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KPBS Midday Edition

San Diego County energy storage project aims to help fight climate crisis

Power lines strung above a neighborhood in San Carlos, Aug. 18, 2020.
KPBS Staff
Power lines strung above a neighborhood in San Carlos, Aug. 18, 2020.

A new energy storage project is rolling out across the county. It aims to add more emissions-free energy to California’s electric grid.

The project will include 12 sites across the county, with the first two sites breaking ground next month in Chula Vista and El Cajon. Other site locations include La Mesa, Spring Valley, Rancho Peñasquitos, and Ramona. Once completed, the sites will be able to store enough electricity to power 110,000 homes for two hours.

San Diego Union-Tribune energy reporter Rob Nikolewski joined KPBS Midday Edition to talk about the recent report he did on the project.


He said these energy storage projects are critical to California meeting its climate goals.

"The main goal of this project is the larger goal that California has, which is try to bring in more sources of power that do not emit greenhouse gas emissions," Nikolewski said. "That's because under the state's renewable portfolio standard, about 60% of California's electricity must come from renewable sources by 2030, and by 2045, if not earlier, 100% of all the energy sources must come from carbon-free sources. So that's a big driver behind this project and other ones across the state."

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Nikolewski said batteries enable the storage of energy generated during the day.

"We get so much solar production that it can't be used, and sometimes it has to be curtailed. So what they're trying to do is be able to take that excess solar or any other excess power that we have during the day, then store that up and use batteries to do that," Nikolewski said.


He said the Chula Vista and El Cajon sites are expected to begin operations in April, and the other 10 sites are expected to be up and running by the end of 2023.

The project is estimated to cost up to $100 million, and is being funded through loans obtained by the EnerSmart Storage, the San Diego company designing and operating the project.