For Immediate Release: February 9, 2010
Media Contact: Michele Demetras - 916-654-4989


Energy Commission Awards $2 Million
to PG&E for Battery Storage Research

Sacramento - The California Energy Commission awarded Pacific Gas & Electric Company (PG&E) $2 million for a 36-month demonstration project to study large-scale sodium sulfur battery energy storage. Once installed and operating, this will be the largest stationary battery energy storage system in California.

"This is a great example of building on previous Public Interest Energy Research the Energy Commission has sponsored," said James Boyd, Energy Commission Vice Chair. "Energy storage will become critical as we migrate to California's future 'smart grid' and integrate renewable energy sources, manage peak demand, and relieve transmission line congestion."

Energy storage technologies have the potential to increase the reliability and transmission of California's energy supply. Building a portfolio of energy storage options balances the development of newer, distributed storage technologies, such as batteries. The purpose of this project is to demonstrate a sodium sulfur battery energy storage system.

This project will be the first large-scale stationary demonstration of such a battery storage system in California, one of the most advanced energy storage technologies available. The system is highly efficient with a life span of about 15 years. This specific installation will be a four-megawatt system with a 28-megawatt-hour storage capacity. The Energy Commission will invest $2 million in this research, which will leverage more than $8 million in co-funding from PG&E, which also anticipates committing $5 million in additional funding for subcontractor work.

The three year project will require monthly reports, surveys, and assessments from PG&E and its subcontractors. The goal is to deploy, demonstrate, and document a sodium sulfur battery energy storage system that could integrate renewable energy resources in an existing utility delivery system. The capabilities of the battery storage system offer several potential market uses, such as providing emergency power during outages, leveling the energy demand load, and providing reserves when needed.

Funds are awarded from the Public Interest Energy Research (PIER) program, which supports public interest research and development that helps improve the quality of life in California by bringing environmentally safe, affordable, and reliable energy services and products to the marketplace. For more information about the PIER program, visit

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