California to boost solar and wind capacity to meet renewable goals

Source: By Reuters • Posted: Wednesday, August 25, 2021

Aug 24 (Reuters) – The California Independent System Operator (CAISO) region plans to increase its solar and wind power capacity in 2021 to help meet the state’s target of 50% renewable generation by 2025, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) said on Tuesday.

The CAISO plans to add an additional 1.6 gigawatts (GW) of utility-scale solar capacity and 0.4 GW of onshore wind turbine capacity this year, the EIA said in a release.

CAISO is also planning to add 2.5 GW of battery storage capacity this year, the EIA said. These batteries could be charged using renewable power generation that would otherwise have been curtailed, it added.

Additionally, two projects are being developed to facilitate hydrogen production and hydrogen-based energy storage, which could also help reduce curtailments of excess solar output.

Excess supply from renewable sources has prompted the grid to increasingly curtail solar and wind generation at times, even as it struggles to balance its clean energy push with the need to boost tight power supplies and avoid rolling blackouts amid heatwaves.

California said earlier this month it would lean more on fossil fuels in coming weeks to keep the power on if scorching heatwaves stretch its grid, demonstrating the challenges grids face by relying more on large amounts of wind and solar energy that only run when the wind is blowing or the sun is shining.