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Californian utility, Pacific Gas & Electric  (PG&E) has awarded capacity storage agreements to six projects for a total capacity of 165 MW. These awards are the result of an open competitive solicitation process run by the utility to procure 580 MW of energy storage capacity by 2020, while contributing to the 2013 California Public Utility Commission state goal of adding 1.3 GW of energy storage by 2024. Enel S.p.A., through its US renewables company Enel Green Power North America, has signed three capacity storage agreements with  PG&E for a total capacity of 85 MW/340 MWh.

The agreement will see Enel build the Kingston, Cascade, and Sierra stand-alone lithium-ion energy storage projects, which will all be located in California.

Says Enrico Viale, head of Enel global thermal generation. “Utility-scale storage applications are a key focus area for Enel in view of the great benefits they offer in terms of grid balancing and reliability.”

The energy storage systems will connect directly to PG&E’s grid and will charge the lithium-ion batteries when there is an abundance of renewable energy. The energy stored in the batteries will then be delivered back to the grid during times of peak demand, increasing grid reliability, while also easing congestion.

The three facilities, all located across Central and Northern California, are the 50 MW/200 MWh Kingston project, the 25 MW/100 MWh Cascade project and the 10 MW/40 MWh Sierra project. The projects are developed with Sovereign Energy Storage, an independent developer of large-scale utility battery energy storage projects, and are expected to be operational by 2023, pending review and approval by the California Public Utility Commission as well as local and regulatory agencies.

The capacity storage agreements with PG&E strengthen Enel’s presence in California’s energy storage market – the company already has an energy storage PPA with San Diego Gas and Electric for the 3 MW/12 MWh Pomerado project located in San Diego County.

In the US, in early 2017 Enel also acquired Demand Energy Networks, a leading smart control software provider, project developer, and operator specialised in battery storage optimisation. Enel is exploring opportunities to leverage their DEN.OSÔ software platform and capabilities for all future storage development projects.

Earlier this year, Enel started the construction of the 25 MW/12.5 MWh Tynemouth energy storage project in the United Kingdom, and of a 20 MW/11.7 MWh storage system at its Litoral plant in Spain.