Governor Celebrates Battery Storage Milestone

Written by Neil Farrell

Neil has been a journalist covering the Estero Bay Area for over 27 years. He’s won numerous journalism awards in several different categories over his career.

June 6, 2024

California Gov. Gavin Newsom, center of the photo, is flanked by local officials and members of the Board of Directors of Valley Clean Energy at a celebration of the completion of the Putah Creek Solar Farm and Battery Storage plant in Winters, Calif., and the milestone of now having 10,000 megawatts of battery storage capacity. Photo courtesy VCE

In a scene that could some day be repeated in Morro Bay, California’s Governor recently hit the highway from the Governor’s Mansion in Sacramento, heading a short distance west to the little town of Winters, in Yolo County, Calif.

There Gov. Gavin Newsom celebrated the opening of a new battery energy storage facility and marked the completion of a significant statewide milestone with battery storage capacity.

Gov. Newsom “visited the Putah Creek Solar Farm in Winters to announce a major clean-energy milestone for California: As of this month, he told the audience, the state has enough battery capacity to store 10,000 megawatts of electricity,” reads a news release from Valley Clean Energy, a non-profit a “community choice aggregator” that provides elecftricit6y to the cities of Woodland, Winters, and Davis, and the unincorporated towns in Yolo County.

Putah Creek “is a 3-megawatt solar facility with batteries that can store up to 3 MW of electricity during peak energy-generating times, and then discharge it after the sun goes down, powering 600 homes,” reads the VCE news release. The battery facility broke ground in September 2021 and was completed late last year.

In news reports of Gov. Newsom’s April 25 visit to Putah Creek, he was quoted as saying, “In just five years, California has increased its battery storage capacity more than tenfold. Our energy storage revolution is here, and it couldn’t come at a more pivotal moment as we move from a grid powered by dirty fossil fuels to one powered by clean energy. We’re in the midst of one of the biggest transformations of our time — and California is once again leading the way.”

The Putah Creek solar/battery project is one of six such projects that VCE is working on for its customers and another, the 20 MW (6.5 MW battery storage) Gibson Renewables project located outside Esparto, Yolo County, is slated to open this summer. VCE has a 20-year contract to buy all the energy and battery storage at both of these projects.

Other VCE-connected projects slated to open soon include the 2.5 MW Tierra Buena Battery Storage in Sutter County; and the 75 MW Resurgence Solar Farm in San Bernardino County.

Other projects that will come on line soon are:  the 36 MW Willy 9 Chap 2 in Kern County planned for summer 2024 completion; 13 MW Gibson in Yolo County planned for early 2025; and the 2.5 MW Goal Line in San Diego County planned for early 2025 opening.

Meanwhile, as the State marches into the battery storage future, The City of Morro Bay continues to work on the environmental review of a proposed 600 MW BESS facility on the old Morro Bay Power Plant property by plant owner Vistra Energy.

The point of all this development is to try and reach the State’s energy goals of being 100% renewable energy by 2030.

One other similarity exists between the VCE projects in Yolo County and here — both areas are served by a non-profit community choice aggregator. In SLO County, Central Coast Community Energy (CCCE) provides electricity to the majority of homes and businesses, as well as having customers in Santa Cruz, San Benito, and Monterey counties.

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