California community choice aggregator MCE will provide $715,000 to Pittsburg Unified School District to pay for 1.6 MW of a combination of 2-hour and 4-hour duration lithium batteries for a total of 3 MWh at 10 of the 13 district campuses. The batteries will be paired with 2.3 MW of existing solar.
The school district will receive up to $200 a month in MCE bill credits at each project site, a $0.22/kWh credit for energy discharged to the grid between 4 to 9 p.m., and end-to-end project development through MCE’s vetted contractor, MBL-Energy. Credits are provided to the school district in return for discharging batteries daily to help maintain grid reliability and lower costs when the grid is available. The battery systems will also help keep electricity on at the school sites during grid outages.
“MCE’s Energy Storage Program offers important facilities like Pittsburg Unified School District the ability to become a community resource keeping the lights on during power outages,” said Shanelle Scales-Preston, City of Pittsburg Vice-Mayor, and MCE Board Vice Chair. “The school district has been a shining example of what can be accomplished when we take advantage of holistic approaches to energy savings and sustainability. We hope others take note of the benefits of this strategy.”
MBL-Energy is providing engineering, procurement and construction for the project, as well as O&M. The sites will either receive a 125-kW/220-kWh storage system or a 250-kW/660-kWh system, according to MCE.
“The school district’s decision to use MBL’s SmartStorage technology will help the school district reduce energy costs and support the community with sustainable and reliable infrastructure,” said Robert Laubach, CEO of MBL-Energy. “This project is a testament to the leadership that has defined MCE as the first CCA in California. It is a fantastic privilege to partner with MCE and Pittsburg Unified School District to bring state of the art energy storage technology to the California grid.”
This energy storage project is the latest demonstration of Pittsburg Unified School District’s initiatives to reduce costs and their carbon footprint. The district has installed solar at all school sites and 22 electric vehicle charging stations. It has purchased six all-electric vehicles for student transportation and staff use, and two all-electric full-size buses. Its 1-acre bioswale absorbs water during heavy rains while generating renewable energy from ground-mounted solar panels and vertical wind turbines.
“Pittsburg Unified School District has been a pioneer in the solar energy space since 2010, installing solar panels for sustainable energy savings,” said Hitesh Haria, Associate Superintendent of Business Services at Pittsburg Unified School District. ”We are now installing battery resiliency, that will store solar energy and will take our sustainable energy efforts into the next generation. The savings from the battery resiliency project will allow us to continue our efforts and re-invest in sustainable energy programs to continue expanding our focus on environmental stewardship.”
News item from MCE
“The school district will receive up to $200 a month in MCE bill credits at each project site, a $0.22/kWh credit for energy discharged to the grid between 4 to 9 p.m.,…”
This was pointed out by the so called “Big Battery” installed across the Neoen Wind farm in 2017. Having an asset that can be used for ‘grid services’ is a stacked revenue stream. This allows the BESS asset to pay for itself in stacked revenue charges servicing the grid demands. In the Australian “Big Battery” instance, this asset amortized in about 2.5 years of use for grid services. This battery storage system has now been enhanced from 100MW/129MWh to 150MW/193.5MWh and is still supplying multiple grid regulation and smoothing services. Opponents have foisted the solar PV farm or wind farm doesn’t generate power when the sun doesn’t shine, and the wind doesn’t blow. Unfortunately, before solar PV caught on around 2010 to 2015, the fractured grid system in the U.S. has needed distributed energy storage for (decades) to smooth and regulate the grid. The poor operating practice of using fueled generation in “standby reserve” mode of operation is not needed when a properly interconnected wholesale and regional RTO uses distributed large-scale BESS to address local and regional grid load demands.