Tesla’s 100-megawatt (MW) South Australia battery will no longer be the world’s largest if a new solar project goes through. According to USA Today, Recurrent Energy has requested permission from the federal government for the Crimson Solar Project, a 350-MW solar plant with as much as 350 MW of battery storage in the California desert east of Palm Springs.
Recurrent Energy, a subsidiary of Canadian Solar, aims to build a battery storage project and associated solar plant on 2,500 acres of public land near California’s Mule Mountains, south of Interstate 10. Solar power has rapidly expanded in California, creating a need for more battery storage. Recurrent Energy’s plans for such a massive battery are encouraging for the clean power industry; GTM Research energy storage analyst Daniel Finn-Foley told USA Today, “If they actually installed 350 MW, that would be a bombshell.”
But it’s not a done deal at this point. The federal permitting process could take years, and Recurrent lacks a buyer for the solar plant’s electricity. Large utilities like Southern California Edison or Pacific Gas & Electric could be possible customers.
Recurrent Energy’s director of permitting Scott Dawson told USA Today, “If someone wants it, we’ll build it.”
There are environmental concerns at the location, although Dawson said the company has redesigned the Crimson Solar Project to avoid the most sensitive habitats. The plant would disrupt 30 sand dune habitat acres where the Mojave fringe-toed lizard resides; a prior plan disrupted 580 acres. A previous plan also saw the plant disrupting 95 acres of biodiversity-rich microphyll woodlands, but that number is now at 1.2 acres. The solar project would not encroach on critical habitat for the desert tortoise.
Via USA Today
Images via Recurrent Energy