours, bolstering the grid against the heat waves that have pushed it to the brink multiple times in recent years.

It started with a battery project in Santa Ana, a historic town in Orange County. That system grew to 80 megawatts over a few phases of development. Another battery project in the Bay Area plays the role of ​black start,” providing the energy necessary to restart power plants after a major grid outage. Now, portions of the Menifee project will provide capacity for utilities Southern California Edison, San Diego Gas & Electric and the community choice aggregator Peninsula Clean Energy.

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