Canadian company proposes energy storage plant in SLO County

Hydrostor’s proposed Pecho Energy Storage Center

By JOSH FRIEDMAN

A Canadian energy company is seeking to build a power storage facility along Highway 1 between Morro Bay and San Luis Obispo.

On Tuesday, Hydrostor submitted an application with the California Energy Commission (CEC) to develop a 400-megawatt energy storage facility by Highway 1 and Canet Road. The proposed Pecho Energy Storage Center would provide large-scale, long-duration energy storage for the region with no fossil fuel consumption and no greenhouse gas emissions, Hydrostor says. The storage facility would interconnect at the existing PG&E Morro Bay Switching Station. 

Pecho could deliver 400 megawatts of stored energy every hour for eights hours. If constructed, it would be one of California’s largest new energy storage facilities.

Hydrostor anticipates the facility could open as soon as 2026. Pecho is expected to have a capital investment of about $800 million.

The project would create between 200 to 450 labor jobs during a four-year construction period. Once operational, the energy storage plant would create 30 to 40 full-time equivalent jobs, Hydrostor says. 

“Pecho will play a vital role in helping meet the region’s future energy supply and reliability needs after the retirement of the 2,200 MW Diablo Canyon Power Plant in 2024/2025,” the energy company stated in a news release. “Pecho’s ability to deliver 400 megawatts of carbon-free electricity for eight hours will be comparable in size and resiliency to some of California’s largest fossil-fuel power plants.”

In June 2021, the California Public Utilities Commission decided to direct the procurement of 1,000 megawatts of long-duration energy storage that would become operational between 2026 and 2028. Hydrostor previously announced a 500-megawatt energy storage center project in Kern County. 

Tuesday’s filing will trigger an environmental review process. SLO County, along with other local, as well as state and federal agencies, will be involved in the CEC-led review, Hydrostor says. 

In a statement, Hydrostor CEO Curtis VanWalleghem said his company’s facilities are designed to operate safely and efficiently with no degradation for 50 years.

“Deployment of Hydrostor’s unique combination of being a proven, cost-effective and carbon-free long duration storage solution will greatly enhance California’s program to fully transition to a reliable and carbon-free energy future,” VanWalleghem said . “We look forward to working closely with the citizens of San Luis Obispo County to earn their trust and support on our way to becoming a valued member of the community.”

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