As forecasted in the North American Electric Reliability Corporation’s Summer 2023 Reliability Assessment, July brought waves of extreme heat throughout the U.S. and with them, challenges to the electric grid’s reliability. Competitive power providers kept innovating while working to keep the lights and A/C running. Read on to see the ways EPSA members Vistra Corp., Calpine, LS Power, and bp continued their efforts in the past month towards a cleaner, more reliable, and more cost-effective power system.
Vistra Expands California Battery Storage
Vistra Corp. announced completion of the third phase of its Moss Landing Energy Storage Facility, now bringing 750 MW of battery storage capacity to the California grid—enough to power more than 560,000 homes. This project comes at a time when the need for storage and other clean energy solutions is rising—and power system reliability is at increased risk.
Vistra President and CEO Jim Burke said in a statement, “As we navigate this energy transition to cleaner fuel sources, the ability to balance that shift with both reliability and affordability is paramount. Continued investment in energy storage, like our Moss Landing site, allows us to harness and store a substantial and growing amount of power from intermittent renewables and then deliver that electricity when customers need it most.”
Calpine Kicks Off California Carbon Capture Project
Calpine Corp. began operations on its new carbon capture project at California’s Los Medanos Energy Center. This project will utilize ION Clean Energy’s newly developed solvent to capture 95 percent of the carbon produced by generating electric power.
Calpine President and CEO Thad Hill told CBS News that this project will help drive solutions to the threefold energy “trilemma,” making the energy grid more reliable, cleaner, and more cost-effective. “Carbon capture plants like the one sitting here—a plant that is reliable, that is safe, that is efficient—can literally change the world,” Hill said. “Solar, wind, geothermal, batteries, these are all important parts of the journey, but you need dispatchable power that is carbon free.”
While still in the early stages, this project will likely indicate the success of larger-scale projects in the future that can continue to drive change for a stronger and cleaner power system. This project could enable developers to eventually bring carbon capture technology to “commercial-scale operations,” said Jennifer Atcheson, ION’s vice president of operations.
LS Power Turns Landfill Gas to Renewable Natural Gas in Carolinas Gas-to-Renewable Project
LS Power portfolio company The Landfill Group commenced operation of the first RNG project in South Carolina. The Twin Chimneys project in Honea Path, SC, takes landfill methane and processes it to create pipeline-ready renewable natural gas (RNG).
“We are excited to bring online this important project that is collecting methane that would otherwise be emitted at the landfill and converting it to clean, renewable fuel. RNG is an incredibly important source of low-carbon energy in the energy transition, and we’re proud to establish the precedent of being the first operating project in the state of South Carolina,” said Mike Fenton, Director of Sales and Project Delivery at The Landfill Group.
Landfill gas, a natural byproduct of the decomposition process of waste, is collected at the Twin Chimneys Landfill and converted into RNG. The processed landfill gas is injected into the local natural gas system.
According to the EPA, the environmental benefits associated with this project at full build out will be equivalent to reducing the CO2 emissions of more than 66 million gallons of gasoline each year.
LS Power subsidiary CPower Energy announced its new CEO, Michael D. Smith. Smith has over 25 years of experience in the energy industry.
bp Forges Ahead With CCUS Technology and New Solar Projects
bp continues its efforts to invest in and deploy technologies to reduce power sector emissions.
The company advanced its pursuit of carbon capture and storage development, focusing its search for investment placement in Indiana. A bp spokesperson stated that Indiana, given its geology, is “uniquely positioned” for the technology.
At the beginning of the month, Lightsource bp announced the successful closure on a multi-project financing package of two utility-scale solar projects totaling $460 million:
- Honeysuckle Solar, 188 MW in St. Joseph County, Indiana
- Prairie Ronde Solar, 180 MW in St. Landry Parish, Louisiana
Lightsource bp stated, “By leveraging domestic content incentives offered in the Inflation Reduction Act, both the Honeysuckle and Prairie Ronde solar projects provide exciting examples of the IRA’s benefits in real action. With the right policies, we can boost made-in-America products, create jobs and reduce our nation’s foreign dependence.”