Disastrous Gas Leak Opens Door for Energy Storage Projects to be Completed in Record Time

By DANIELLE IZZO

on April 27, 2017 at 2:29 PM

 

The aftermath of a California energy disaster may have been the catalyst for energy storage project opportunities.  Powin Energy and Eaton have been able to complete a 2MW energy storage project in record time for the LA Basin area.

The urgent need for greater energy storage in this area stemmed from a serious gas leak in the Aliso Canyon natural gas storage facility.  The leak in the storage facility, operated by Southern California’s Gas Company, released 100,000 metric tons of methane into the region, one of the largest gas leaks in U.S. history.  Disastrous results ensued for local residents including severe illnesses and the need for widespread resident relocation.

In the wake of Southern California Natural Gas Company’s energy disaster, operations at Aliso Canyon have been minimized.  Many people were becoming increasingly concerned about whether the region’s utilities would be able to meet the energy demands of residents and commercial clients during the winter of 2016 and the upcoming summer of 2017.  These concerns put the pressure on utilities, such as Southern California Edison.  The California Public Utilities Commission called for an emergency response from utilities to develop energy storage solutions that would bridge that gap created by the gas leak crisis.

While this situation has been disastrous for many people involved, for Powin Energy and Eaton, the challenging situation has been a great success.  The companies began working on the project in which they developed and installed a lithium-ion phosphate electrochemical battery storage system.  These two companies wasted no time during their work on this joint project.  The battery storage system, now located in Irvine, California, took only six months to be commissioned.

Powin Energy and Eaton are not the only companies expediting projects for Southern California Edison, and other utilities in California.  Earlier this year, Greensmith Energy completed an energy storage project for the AltaGas Pomona Energy Facility.  Like the Powin Energy and Eaton project, this 20MW energy storage system was called for in response to the Aliso Canyon gas leak.  Greensmith Energy designed and connected the storage system in only four months.

Meeting the energy demands of the LA Basin region has been a major concern in California, and companies like Powin Energy, Eaton, and Greensmith Energy are capitalizing on these concerns.  California’s favorable energy policies and support for renewable energy projects has allowed this emergency situation to become a great opportunity for energy storage developments.  Not only are projects being commissioned, but they are also being installed at more rapid speeds than ever before.  With time, the Aliso Canyon natural gas storage facility leak may allow energy storage systems to move from being considered an alternative energy solution, to the energy technology of choice for California utilities.

In the meantime, the Aliso Canyon storage facility’s operating status is being decided by a hearing taking place in California.  Many residents of the region have come forward asking the California Public Utilities Commission to close the gas storage facility to protect their health and safety.  A move towards permanently closing the facility could contribute to increased energy storage projects for companies like Powin Energy, Eaton, and Greensmith Energy well into the future.