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Southern California Edison to unveil a battery storage-gas turbine hybrid

Call it a hybrid system with multiple applications for the electric grid.Southern California Edison (SCE) has signed on to be the first utility in the country to buy a project that will combine existing gas turbines with a battery storage system.

The first-of-its-kind technology is devised by Current, the new $1 billion energy services company that’s part of the General Electric empire,

“It means a more reliable electric grid,” said Colin Cushnie, vice president of energy procurement and management at SCE. “It means less emissions in the operations of the power plants to maintain a reliable electric grid.”

SCE bought two of what is called the LM6000 Hybrid EGT, which allows the turbine to operate in standby-mode without using fuel. Plus, 10 megawatts of energy storage enables immediate response to changing energy dispatch needs.

That’s important, especially in California due to the state’s ambitious requirements for renewable energy sources.

Wind and solar have taken on a greater role in the state’s energy mix but they are variable energy sources — with wind production dropping when the breeze doesn’t blow and solar dissipating when the sun goes down.

Energy storage sources are designed to help fill the gaps and the battery system in the LM6000 can help eliminate the need to constantly run the turbines at minimum loads to maintain what is called “spinning reserve” — backup energy production that’s available to a transmission system with 10 minutes’ notice.

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