Second Largest Solar Energy Storage Project Opens Blythe

Ceci Partridge

A new solar storage project is now in operation in Riverside County.

The Crimson Storage solar farm is commissioned to hold 350MW/ 1400 MWh of electricity, and will allow flexibility and reliability during peak electricity demands on the California electricity grid, according to Axium Infrastructure.

In a press release California Governor Gavin Newsom said, “The Crimson Energy Storage project epitomizes California leadership – clean energy, innovation, and economic development through good, union jobs. We’ve been laser focused on quickly bringing projects like this online to achieve our goal of a 100% clean energy grid.”

Crimson Solar Ribbon Cutting
Recurrent Energy, Axium Infrastructure, Congressman Raul Ruiz, and other officials from BLM, SCE and PG&E.

Crimson is the second largest energy storage project to reach operation in the world, and the largest energy storage project to reach operation in a single phase.

“This project builds on the progress we’re making locally to build our clean energy future, and I will continue working to strengthen our local economy, ensure good-paying union jobs, and achieve our nation’s energy independence to help our communities thrive,” said Congressman Raul Ruiz, M.D., in a press release.

CSI Energy Storage is the system integrator delivering the engineering, procurement and construction (“EPC”) services and will provide long-term operational services for the project.

It holds two long-term energy contracts with Southern California Edison and Pacific Gas & Energy:

• Southern California Edison: 200 MW / 800 MWh 14 year and 10-month contract with Southern California Edison under a full tolling agreement.
• Pacific Gas and Electric Company: 150 MW / 600 MWh 15-year contract with Pacific Gas and Electric Company for Resource Adequacy only; Recurrent Energy and Axium will operate the battery system in the California wholesale power market.

It is located in the desert near Blythe on public lands with approval from the Bureau of Land Management in May of 2021.

A statement from BLM California State Director Karen E. Mouritsen, said, “We look forward to supporting additional projects like Crimson Storage that ensure responsible energy development on BLM lands.”

This storage facility is reported to store and dispatch enough electricity to power more than 47,000 homes each year. It is also expected to displace as much as 275,000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions and 47 tons of nitrogen oxides emissions annually, compared to generation by natural gas fired turbines.

Crimson Solar Recurrent
Crimson Solar Recurrent

In a press release California Energy Commission Chair David Hochschild said, “Energy storage is an essential building block that supports our transition away from fossil fuels and the Crimson project represents a major milestone in the development of this essential clean energy resource.”

During construction, Crimson Storage employed approximately 140 union workers, including the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, International Union of Operating Engineers, Laborer’s International Union of North America, and the International Association of Bridge, Structural, Ornamental and Reinforcing Iron Workers Union. The project is expected to add $30 million in property tax revenue to the local community throughout its operation.

Thierry Vandal, President of Axium, said, “Axium is thrilled for the Crimson project to begin operations and support California’s continuing renewable energy transition. Projects such as Crimson are critical in facilitating the energy transition and we are pleased to have partnered with Recurrent and Canadian Solar on this landmark project.”

Dr. Shawn Qu, Chairman and CEO of Canadian Solar, said, “Recurrent Energy began developing Crimson Storage and our larger energy storage pipeline in 2015 when no large-scale storage projects yet existed. Today we celebrate how far we have come in delivering the much-needed flexible generation that will support the U.S. and California’s transformative climate goals. ”

The project is a joint operation with Bureau of Land management, Southern California Edison and Pacific Gas & Energy, Recurrent Energy, Axium Infrastructure and CSI Energy Storage.


*The video attached in this story has been updated. The first speaker was incorrectly identified. 

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