San Diego Business Journal

State regulators have signed off on San Diego Gas & Electric’s proposal to build lithium-ion battery projects in Escondido and El Cajon capable of storing a combined 37.5 megawatts of energy.

The California Public Utilities Commission’s approval follows a request by the agency that electric utilities in Southern California fast-track storage projects that will enhance the region’s energy reliability.

Both projects —a 30-megawatt facility in Escondido and one storing up to 7.5 megawatts in El Cajon — will be built by Arlington, Virginia-based AES Corp. Construction is expected to begin immediately and finish early next year.

SDG&E said in a news release the addition of storage projects not only improves power grid reliability but also accommodates greater amounts of renewable power and helps ease congestion. It said it plans to charge the batteries when solar and wind power are most abundantly available, then discharge them during times of peak demand for energy, in the early evening.

The CPUC has ordered SDG&E to get 165 megawatts of storage capacity by 2020, and have them operational by 2024.