The Grayson expansion wants to spend tens of millions for natural gas plants that will run only a few days of the year. The plan is to add a number of new turbines to increase the power output to 310 MW. Two of these new turbines will be what they call “peaker plants” which means that they will only run on a few days of the year to handle peak demand on the hottest of the hot days. That’s right, these plants cost tens of millions each and will only run a few days of the year.
A viable alternative to these peaker plants is batteries. They get charged up at non peak times with the extra capacity built into the system. Then they discharge during peak power events. They are great for balancing out variable energy coming from wind or solar generation. Also, they can be used all the time, not just on peak days by charging up using cheaper surplus power at night and then discharging when power is more expensive during the day. This can reduce demand and pollution from all the Grayson units.
Glendale Water and Power did not look seriously into batteries as a solution. They offered an “alternative” plant that was 100% battery which is not even a legitimate option. They included it so that they could say that they looked at battery options. This is called a straw man argument and is an insult to the ratepayers’ intelligence.
There are already peaker plants that have been mothballed because they are more expensive than comparable battery options. As the price of battery systems come down, the economics will get better and better for batteries. Researchers are saying that they “can’t see a reason why we should ever build a gas peaker again in the U.S. after, say, 2025.”
Check out this article on the issue to find out the current state of battery vs peaker plant economics.
We need to write to the city council and ask that they immediately put the Grayson Expansion on hold and hire an independent green tech organization to evaluate real renewable alternatives to a new, larger, polluting and greenhouse gas spewing gas plant. Write to them here.