Arizona just added its largest grid battery yet; Court Rich, Rose Law Group co-founder and energy attorney, highlights why this form of energy storage is ‘the next big thing’

(Disclosure: Rose Law Group represents Google.)

By Julian Spector | Canary Media

Arizona just added its biggest grid battery so far, part of a nationwide trend toward unprecedented energy storage installations this year.

Grid batteries have soared from obscurity to become the second-most popular type of power plant expected to be built in the U.S. this year — more than gas, more than wind — in fact, more than gas and wind put together. This surge in popularity gives the grid more tools to absorb surplus renewable energy production and shift it to the times of day when it’s needed most, but it also helps the grid operate more efficiently on normal days and during extreme weather events.

The proliferation of new grid batteries is playing out on the ground in Arizona, where renewables juggernaut NextEra Energy Resources just activated its Sonoran Solar Energy Center. The project adds 260 megawatts of solar and 1 gigawatt-hour of storage to the greater Phoenix-area grid controlled by utility Salt River Project, which heralded the installation as the largest grid battery in the state of Arizona.

That title will soon have to be shared: Developer Plus Power is currently constructing its own 1-gigawatt-hour battery for SRP in Avondale, known as the Sierra Estrella project. That one is expected to join the grid this summer. Arizona, in short, is adding multiple record-busting big batteries in just a handful of months.


“Battery energy storage is the next big thing in energy in Arizona. We are currently helping our clients with permitting for thousands of MWs of batteries that can store energy generated during the less expensive times of the day and then deploy that energy at times where energy costs more because of higher demand. Doing this makes otherwise intermittent resources like wind and solar into firm and reliable sources of energy all while costing far less than other alternatives like gas, nuclear, and coal.”

-Court Rich, Rose Law Group co-founder and energy attorney