Solar Panels with Turbines

                                                                        Los Angeles is Selected to Build a 100-Megawatt Battery System

The Push for Alternative Energy

In this blog we address the topic of energy storage in relation to new and alternative forms of energy.  In our recent history, scientists have found renewable energy to help with the global energy crisis. Scientists and engineers are working together to help the world move away from coal and fossil fuels, and towards wind, solar, tidal, and other forms of renewable energy.  The next obstacle that we face is how to store these alternative energy resources.  Alternative Energy Storage (AES) has found a way to use a giant battery storage system to replace older existing power plants.  This new system will not only increase the need for renewable energy resources, but it will also lower energy costs and overall emissions.

The concept of storing energy created from natural sources is similar to storing rain water.  If we did not have reservoirs, then we would not be able to have water unless it was raining.  AES allows us to capture energy, and use it when we need it.  There is little to criticize about AES.  Even if one does not believe in global warming,  AES is necessary for wind, solar and other natural energy sources, just as reservoirs are necessary for water.

AES Creates a Giant Battery System

In the past, all of our energy in the United States has been stored at power plants.  The issue with these old and outdated plants is that they were not built to accept energy that was being produced outside of the plants.  With the demand for renewable energy growing every year, the Department of Energy (DOE), has been forced to find new ways to store alternative energy so that it can provide energy to larger populations.  According to AES President John Zahuranicik, the agreement between AES and Southern California Edison (SCE) will move California towards a “clean, unbreakable power grid, taking advantage of energy storage for fast, flexible, emissions-free power”


AES will build a 100-megawatt “in-front-of-meter” battery system in the West Los Angeles Basin region. Here are some facts about the electro-mechanical battery AES is developing [2]:

  • It is 100 megawatts and able to provide for 4 hours, or 400 megawatt-hours, of battery-based energy storage
  • The resource must be completed by January 1, 2021
  • The battery will be installed in one large building at the Alamitos Power Center in Long Beach, CA
  • AES is providing services under a twenty-year power-purchase agreement

There is currently an electro-mechanical battery in North America that is being used for this same purpose, just not on such a large scale.  A 32 megawatt-hour lithium-ion is being tested in the Tehachapi Mountains.  SCE has been work with LG Chem on the 8-megawatt, 32-megawatt-hour lithium-ion battery system since 2010 [2].  The region where this project is taking place has the potential to produce up to 4.5 gigawatts of wind energy by 2016 [2].  This project in the Tehachapi Mountains is proof of the success of using electro-mechanical batteries to store wind energy for the long term.  If this much smaller scaled battery can produce 4.5 gigawatts of energy, than 100-megawatt battery should far exceed expectations for the energy it will be able to provide long term to the LA Basin.

What Does This Mean For Our Energy Future

The use of renewable clean energy is necessary to slow any effects of greenhouse gasses.   While scientists have taken the necessary steps to find viable alternative energy resources, we need to find a practical and affordable means to store that energy long term. This electro-mechanical battery could be the answer we all have been looking for. Not only is it supposed to have zero-emissions, but also it is believed it will save money for the state and it’s residents over the long term. I look forward to seeing the results of this project and how they plan to use this same system in cities around the world.

For more information on alternative forms of energy check out our blog on Storing Solar Energy.

[1] [2]