As giant batteries transform the way the U.S. uses electricity, Court Rich, Rose Law Group co-founder and director of the firm’s Renewable Energy and Utility Infrastructure Department, highlights their big advantages

By Brad Plumer and Nadja Popovich | The New York Times

California draws more electricity from the sun than any other state. It also has a timing problem: Solar power is plentiful during the day but disappears by evening, just as people get home from work and electricity demand spikes. To fill the gap, power companies typically burn more fossil fuels like natural gas.

That’s now changing. Since 2020, California has installed more giant batteries than anywhere in the world apart from China. They can soak up excess solar power during the day and store it for use when it gets dark.

Those batteries play a pivotal role in California’s electric grid, partially replacing fossil fuels in the evening. Between 7 p.m. and 10 p.m. on April 30, for example, batteries supplied more than one-fifth of California’s electricity and, for a few minutes, pumped out 7,046 megawatts of electricity, akin to the output from seven large nuclear reactors.

Across the country, power companies are increasingly using giant batteries the size of shipping containers to address renewable energy’s biggest weakness: the fact that the wind and sun aren’t always available.

“What’s happening in California is a glimpse of what could happen to other grids in the future,” said Helen Kou, head of U.S. power analysis at BloombergNEF, a research firm. “Batteries are quickly moving from these niche applications to shifting large amounts of renewable energy toward peak demand periods.”


“Arizona’s utilities are desperate for power and are adopting thousands of MWs of battery storage to help fill this need. Batteries are able to fill so many roles and, as this article discusses, battery adoption makes sense whether your goals are carbon reduction like in California or merely responding to free market signals as they do in Texas. Also, as we help plan more and more battery projects for our clients, we see they can be seamlessly and safely integrated into places where traditional electrical infrastructure would be seen as unwelcome or out of place. It makes a lot more sense for a community to welcome a safe, low profile, quiet and non-polluting battery project on just a few acres to their neighborhood than it does to expect that same community to welcome a massive, noisy, unsightly, and polluting power plant to the same spot. Batteries are certainly going to play a huge part of the future in Arizona.” -Court Rich, Rose Law Group Co-founder and Director of the Firm’s Renewable Energy and Utility Infrastructure Department

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May 2024