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O.C. Pilot Tests Whether Clean Energy Resources Can Meet Growing Needs of Major Metro Area

SCE contracts for 125 megawatts of power, including battery storage and solar.
By Paul Griffo

Southern California Edison contracted on Thursday for an assortment of clean energy resources that will be used in a groundbreaking attempt to see whether those resources can supply electricity to meet the growing demand in a densely-populated area  — Orange County — with the same reliability as a traditional power plant.

The Preferred Resources Pilot, as the project is known, is taking place in a wide swath of Orange County that is home to approximately 250,000 residential customers and 30,000 businesses.

“The question of whether clean energy resources can be used to safely, reliably and affordably serve the electrical needs of customers in a real-world environment is an important issue for utilities, policymakers and energy provider,” said SCE’s Caroline McAndrews, the project’s director. "The need for electricity in this area is increasing, and we want to meet those new needs with clean energy resources."

Contracts were signed with six developers for 125 megawatts of power representing an assortment of battery storage, “demand response” and the combination of solar and battery storage resources. Demand response means customers reduce their use of electricity from the power grid in response to an electronic signal.

These clean energy resources are expected to come online between 2019 and 2020 and will add to the 136 megawatts of “preferred” clean energy resources that have already been acquired for the pilot. A megawatt is enough electricity for approximately 750 homes.

“We want to find out whether these resources can reliably meet the needs of a metropolitan area, delivering the energy that is needed, when it is needed, and for as long as it is needed,” said Colin Cushnie, SCE vice president for Energy Procurement and Management. “This pilot is helping us move forward in development of a grid of the future that will support use of clean energy technologies and help us meet our state’s environmental goals.”

The boundaries of the study will encompass all or parts of the cities of Irvine, Tustin, Santa Ana, Newport Beach, Aliso Viejo, Corona del Mar, Costa Mesa, Laguna Beach, Laguna Woods, Laguna Hills, Laguna Niguel, Lake Forest and Mission Viejo.

The multiyear study is designed to determine whether these preferred resources — including solar, wind, battery storage, energy efficiency and energy conservation — can be used to offset the increasing demand for electricity in Orange County.



Capacity (MW)

Term (Years)


On-Line Date


Demand Response from Energy Conservation and Battery Storage



Jan. 2019 –

Jan. 2020


Battery Storage



Dec. 2019


Battery Storage



Jan. 2020


Battery Storage



Jan. 2020

Demand Response from Energy Conservation and Battery Storage



June 2018 – June 2019


Hybrid of Solar and Battery Storage



April 2019 – August 2019


Demand Response from Battery Storage



June 2019






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