Images courtesy of AES.
Long Beach’s Studebaker Road has long been home to a natural gas power plant. The presence of the exposed, wiry exterior of the grid dates back to the 1950s and is ubiquitous with that section of Long Beach, also a stretch of land with a history of natural resource extraction, as anyone who has seen the oil derricks in There Will Be Blood knows.
But with time comes change. AES California, with its eye on sustainable energy sources, has proposed the Alamitos Battery Energy Storage System project—one of two projects set to replace part of the natural gas power plant in the area. The other project will focus on a new, state-of-the-art natural gas energy plant that will also integrate intermittent renewable energy like wind and solar into the energy portfolio.
“We are really excited about this state-of-the art, zero-emissions energy storage system,” said AES spokesperson Dalia Gomez in an email to the Post. “This project is great for the community and the environment. It produces zero emissions and uses virtually no water. Aesthetically it is much more appealing as well. It will look like a modern-day, two-story data server facility.”
In fact, the as the world’s largest battery storage project—one component of the $1.3 to $1.5 billion revamping of the plant—will be able to provide up to 300 megawatts of energy upon completion, which is slated for early 2021. The plant currently has a 100 megawatt agreement, as contracted through Southern California Edison for 20 years, through a power purchase agreement.
According to the AES fact sheet, other features of the plant include the ability to start and stop the power source in a matter of minutes, compared to 12 to 36 hours for the existing plant, providing “flexible state energy.”
The fact sheet also said the project would result in $132 million in local purchases, 1.48 million hours in construction-related work and a payroll of over $315 million.
This report was updated on 07/25/16 at 11:17AM, clarifying the total cost of the AES project.