Source: Sandia National Laboratories. Department of Energy, Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability (OE) – Energy Storage Program. Analysis by Beacon Economics
  • Until the year 2021, numerous counties in California had played pivotal roles in spearheading the advancement of energy storage projects. Notably, the San Diego Flow Battery Project marked a significant milestone—a preliminary analysis conducted in December 2022 revealed that the battery system achieved a 99 percent operating rate in the final year of the project. Sumitomo,156 a company that works on the San Diego Flow Battery Project, believes that the battery system has the potential to retain a capacity rate of 90 percent or more for 20 years in the electricity market.157 Additionally, regions such as Butte, Fresno, and San Diego have taken strides by implementing pumped hydro storage systems, contributing to the diversification of energy storage solutions. Expanding the landscape further, Santa Clara, Solano, and Los Angeles embarked on initiatives involving sodium-based batteries, pushing the boundaries of innovation in this domain.
  • Notably, the prevalence of lithium-ion battery projects across the state expanded considerably in 2021, with 11 counties in California hosting these installations within their respective territories. This underscores the extensive reach and impact of energy storage endeavors, signifying a widespread commitment to harnessing the potential of emerging technologies for a more sustainable and resilient energy landscape. In fact, the Salton Sea region in the Imperial County has one of the world’s largest known reserves of lithium, enough to power batteries for more than 50 million electric vehicles within a few years. Nevertheless, there are technical and environmental concerns regarding the innovative process of extracting lithium from geothermal brine. However, the extraction process that companies are attempting to develop in the Salton Sea area is less environmentally damaging than the current process of mining. In close proximity, the state of Nevada boasts substantial lithium prospects as well, the local Paiute-Shoshone Tribe has expressed opposition to the extraction venture, citing concerns over potential environmental repercussions.

156 Sumitomo Electric, a unit of Japanese conglomerate Sumitomo Corp. Sumitomo has already deployed 37 redox flow battery systems across multiple countries, with a total capacity of 47 MW/162 MWh.

157 PV magazine. Sumitomo reveals testing results of redox flow battery project in California. Released July 11, 2023. Assessed Aug 22, 2023. Available at: