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Ventura County to Replace Natural Gas Generation with Battery Storage

Ventura County to Replace Natural Gas Generation with Battery Storage
(Image: Tesla’s Megapack grid-scale battery storage. Credit: Tesla)

Ventura County, California, is moving forward on developing a 100-megawatt, 400-megawatt hour battery storage facility to replace the need for new natural gas-powered generation.

The enormous Ventura Energy Storage project will be situated on a brownfield site in a private industrial park, according to developer Strata Solar. Southern California Edison and Strata Solar signed a 20-year power purchase agreement in April 2019 for the local capacity.

“The electrical grid in Ventura County is stressed by diverse terrain, extreme weather, and the planned retirement of old and inefficient natural gas-fueled power plants along the coast,” Strata Solar said. Venture Energy Storage should improve reliability without increasing emissions, the developer added.

Strata awarded an engineering, procurement, and construction contract to Tesla for its Megapack battery system, a massive energy storage system that comes pre-assembled and pre-tested in one enclosure from the company’s Nevada Gigafactory. On Tuesday, the Verge reported that Tesla is fully reopening its factory in Nevada despite earlier announcements that the company would resume limited operations.

Powering the County during Planned Shutoffs

Michael Powers, Ventura County Executive Officer, said that in the event of a public safety power shutoff, the new battery storage facility will convey stored energy to the grid, powering local homes and businesses. Last fall, losses for small commercial and industrial customers in California from the shutoffs were estimated to be billions of dollars.

“This will help keep the lights on when some need it most,” Powers said. “We appreciate these types of projects especially as we adopt strategies to stimulate our local economy following the economic impacts of covid-19.”

Approval for the Ventura Energy Storage project happened during the county’s first virtual planning administrative hearing, he said. Signing off through Zoom helped county officials keep the project on schedule, Greentech Media reported.

Construction on the project is set to begin in July.

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