Renewable energy developer Strata Solar sent an update on its landmark Ventura Energy Storage (VES) project — a 100-MW, 400-MWh battery energy storage system in unincorporated Ventura County, Calif. Strata awarded an Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) contract to Tesla for its Megapack battery system.
Pre-construction development is now complete. Construction, using local union labor, is scheduled to commence in July 2020. As the largest project selected in the paradigm-shifting solicitation by SCE, the project is helping Southern California to move away from the Aliso Natural Gas Storage facility and coastal power plants without compromising reliability.
“This precedent setting project is a testament to Strata Solar’s 12 years of success in the energy industry and our commitment to battery storage development as a core business line,” said Strata’s founder and CEO Markus Wilhelm. “We focus on smart development, value for our customers and strong returns for our investors with a team that has the experience to deliver market-leading results.”
Following a breakneck development effort, the project recently completed entitlements and finalized all necessary commercial agreements. Equity interest in the Project is scheduled to close in the second quarter. The substantial investment in Ventura’s energy infrastructure would not be possible without the numerous local stakeholders and supporters committed to the Project’s success.
“I’m excited to see this project moving forward,” said Mike Powers, Ventura County CEO. “Given the disruptions taking place during this time, Planning Department staff has done a great job, approving the project during the County’s first virtual Planning Administrative Hearing. The Project will help to ensure local energy reliability, and in the event of a Public Safety Power Shutoff the facility will convey stored energy to the grid, providing power to our local homes and businesses.”
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Development success story
Strata Solar’s Ventura Energy Storage project was competitively selected by Southern California Edison (SCE) for a 20-year Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) in April 2019 to supply local capacity. The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) unanimously approved the PPA in December 2019.
Developed on a brownfield site in a private industrial park, the Ventura Energy Storage project is sited away from residences and in close proximity to a critical transmission line, which provides backbone power for much of western Ventura County. The Project also co-invested in modernizing the local water system to support area fire prevention and additional business growth.
“Ventura Energy Storage is exactly the type of modern and clean energy infrastructure investment our community needs,” said Oxnard Mayor Tim Flynn. “Our citizens want more renewable energy and companies like Strata Solar help make it happen. Together, the City of Oxnard and Ventura Energy Storage are the leaders in the transition to technologies that enable clean energy.”
The electrical grid in Ventura County is stressed by diverse terrain, extreme weather and the planned retirement of old and inefficient natural gas fueled power plants along the coast. By developing new and versatile energy resources like Ventura Energy Storage, the reliability of the electric system is enhanced without increasing emissions.
“Ventura County is particularly vulnerable to energy supply shortfalls,” said Louise Lampara, Executive Director of CoLab Ventura County. Strata Solar’s Ventura Energy Storage Project will provide critical on-demand electricity for over 80,000 local households and businesses. Our residents and businesses need reliable energy to support our economy and quality of life – and Ventura Energy Storage is an essential part of the solution.”
Ventura Energy Storage will provide extensive benefits to the County and region including reliable on-demand power with no emissions to approximately 80,000 homes and businesses. In addition, more than $3 million in new sales and use tax and more than $9 million in new property taxes will be generated by the Project. To ensure local job growth, a Project Labor Agreement has been signed with the Tri-Counties Building and Construction Trades Council.
— Solar Builder magazine