By April 18, 2017 Read More →

SCE, GE new battery storage systems unveiled at California gas plants


SCE installed hybrid gas turbine units at two “peaker” plants in southern California to help the utility smoothly integrate the use of renewable energy sources into its electrical grid. GE photo.

SCE battery system will help decrease GHGs

Southern California Edison along with General Electric unveiled the world’s first battery-gas turbine hybrid system at the SCE natural gas peaking plant in Norwalk and Rancho Cucamonga, California.

The companies say the system will accommodate the changing electricity needs in California while reducing greenhouse gas emissions.  Installed at two separate SCE “peaker” plants, the system will give increased flexibility to the utility as California mandates the increased use of cleaner wind and solar electricity which is far less predictable.

Peaker plants are small power plants that are used to top up electricity supplies during high demand periods, such as hot summer days.  They have also traditionally been the least efficient resources available to SCE.

According to GE, the system called the LM6000 Hybrid Electric Gas Turbine (Hybrid EGT) helps balance variable energy supply and demand during evening hours after sunset and solar production falls at a time when electricity use climbs.

The batteries in the new system contain cells made by Samsung SDI and can provide electricity immediately, eliminating the need for the power plant to burn fuel in “standby” mode. Before using the new system, the 50 megawatt plant would take about 10 minutes to ramp up to capacity.

“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,” said SCE President Ron Nichols. “This technology also allows us to continue to expand our use of solar, wind and other renewable resources.”

Nichols added the new system would cut plant startups in half and reduce total run hours by 60 per cent.

“As the electrical grid network continues to evolve, with more intermittent renewables being added every day, products like the Hybrid EGT can help smooth out the delivery of electricity,” said Reinaldo Garcia, President and CEO of Grid Solutions from GE Energy Connections.  “Storage and the ability to quickly push power to the grid also play a key role in emergency situations, dispatching energy immediately to the grid ensuring that we are able help keep the lights on for everyone.”

The state of California requires that by 2030, its utilities get half of their electricity needs from renewable sources.  As well, California has required energy storage systems to help integrate the renewables.  SCE has brought several energy storage projects online, including the Tesla Inc battery earlier this year.

Paul McElhinney, President & CEO for GE Power Services said, “We worked with SCE to address a very specific need, but this solution has applications that go far beyond. We look forward to working with customers to develop tailor-made solutions that will allow them greater flexibility when incorporating renewable energy and other quick power needs.”

Nichols says SCE is looking at adding the systems to three other peaker plants in its territory.


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