BYD to Develop Energy Storage for Los Angeles Municipal Power

The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) has formed a partnership with China’s BYD Ltd. Corp. (BYDDF.PK)  to develop a grid-scale battery project for renewable energy storage.

The project will lead to the development of a 5-10 megawatt (MW) power storage unit to be housed at Pine Tree Wind Farm,
the utility’s wind power facility in the Tehachapi Mountains.

The storage unit, similar to a battery in effect, will improve LADWP’s
power reliability and balance the integration of renewable wind and
solar energy into the LADWP’s large generation portfolio.

BYD Company emerged from relative obscurity when Warren Buffet’s Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.A, BRK.B) spent $231 million for a 10% stake in September 2008 (company profile). Founded by China’s wealthiest man, BYD is the world’s largest producer of rechargeable batteries and a major car manufacturer in China. In May, the company announced it will locate its North American headquarters in Los Angeles and begin selling small, all-electric hatchbacks in 2011.

“BYD is pleased to partner with the City of Los Angeles and the LADWP for these break-through Energy Storage Stations–this technology will allow L.A.’s solar and wind power to have a firm-capacity and make them ‘relevant’ to the grid allowing the City to reduce their dependence on other fossil-based sources of power generation," said Stella Li, Senior Vice President of BYD.

In August, the California Legislature passed AB 2514, landmark legislation to mandate the use of energy storage technologies by electric utilities. Under the legislation, publicly-owned utilities are required to comply by 2016. The Energy-Storage Portfolio-Target for publicly-owned utilities will be set in 2013.

Last week, the U.S. utility AES announced that it will purchase 20MW worth of utility-scale energy storage from battery maker Samsung SDI (006400.KS). The utility is also order similar systems from A123Systems (Nasdaq: AONE).

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