SSE and Vistra make strides in battery storage

As SSE buys project development rights for its first 50MW battery storage asset in the UK, Vistra unveils 'world's largest' storage site in California

SSE has bought project development rights for its first 50MW battery storage asset on a consented site in Wiltshire, from Harmony Energy.

SSE, which plans to bring the project to financial close and construct the battery storage facility at Salisbury over the next 18 months, will help deliver essential balancing services to the energy system. 

Harmony Energy is a developer of utility-scale battery energy storage projects. It has developed two projects in the UK, with a pipeline of over 600MW of project rights.

"As we put more renewable energy on the grid and phase out fossil fuels, battery storage has a key role to play in helping the UK decarbonise," said Richard Cave-Bigley, Sector Director for Distributed Generation & Storage.

Peter Kavanagh, CEO of Harmony Energy, said the site has been four years work in the making. “It’s great for SSE to have shown their confidence and enable our divestment. We share their vision and passion to help accelerate the deployment of energy storage which is fundamental to the UK’s energy mix and enabling the reduction of carbon emissions.”

Vistra unveils 'world's largest' storage facility

Vistra recently completed construction on Phase II of its Moss Landing Energy Storage Facility, claiming the 100-megawatt expansion - which now brings the facility's total capacity to 400 megawatts/1,600 megawatt-hours - is the largest of its kind in the world. Vistra is a leading Fortune 275 integrated retail electricity and power generation company based in Irving, Texas, providing essential resources for customers, commerce, and communities.

"This facility provides a solution California desperately needs and this expansion was able to come online at the right time – as the summer heat intensifies and demand for electricity is at its highest. It is possible because of the partnership between Vistra and the State of California, Pacific Gas and Electric Company, LG Energy Solution, and Burns & McDonnell," said Curt Morgan, chief executive officer at Vistra.

"The state's laudable immense buildout of intermittent renewable power has both lowered emissions and presented a reliability challenge. California produces an excess amount of renewable power during the day while the sun is up, but often struggles to meet demand as the sun goes down. Our Moss Landing battery system helps to fill that reliability gap, storing the excess daytime power so it doesn't go to waste and then releasing it to the grid when it's needed most."

With construction starting in September 2020, the Phase II expansion project was completed in July, ahead of schedule despite the many challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Utilising technology from LG Energy Solution, Vistra's lithium-ion battery system is co-located on the site of its existing Moss Landing Power Plant in Monterey County, a site that's been providing electricity to Californians since 1950. Burns & McDonnell provided engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) expertise for the expansion.

"What's great about this particular site is that it has the space to support even further expansion – up to 1,500 MW/6,000 MWh – while responsibly utilizing our existing site infrastructure, including existing transmission lines and grid interconnection," added Morgan. "California leads the country in the transition away from fossil fuels and the Moss Landing Energy Storage Facility stands as a model for how batteries can support intermittent renewables to help create a reliable grid of the future."

The 100-MW/400-MWh Phase II expansion is operating under a 10-year resource adequacy agreement with Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E). The 300-MW/1,200-MWh Phase I project has a similar 20-year resource adequacy agreement with PG&E.

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