The US’s largest green hydrogen storage system is on its way to disrupt the renewables sector. Energy Vault Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: NRGV) – a sustainable grid-scale energy storage solutions provider, and Pacific Gas and Electric Company, a subsidiary of PG&E Corporation (NYSE: PCG), announced they are partnering to develop and operate the largest green hydrogen long-duration energy storage system in the US.
The facility is hybrid and integrates battery energy storage and liquid green hydrogen storage capacity. The battery plus the green hydrogen energy storage system (BH-ESS) it includes provides a minimum of 293 megawatt-hours (MWh) of dispatchable carbon-free energy.
In more detail, the facility will be equipped with a short-duration battery storage unit that enables grid forming and black start capabilities, plus fuel cells powered by electrolytic hydrogen produced with renewable energy.
The 293 MWh of dispatchable energy it will deliver will be able to power more than 2,000 customers within а Pacific Gas and Electric Company microgrid in the Northern California City of Calistoga for up to 48 hours. It will replace diesel generators within the microgrid during planned outages when the power lines need to be offline due to high wildfire risk.
The deal is supported by a 10.5-year tolling agreement that states PG&E will receive the power while Energy Vault will be the system’s owner and operator. PG&E submitted the project contract for review and approval to the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) on December 30, 2022, with a request for the issuance of a final resolution approving the project by May 15, 2023.
Under the partnership, the system’s capacity may be expanded to 700MWh. That would allow it to operate longer time without refueling, enhancing the power backup flexibility for PG&E and the City of Calistoga.
Construction is planned to begin in Q4 of 2023 with operation expected by the end of Q2 of 2024. The entire system should be developed on less than one acre of land.
The technology is of a groundbreaking nature and is expected to serve as a model for Energy Vault’s future utility-scale hybrid storage system deployments.
Considering its value and importance for the future development of the green hydrogen sector, PG&E and Energy Vault undertook extensive safety and operational studies and also consulted with local stakeholders in advance of finalizing the agreement, including the City of Calistoga.
Storing hydrogen is one of the biggest issues the sector is facing today. There are currently no commercially viable solutions to storing and preserving hydrogen at large-scale. Upon completion, the project is expected to be first-of-its-kind and the largest utility-scale green hydrogen project in the United States.