AES’ Alamitos Battery Energy Storage System launched the energy storage industry as we know it
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The electric industry before and after the Alamitos Battery Energy Storage System (BESS)
Today, energy storage is an ingrained topic in any renewables conversation. But not too long ago, energy storage was viewed as a potentially risky, not-yet-proven technology that couldn’t compete with traditional peaker plants, and it “certainly” wasn’t ready to be implemented on a mass scale. But, because of the Alamitos BESS created together with Southern California Edison (SCE) and Fluence, the energy storage industry was born.
Don’t just take our word for it. This is why the Edison Electric Institute (EEI) named the AES Alamitos BESS the winner of the 2021 U.S Edison Award.
Three ways the Alamitos BESS pioneered the future of energy storage
- It’s the world’s first stand-alone energy storage project for local capacity.
- It’s the world’s first grid-scale battery energy storage system to receive a long-term power purchase agreement (PPA).
- It’s the first standalone battery energy storage system specifically procured to replace a natural gas peaker plant in the U.S.
How one project shaped the future of energy storage
In 2014, SCE issued an all-source procurement for its capacity needs, and considered every power source – natural gas, renewables, batteries, you name it. Competing directly against natural gas-fired peaking projects, AES proposed the Alamitos BESS, the largest grid-scale energy storage project in the industry at the time, to meet SCE’s needs. SCE took the extraordinary and bold step to recognize the emerging capabilities of grid-scale energy storage as peaking capacity and awarded AES a 20-year power purchase agreement (PPA) to provide 100 MW, 400 megawatt-hours of interconnected energy storage using Fluence technology.
With this award, batteries won against natural gas. This represented the first time in U.S. history a standalone energy storage facility was specifically procured versus the option to build a new natural gas plant, demonstrating for the first time that battery energy storage can meet large-scale local capacity needs.
What the Alamitos BESS did for the energy storage industry
As a first-of-its-kind project, there wasn’t a ready-made power purchase agreement (PPA) for long-term energy storage available. AES and SCE worked closely together to restructure a natural gas PPA for energy storage, creating a framework that has since helped to accelerate the development and deployment of future projects.
Accelerating the global adoption of energy storage
The AES Alamitos Battery energy storage system turbocharged the energy industry through innovative storage solutions for capacity and grid reliability. As the world’s first standalone energy storage project specially procured to perform the local capacity functions of a natural gas peaking plant and receive a long-term PPA, the Alamitos BESS paved the way for long-term, large scale deployment of energy storage on a state, national and global scale.
The Alamitos BESS showed the world that cost-effective, large-scale battery energy storage is achievable and is now one of the most important technologies to meet the changing needs of the power grid that requires modern and flexible generating technology to respond to the integration of more intermittent renewable energy to reliably meet our carbon-free energy goals. As shown by the Alamitos BESS, energy storage can deliver.
The Alamitos BESS changed how the industry thinks about energy storage. It’s no longer considered an option in the clean energy transition. Now, it’s recognized as the critical component that will enable us to fulfill the promise of a 100% carbon-free future.
Download our white paper to learn more about the award winning project.
We mean it when we say that when we work together, we change the world
We work together to turn “impossible” visions into a reality to accelerate clean energy transitions. Just like we did with Sothern California Edison, sometimes this means creating the next big thing in clean energy. Find out how we can partner together to achieve your goals and make your unique impact to a greener climate future.