Megan Geuss

ONTARIO, CALIF.—East of LA, a natural gas peaker plant surrounded by fields of cows got a new, futuristic neighbor. Under a maze of transmission lines, a 20MW battery storage facility made of nearly 400 closet-sized batteries sitting on concrete pads now supplies 80MWh to utilities.
The project is an anomaly not just because it’s one of the largest energy storage facilities on the grid in California today, but because it was built in record time—the project was just announced in September when regulators ordered utility Southern California Edison to invest in utility-scale battery storage, a year after a natural gas well in Aliso Canyon, California sprung a leak and released 1.6 million pounds of methane into the atmosphere.

The leak prompted a shutdown of the natural gas storage facility, one of the largest west of the Mississippi. Regulators were concerned that such a shutdown would cause energy and gas shortages, although that worry has not come to fruition entirely, and SoCal Gas has begun tentatively withdrawing gas again in recent weeks.
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