Long Beach AES battery storage construction completed

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AES Alamitos will be celebrating the completion of construction at the giant Long Beach AES battery storage facility, a 45,000 square foot site that was a rebuild of the AES Alamitos Energy Center, which includes two new gas-fired, air-cooled power plants and cost US$1.3 billion to construct. The Battery Storage Project, also known as BESS will produce 400 megawatt-hours when fully charged, meaning it can produce 100MW for four hours. The facility, which is already running, can start or stop electricity flow or recharge almost instantly according to the AES market business director for California, Mark Miller, who also said “This is one of the world’s largest battery storage facilities. It is going to play a significant role as we move forward to a renewable energy future.”

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With more than 1 million lithium-ion battery units linked within the building, the facility takes in electricity during low-demand times of the day, normally late-night hours, then puts the electricity back into the regional grid when demand is high, such as during hot summer afternoons. The AES generators also are “peaker plants,” a term that means they also add electricity to the regional supply during peak times. Construction began in late June 2019 and opened on schedule, with electricity being stored beginning on the first of January.

New gas-fired generator construction started in 2017 and finished last year. After construction started, the state’s Public Utilities Commission passed a regulation saying the old water-cooled generators had to remain capable of operation until 2023 as a backup for electrical supply. Once that requirement is removed, AES plans to demolish the old generators and their tall exhaust towers, company officials have said. “California has the aspiration to be carbon-free by 2045,” Miller said. “Battery facilities like this are an enabler of renewable energy platforms.”