California Battery Boom Didn’t Come Fast Enough to Beat the Heat

Source: By Brian Eckhouse and David R Baker, Bloomberg • Posted: Sunday, June 20, 2021

Big batteries intended to save California from blackouts haven’t been added in time to stave off the threat of outages as the state struggles to meet power demand during this year’s first major heat wave.

That leaves the Golden State again dependent on conservation pleas to ease demand for tight electricity supplies amid soaring temperatures, an approach that fell short during the hot weather that forced rolling outages in August.

Inside The World's Largest Battery Energy Storage Facility

Power inverters outside the battery building at the Moss Landing Energy Storage Facility in Moss Landing, Calif. Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg

Now the most populous state and its $3.1 trillion economy are facing renewed prospects for more shutdowns even after officials spent winter and spring working to prevent a repeat of those blackouts, the first in two decades. Efforts included power companies installing large batteries to store solar power during the day and feed it back into the grid after the sun begins to set. California also delayed planned retirements of several old, natural gas-fired power plants along the coast and tweaked electricity market rules to encourage more imports during periods of high demand.