“We chipped in every way we could.”
A humble statement from Cody Hill, the vice-president of energy storage for LS Power.
Hill was talking about the Gateway Energy Storage building in Otay Mesa, just south of San Diego, California. The building sits on the outskirts of town, a couple miles north of the U.S. border with Mexico.
The unassuming blue and gray building houses the largest battery in the world.
“It’s incredibly exciting,” Hill said, smiling. “It’s the future of the power system. It really is.”
Inside the building sit dozens of rows of tall, black metal boxes filled with batteries that store 230 megawatts of renewable energy. LS Power is adding more batteries to increase that to 250 megawatts by September. It’s the largest battery storage in the world. Hill said the storage makes energy more reliable in California and keeps costs down.
“Population of a quarter-of-a-million people can be supported on this one battery site there,” Hill said.
Hill said Gateway Energy Storage was tapped this week when California’s power was drained and several communities had their power shut off.
“This site helped keep the lights on for several communities,” Hill said.
“That gives relief,” exclaimed M.J., the owner of MJ’s Yogurt Time and Deli in nearby Chula Vista.
“If we lost power, definitely, we would lose a lot of money,” M.J. said.
Like so many people, M.J. didn’t realize the world’s largest battery was sitting at the base of a hill in Otay Mesa.
“And you know? If that’s the case, I know a lot of cities probably need something like that,” M.J. declared.
Hill said Gateway Energy Storage isn’t done growing. There is empty space between the rows of battery towers to add even more. Hill said they could ultimately quadruple the energy storage in Otay Mesa.