At a press conference today at SDG&E’s Miramar operations center, Elliot Mainzer, president and CEO of the California Independent System Operator (ISO), along with SDG&E CEO Caroline Winn, provided an overview of state and regional preparations made to strengthen grid reliability during hot summer months.
A nonprofit public benefit corporation, ISO manages the flow of electricity across high-voltage, long-distance transmission lines responsible for serving 80 percent of California and a small part of Nevada. ISO staff works around the clock in coordination with utilities across the state to balance energy demand with supply on the grid.
During the event, Mainzer highlighted the important role consumers play in conserving energy when the ISO calls a Flex Alert, a voluntary call for conservation issued when the agency anticipates a shortage of electricity to meet demand. Last summer, consumer conservation was credited with helping to avoid more widespread rotating outages.
SDG&E’s Summer Preparations
Winn spoke about three key actions that SDG&E has undertaken to prepare: 1) The company has expanded its local energy generation resources and capacity; 2) procured extra reserves on the market; and 3) implemented new or expanded existing programs to incentivize customers to cut back on energy use when the grid is stressed.
One of the new resources that the company has brought online is the Top Gun Energy Storage Facility, a 30MW lithium-ion battery facility that can power approximately 20,000 homes for four hours. The facility is named as a tribute to the Naval Fighter Weapons School, also known as Top Gun, that was once based at the Miramar Marine Corps Air Base next door.
SDG&E has also contracted for an additional 100 plus MW of electric capacity for this summer and procured over 260 MW of new energy storage resources. The first of those projects will come online later this year, with additional projects coming online through 2023.
Additionally, SDG&E upgraded the turbines at its Palomar Energy Center in Escondido earlier this year to run more efficiently and to produce more electricity. The upgrades resulted in an additional 23MW of output available for this summer.
To learn more about the Flex Alert program and energy conservation tips, visit Flex Alert: energy conservation tips, save energy on high demand days in California.