The First Major Long Duration Storage Procurement Has Arrived

California regulators said this year that the state will

need 1 gigawatt of long duration storage
by 2026. But the
technologies that can cost-effectively meet that need have so
far�attracted more attention from white paper authors than paying
customers.

That changed on Thursday, when a coalition of eight Californian
community choice aggregators, led by Silicon Valley Clean Energy
(SVCE), published a request for
offers
seeking 500 megawatts of long duration storage capacity.
In doing so, they beat the state’s investor-owned utilities in
making good on the California Public Utilities Commission’s call to
invest in this resource.

“We know that this is going to be needed in our future,” SVCE
CEO Girish Balachandran said in an interview. “As load-serving
entities, we said, ‘Let’s take the first step of moving this
forward.'”

Indeed, the Joint CCA procurement appears to be the largest
effort to contract for long duration storage, ever.

“I haven’t seen anything this big in nature that’s focused
on long duration,” said Jin Noh, senior policy manager at the
California Energy Storage Alliance.

8 hours or more, by 2026

The lithium-ion batteries now being deployed at gigawatt
scale typically deliver their full power for up to four hours.
Beyond that, adding more discharge duration typically costs more
than it’s worth right now. But many grid analysts believe that,
as wind and solar plants proliferate, cheap long duration storage
will play a valuable role turning that intermittent generation into
a round-the-clock resource.

The storage industry lacks a firm definition of long duration.
Some alternative battery startups pitch their four-hour storage
products under the moniker. Cambridge-based startup Form Energy
staked out the other end of the spectrum this year, winning a
contract for a
150-hour duration
storage plant in Minnesota.

The Joint CCAs stipulated that eligible projects must provide at
least 50 megawatts of power capacity with a minimum of eight hours
discharge duration, and they have to come online by 2026. Bids can
earn extra points for coming online sooner.

That deadline may seem far off. But most long duration
contenders are either new technologies or capital-intensive
construction projects, like pumped hydro. A few years’ lead time is
necessary to develop such projects and get them interconnected,
said Monica Padilla, SVCE’s director of power resources.

A firm path to market in six years is still a big step forward
for the long duration industry, which has struggled to find
customers ready to pay for its products.

“Having 2026 as the deadline is helpful to create some urgency,”
Noh said. “That will help support this market segment overall.”

Numerous companies responded to a request for information
earlier this year, but the names are not public. SVCE did confirm
the responses included multiple technologies, ranging from
conventional lithium-ion to chemical flow batteries, compressed
air, pumped hydro and emerging technologies like thermal and
gravity-based storage.

The Joint CCAs will serve as the scheduling coordinator,
deciding when to tell the plants to charge and discharge, Padilla
noted. That allows some latitude in what role the long-duration
bids can play.

These projects will offer early field validation of the value
that longer duration assets can provide. Such data is needed,
because California could be investing a lot more money in this type
of resource. A forthcoming study from Strategen Consulting found
that 40 gigawatts of long duration storage will be needed to meet
California’s goal of carbon-free electricity by 2045. 

Source: FS – GreenTech Media
The First Major Long Duration Storage Procurement Has
Arrived