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Willow Rock

California Moves Closer to Carbon-Free Electricity Goals as Central Coast Community Energy Signs 25-Year Power Purchase Agreement with Hydrostor

12 Jan, 2023

TORONTO, CANADA & MONTEREY, CALIFORNIA – January 12, 2023 – Hydrostor Inc. (Hydrostor), a leading long-duration energy storage (LDES) provider, and Central Coast Community Energy (3CE), one of California’s largest community choice aggregators, announced today that they have executed a 25-year energy storage PPA for 200 MW/1,600 MWh from Hydrostor’s 100%-owned Willow Rock Energy Storage Center (Willow Rock). Using Hydrostor’s patented Advanced Compressed Air Energy Storage (A-CAES) solution, Willow Rock will abate up to 28 million metric tons of carbon dioxide over its lifetime, equivalent to removing 120,000+ cars from the road, each year, for 50+ years.

Expanding critical long-duration energy storage (LDES) to support increasing levels of intermittent wind and solar resources
The nearly $1B (U.S.) contract represents one of the largest standalone long-duration energy storage PPAs, providing 8 hours of energy storage to Central Coast Community Energy

Once completed, the project will help 3CE provide 100% clean and renewable energy to more than 440,000 customers by 2030 and support up to 40 full time operating positions, and $500 million in regional direct and indirect impacts to the local economy. Assuming 100% renewable energy mix, Hydrostor’s 500 MW Willow Rock Center will abate up to 28 million metric tons of carbon dioxide over its lifetime, equivalent to removing 120,000+ cars from the road, each year, for 50+ years

As California advances towards its objective of 100% carbon-free electricity by 2045, the state will require large-scale LDES to support increasing levels of intermittent wind and solar generation capacity. Willow Rock provides a cost-effective, emission-free storage solution to convert California’s abundant renewable resources into reliable, on-demand peaking capacity.

Located just outside Rosamond in Kern County, California, Willow Rock will have the ability to deliver 500 MW of clean power for up to 8 hours. The facility will charge using surplus renewable energy and discharge to the grid at times of higher demand, reducing the need for new peak-demand generating facilities and deferring the need for costly, difficult-to-permit transmission lines. The facility will be capable of emission-free charge and discharge and operate on a footprint of fewer than 100 acres, significantly smaller than a comparable facility operating on pumped hydro power (PHP), which represents 90%+ of all LDES capacity today.

A-CAES will accelerate the pathway to decarbonize energy systems globally, enabling energy storage for extended periods using compressed air, underground caverns, and water, with no performance degradation over a 50+ year lifetime. The execution of this PPA demonstrates the strength of Hydrostor’s solution and the importance of alternatives to PHP and chemical batteries for long-duration energy storage.

“Storage is the most critical piece in the transition to renewable energy,” said 3CE Chief Operating Officer, Robert Shaw. “We continue to support and press for new technologies to eliminate dependence on fossil fuels in our communities. In doing so, we are also helping to clean California’s grid and developing a pathway for other areas to follow.”

Importantly, A-CAES employs proven components from the hydrocarbon sector to build energy storage systems that are highly scalable and flexibly sited. As a result, A-CAES also delineates a clear pathway for skillsets and expertise from the fossil fuel industry to play a central role in the global energy transition. Willow Rock will provide up to 40 full-time operating positions and US$500 million in regional direct and indirect impacts to the local economy.

“We look forward to serving the 440,000+ 3CE customers in California and demonstrating that long-term, reliable access to large-scale renewable energy can be achieved with A-CAES,” said Hydrostor Chief Commercial Officer, Jordan Cole. “This is a truly groundbreaking step towards accomplishing net-zero targets on time – one that illustrates the commercial maturity of our A-CAES solution and the leadership of 3CE to responsibly accomplish net-zero by 2030.”

Curtis VanWalleghem, Hydrostor’s CEO, added, “We remain steadfast in our commitment to key stakeholders in the energy transition, and we commend 3CE on their world-leading efforts. It is in Hydrostor’s DNA to be a scaled enabler of global decarbonization, and Willow Rock embodies the size of infrastructure that is required to achieve ambitious net-zero targets in California and internationally.”

This milestone marks the first of several towards allocating the full 500 MW capacity of Willow Rock, and offtake discussions are ongoing with several parties for the balance of total output.

About Hydrostor Inc.
Hydrostor is a leading large-scale, long duration energy storage solution provider supporting the energy transition to sustainable, low-impact, cost-effective, and reliable electricity systems. Hydrostor is advancing a significant pipeline of projects internationally using its patented Advanced Compressed Air Energy Storage (A-CAES) technology. A-CAES (pronounced “case”) integrates compressed air, underground caverns, and water with proven components from traditional mining and gas operations to build scalable and flexibly sited energy storage systems. A-CAES experiences zero efficiency degradation over a 50+ year lifetime and is optimized for system sizes of 100 MWs and above with 5 hours up to multi-day storage duration. Hydrostor is backed by Goldman Sachs Asset Management, Canadian Pension Plan, Business Development Bank of Canada, Canoe Financial, Lorem Partners and ArcTern Ventures.

Company Contact
Will Bartlett