Photo by the California Energy Commission.
Viejas Tribal And Indian Energy News Release

California Approves Funds for 60 MWh Tribal Long-Duration Energy Storage Project

Dec. 1, 2022
The 60-MWh battery energy storage system will provide renewable backup power to the Viejas community in the event of local outages.

A $31 million grant from the California Energy Commission (CEC) will be used to deploy a long-duration energy storage system that will provide renewable backup power for the Viejas Tribe of Kumeyaay Indians and support statewide grid reliability in the event of an emergency.

The project, which is funded by one of the largest state grants ever awarded to benefit a tribal government, will demonstrate the performance and potential of long-duration energy storage systems as California works to achieve 100 percent clean electricity.

The 60-MWh battery energy storage system will provide renewable backup power to the Viejas community in the event of local outages and provide the opportunity for the tribe to shift electricity use away from the statewide electrical grid during calls for conservation. The CEC awarded the grant to Indian Energy LLC, a privately held Native American-owned microgrid developer who will build the project on the tribe’s behalf.

An event was held November 3 to celebrate the grant at the tribe’s facilities about 35 miles east of San Diego. Event attendees included Christina Snider, tribal affairs secretary to Governor Gavin Newsom; Geneva Thompson, assistant secretary for tribal affairs for the California Natural Resources Agency; CEC Chair David Hochschild; Chairman Christman from the Viejas Tribe of Kumeyaay Indians; and Nicole Reiter from Indian Energy.

This is the first award under the state’s new $140 million Long-Duration Energy Storage Program. The program is part of Gov. Gavin Newsom’s $54 billion commitment to fight climate change and implement measures that will cut pollution, deploy clean energy and new technologies and protect public health. 

Energy storage is essential to the state’s transition away from fossil fuels, absorbing excess renewable power generated during the day for use into the evening when demand peaks as the sun sets. Most storage systems today use lithium-ion battery technology, which typically provides up to four hours of energy. The Viejas Tribe project will use non-lithium long-duration technologies, which provide up to 10 hours of power.

More than 4,000 MW of battery storage is installed in California ISO territory. The state projects more than 48,000 MW of battery storage and 4,000 MW of long-duration storage will be needed by 2045.

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