Edison International
Eix Battery Storage 627296438a449

SCE Expects ~60% of Battery Project to be Online by August Target

May 4, 2022
CEO Steve Powell tells analysts there’s still “a lot of caution” about California handling this summer’s heat.

Southern California Edison executives say that COVID-related delays will keep them and their contractors from installing nearly half of the roughly 535 MW in battery storage capacity they had planned to bring online before Aug. 1.

Speaking to analysts and investors after SCE parent Edison International Inc. reported first-quarter earnings May 3, SCE President and CEO Steve Powell said the utility’s team expects to complete work by their initial August target on up to 300 MW of capacity. The company and contractor Ameresco Inc. started work late last year on projects valued at a combined $1.2 billion at SCE’s Springville, Hinson and Etiwanda substations but a Chinese battery supplier to Ameresco last month said it would struggle to meet delivery deadlines.

Powell noted that there’s still some uncertainty to his forecast given ongoing COVID lockdowns and resulting shipping delays out of China.

“But on the ground here, work is progressing,” he added.

SCE’s project is part of a broader initiative, set in motion last summer via an emergency proclamation from Gov. Gavin Newsom, to accelerate the construction of energy storage capacity across California to help the state manage peak summer demand. The goal is to have utilities source at least 11,500 MW of zero-emitting or renewable resources by 2026; about 4,000 MW of that total falls on SCE.

Powell said California is “in a slightly better position than it's been the last couple of summers with respect to capacity” but added that there’s still “a lot of caution” about what’s ahead as temperatures rise.

“We're working on everything from interconnection to securing supplies and with all of our third parties to ensure that we can get enough resources in the state,” Powell said. “So, this summer, we'll be in a better position than the last few summers.”

Edison International reported first-quarter net income of $136 million, down from $290 million in the first three months of 2021 in large part because the company booked a $285 million after-tax charge after revising its expected losses from wildfire and mudslide events, including the Woolsey Fire, that took place in 2017 and 2018. (CEO Pedro Pizarro and his team plan to begin filing applications late next year to recover more than $5 billion of those losses.) Total operating revenues rose to nearly $4 billion from about $3 billion a year earlier.

Shares of Edison International (Ticker: EIX) were up slightly to roughly $69 on the morning of May 4. Year to date, they have up about 2%.

About the Author

Geert De Lombaerde | Senior Editor

A native of Belgium, Geert De Lombaerde has more than two decades of business journalism experience and writes about markets and economic trends for Endeavor Business Media publications T&D WorldHealthcare Innovation, IndustryWeek, FleetOwner and Oil & Gas Journal. With a degree in journalism from the University of Missouri, he began his reporting career at the Business Courier in Cincinnati and later was managing editor and editor of the Nashville Business Journal. Most recently, he oversaw the online and print products of the Nashville Post and reported primarily on Middle Tennessee’s finance sector as well as many of its publicly traded companies.

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