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SDG&E Adds Energy Storage and Microgrids to Strengthen Grid Reliability

Oct. 20, 2022
New 40 MW energy storage facility to open in Fallbrook and construction to start on first of four new microgrids at company substations.

Following a summer of record temperatures in California, San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) today announced the start of testing for the company’s new 40 MW energy storage project in Fallbrook and the start of construction on one of four energy storage and microgrid projects that will bring an additional 39 MW of battery capacity to the region. SDG&E has been rapidly expanding its energy storage portfolio. The company has about 95 MW of utility-owned energy storage currently available, with another 200+ MW in development. 

Miguel Romero, SDG&E's vice president of energy innovation was joined by council-member of San Diego, Raul Campillo (District 7) as well as local business and labor leaders to break ground on the Elliott Microgrid located at  SDG&E’s existing substation in Tierrasanta.   

“Innovations like storage and microgrids are vital to building a more resilient electric grid that can extend the availability of renewable energy into peak demand hours and better prepare communities to manage through emergencies,” said Romero.  

During last month’s heatwave, energy storage, in addition to energy conservation efforts, helped California avoid rotating outages. California has increased investment in energy storage since 2020 and the state now has close to 4000 MW of batteries. These batteries provided an estimated 4% of the electricity supply during peak demand to help avert rotating outages. Within SDG&E’s service territory, utility-scale battery storage systems – utility and third party-owned – served as much as 7% of the regional load during peak hours of the heatwave.  

“Extreme weather events, like the recent record heatwave, require our region to strengthen our emergency preparedness and resiliency,” said Campillo. “Investing in innovative clean energy technology like the Tierrasanta Microgrid will bolster public safety while also bringing economic opportunity to local, family-owned businesses.” 

Microgrids are small-scale grids that can operate independent of or parallel to the larger regional grid will also help keep critical community facilities powered during unexpected outages. Once complete, the Elliott Microgrid will have the ability to power Fire Station 39, the Tierrasanta Public Library/Cool Zone, Tierrasanta Medical Center, Jean Farb Middle School, Canyon Hills High School, and Tierrasanta and Kumeyaay Elementary Schools.  

Construction of the Fallbrook energy storage facility has been completed, and the facility is undergoing testing to be connected to the state energy market so the California Independent System Operator (CAISO) can dispatch these resources as needed to balance energy supply and demand throughout the state. The Fallbrook facility will be able to store a total of 40 MW of energy or enough to energize 25,000 homes.  

Battery storage works by capturing renewable resources like wind and solar when they are abundant during the day, then sending that energy back to the grid when it is needed, such as at night when the sun has set or when energy supply is tight during hot summer months.  

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