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First Battery-Natural Gas Power Plant Unveiled in California

10MW lithium-ion batteries installed at two gas generators to fire up during peak demand

(Bloomberg) -- Edison International’s utility unit said it has completed the first-of-its kind battery storage and natural gas power systems in Southern California that will help the region backstop increasing amounts of renewable energy and cope with potential shortages after a historic gas leak.

Southern California Edison, General Electric Co. and Wellhead Power Solutions partnered to install 10-megawatt lithium-ion batteries at two of the utility’s gas generators, Rosemead, California-based Edison said Monday in a statement. The plants are designed to fire up during periods of peak demand. The batteries, which can provide instant power while gas turbines ramp up, are expected to reduce fuel use and lead to emission reductions of at least 60 percent, Edison said.

“The new system will help SCE better utilize the resources on the grid, provide enhanced reliability, reduce environmental impact, and reduce cost for our operations and for our customers,” Southern California Edison President Ron Nichols said in an emailed statement.

The installation comes after a months-long leak crippled the state’s largest natural gas storage field near Los Angeles, raising concerns about potential energy shortages. In addition, the state has mandated that utilities get half of their power from renewable sources by 2030. Batteries have been viewed as helping accommodate more green energy by helping utilities manage the unpredictable output from wind and solar farms.

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