Leeward Renewable Energy (LRE) and Southern California Edison (SCE), a major electric utility provider in the US, have jointly announced that they have recently signed a 15-year Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) pertaining to LRE’s upcoming Antelope Valley BESS facility located in Kern County, California.

This facility, with a capacity of 126MW, marks LRE’s inaugural independent battery energy storage system (BESS). Furthermore, it serves to expand LRE’s existing renewable energy portfolio by incorporating approximately 1GWh of operational storage capacity.

The primary objective of the Antelope Valley BESS is to bolster the resiliency and dependability of the electrical grid in California while adhering to the highest safety standards. With a storage capacity exceeding 500 megawatt-hours (MWhs), this facility will have the capability to store clean energy that can be utilised during peak load periods to meet the demand.

Once operational, the Antelope Valley BESS will have the potential to power over 100,000 households for up to four hours. This contribution, in conjunction with the increasing utilisation of renewable energy resources, ensures that customer requirements are met even after sunset when solar energy production decreases.

The strategic placement of the Antelope Valley BESS is noteworthy, as it is situated in close proximity to LRE’s Rabbitbrush project, which encompasses a 100MW solar and storage facility, as well as the Chapparal Springs project, which includes a 174-MW solar and storage installation. This geographical adjacency offers operational synergies and enhances the overall efficiency of the renewable energy infrastructure in the region.

Moreover, the development of the BESS is expected to generate approximately 70 union jobs during its peak construction phase. Additionally, it will contribute significantly to Kern County’s economic growth through substantial property tax revenues and other economic benefits.

LRE chief commercial officer Eran Mahrer said: “Antelope Valley BESS marks a significant milestone for LRE as it is our first standalone battery storage project.

“We are proud to partner with Southern California Edison to help meet California’s zero-carbon goals and facilitate the transition to a cleaner and more reliable power grid that will directly address the urgent need for energy capacity in the state. LRE looks forward to our continued long-term partnership with SCE, the County, and the community as we develop and operate Antelope Valley BESS.”

The construction timeline for the Antelope Valley BESS project is set to commence in mid-2023, with the aim of completing the construction phase and making the facility operational by early 2024.