2017-01-14. A Big Test for Big Batteries.

posted Jan 16, 2017, 10:43 AM by Alan Gould
By Diane Cardwell and Clifford Krauss, The New York Times. For GSS Energy Use chapter 5. Excerpt: ESCONDIDO, Calif. — In Southern California in the fall of 2015, a giant natural gas leak not only caused one of the worst environmental disasters in the nation’s history, it also knocked out a critical fuel source for regional power plants. Energy regulators needed a quick fix. But rather than sticking with gas, they turned to a technology more closely associated with flashlights: batteries. They freed up the utilities to start installing batteries — and lots of them. It is a solution that’s audacious and risky. The idea is that the batteries can store electricity during daylight hours (when the state’s many solar panels are flooding the grid with power), then release it as demand peaks (early evening, when people get home). ...Utilities have been studying batteries nationwide. But none have moved ahead with the gusto of those in Southern California. ...Here, about 130 miles southeast of Aliso Canyon, the site of the immense gas leak in 2015 — the global-warming equivalent of operating about 1.7 million cars over the course of a year — 19,000 battery modules the size of a kitchen drawer are being wired together in racks. They will operate out of two dozen beige, 640-square-foot trailers. ...“California is giving batteries the opportunity to show what they can do,” said Andrés Gluski, chief executive of AES, which is installing the storage systems....  https://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/14/business/energy-environment/california-big-batteries-as-power-plants.html