The California Energy Commission and Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) have launched a battery energy storage system pilot project to balance the power needs of the electric grid in the state better.

The new 4MW Yerba Buena Battery Energy Storage System Pilot Project will charge batteries when demand is low and then sends reserved power to the grid when demand grows.

PG&E, responsible for the installation and evaluation of the energy storage system, has received a $3.3m grant from the Energy Commission.

Commenting on the launch, Energy Commission Chair Robert B. Weisenmiller said that the investments in energy storage play a key role for the state to meet its renewable energy goals, and the Yerba Buena Battery Energy Storage System will improve efficiency and reliability in the electricity supply.

PG&E Distribution Operations senior vice president Greg Kiraly said, "This pilot project will provide critical, real-world data on the technical and financial performance of battery energy storage to help us understand how battery storage devices can serve PG&E’s customers and the overall electric grid."

Meanwhile, S&C Electric is the engineering, procurement and construction contractor for the project and supplied the storage management system and power conversion equipment that control the battery’s AC input/output and its interface with the electric grid.