BEI Breaks Ground on 537.5 MW Energy Storage Project

Long Beach site

BEI broke ground on the largest energy-storage project in California to date on Monday, March 28. In January this year, the owner, Southern California Edison (SCE), and the engineering, procurement, and construction manager (EPCM), Ameresco, selected BEI as the design-build general contractor.

BEI is concurrently building the utility-scale battery energy storage systems (BESS) at three of SCE’s existing substations located in Porterville, Rancho Cucamonga, and Long Beach, California. The project is on a fast-track schedule to complete in August 2022 and will provide 537.5 MW/ 2.15 GWh of energy storage, which is enough stored energy to power roughly 537,500 homes for four hours.

The aggressive schedule is due to state mandates for SCE to improve grid reliability during extreme weather events, such as drought, wildfires, and heatwaves. The schedule “is a significant challenge, but we’re addressing it by building the three sites concurrently and using a design-build delivery method,” says Dominic DiMare, Principal at BEI.

Supply chain issues and lingering effects of the pandemic impact everything from wire and PVC conduit to conductors and balance of systems (BOS) materials in general. To compensate for soil instability and adequately support the batteries, BEI will drill the piers 20′ deep—eight feet deeper than standard, which will take longer.

DiMare continues, “This is what we’re known for; we have a reputation for innovation and building cutting-edge technology. We’ve really been pioneers in the industry. This is the largest project that BEI has ever built in the shortest schedule. The fact that this is the single largest energy storage project that has ever been built in California makes the challenges more meaningful. We’re building to affect positive change. It’s pretty neat.”

Once completed, this project will directly contribute to the State of California’s clean energy and carbon neutrality goals and help Edison International, SCE’s parent company, meet its 2045 net-zero greenhouse gas emissions commitment.

Rancho Cucamonga site