California Flips Switch on First Grid-Connected Flow Battery

Flow batteries, an emerging technology, could be more durable and hardy than the most popular grid-scale batteries in use today. Now, California’s independent system operator has hooked one up.

Power lines

(TNS) — The California Independent System Operator — the nonprofit that maintains reliability for the bulk of the state’s power grid — has become one of the first wholesale power markets to connect an innovative battery storage technology to its system.

Located at the Miguel substation in Bonita, a flow battery system installed by San Diego Gas & Electric has undergone testing and fine-tuning as part of a four-year pilot project to develop storage technologies aimed at integrating more renewable energy sources into California’s grid.

“After years of preparation and testing, the flow battery is now in our market,” Peter Klauer, an adviser for power systems development at the Independent System Operator, known as the ISO for short, said in a statement. “With this technology, we are navigating the future of electrical storage.”

The SDG&E flow battery storage system will provide 2 megawatts and 8 megawatt-hours of energy, enough to power about 1,000 homes for up to four hours.