The proposed Tehachapi Wind Energy Resource Area BESS facility. The unmanned 6,300 square-foot facility contains batteries, transformers, power conversion systems, and communication and interface equipment.

The proposed Tehachapi Wind Energy Resource Area BESS facility. The unmanned 6,300 square-foot facility contains batteries, transformers, power conversion systems, and communication and interface equipment.

Southern California Edison (SCE) unveiled the largest battery energy storage system in North America - the Tehachapi Energy Storage Project located in the Tehachapi Wind Resource Area in Tehachapi, Calif.

The 6,300 square-foot facility houses 32 MWh of lithium-ion batteries with an aim to integrate more clean energy.

Total cost of this ESS amounted to $50 million and was covered partially by the Department of Energy. This translates to more than $1,500 per kWh.

"The project costs about $50 million with matching funds from SCE and the energy department. Over a two-year period, the project will demonstrate the performance of the lithium-ion batteries in actual system conditions and the capability to automate the operations of the battery energy storage system and integrate its use into the utility grid."

"Primary goals of the project are to demonstrate the effectiveness of lithium-on battery and smart inverter technologies for improved grid performance and to assist in the integration of variable renewable energy resources like wind and solar power."

Dr. Imre Gyuk, energy storage program manager in the energy department’s Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability stated:

“This installation will allow us to take a serious look at the technological capabilities of energy storage on the electric grid. It will also help us to gain a better understanding of the value and benefit of battery energy storage.”

Doug Kim, director of Advanced Technology at SCE remarked:

“The Tehachapi Energy Storage Project is a significant milestone for SCE and for energy storage in California. Grid-scale energy storage is an integral part of our company’s Storage Portfolio Development Framework that will contribute to optimizing grid performance and integrating more renewable energy resources. This demonstration project will give us a significant amount of insight into the operational capabilities of large-scale, lithium-ion battery storage.”

And now the most important part for us - batteries. Batteries were supplied by LG Chem and, according to the press release, those are the same battery cells as in the Chevrolet Volt. At 32 MWh it is comparable to nearly 1,900 2015 Chevy Volts (17.1 kWh).

"The battery system supplied by LG Chem is comprised of 604 battery racks, 10,872 battery modules and 608,832 individual battery cells – the same lithium-ion cells installed in battery packs for General Motors’ Chevrolet Volt."

Sung-Hoon Jang, vice president of the Energy Solution Company at LG Chem stated:

“The successful commissioning of the Tehachapi Storage Project marks a key milestone for LG Chem in delivering large-scale energy storage solutions. As a turnkey solutions provider, LG Chem looks forward to its continued collaboration with SCE during the next two years of system operation. The role of energy storage in the electric grid will continue to increase with the growth of renewable energy and distributed energy systems and our collaboration with SCE will provide key insights for current and future energy storage projects.”