PG&E completes demonstration project on commercial participation of energy storage systems in CAISO markets, announces upcoming project to explore integration with DERs

Written By: Stratton Report
November 10, 2016


On November 10, PG&E completed its technology demonstration project to explore the performance of battery storage systems participating in California’s electricity markets and issued a report on the results.

In addition the utility announced that in 2017, it will begin another technology demonstration project involving its Yberba Buena energy storage project in coordination with 3rd-party DERs — such as residential and commercial solar — using smart inverters and battery storage controlled through a distributed energy resource management system (DERMS).

According to PG&E, the completed project was funded by California’s Electric Program Investment Charge program.

Beginning in 2014 PG&E’s 2-MW Vaca-Dixon and 4-MW Yerba Buena battery storage systems provided energy and ancillary services in CAISO markets.

Per the utility, the Vaca-Dixon system is the first battery storage resource in California to participate in the market and the Yerba Buena system is the first battery storage resource to both participate in the market and serve a reliability function supporting PG&E’s distribution system in the event of a disturbance or outage.

Kevin Dasso, vice president, Electric Asset Management, PG&E remarked:

“We see great potential for energy storage systems to benefit Californians. Through this demonstration PG&E has addressed multiple barriers and gained incredible operational experience with battery storage. We’ve identified and resolved challenging implementation issues, established a new interconnection process, and developed an automated dispatch system that will serve as a platform for continued market participation.”

PG&E stressed that the project had developed and deployed a scalable technology platform to automate the response of current and future PG&E battery storage resources to CAISO which permitted it to quantify the financial performance of battery systems in California energy markets and to identifying opportunities and challenges associated with operating dual-use energy storage systems.

Manho Yeung, senior director, Transmission Asset Management, PG&E noted: “When we started this project, there were no batteries participating in the CAISO markets, so the only information available about battery market performance came from economic models. So much goes into deploying a completely new type of technology in the CAISO market, and PG&E developed new workflows and procedures, and a new IT technology platform to make it all work. We’ve successfully tested how batteries actually perform in the markets, substantially helping to inform the conversation about energy storage in California. Now that we have put these elements in place, it will be much easier to bring future battery systems online.”