GE and Southern California Edison (SCE) have announced plans for what they are calling the “the world’s first battery storage and gas turbine hybrid”. The hybrid consists of a 10 MW battery energy storage system provided by Current (a subsidiary established last year bringing together GE’s LED, solar, energy storage and electric vehicle activities, and which GE brands “Current, powered by GE”) integrated with an upgraded GE LM6000 gas turbine fitted with modified controls.

Called the LM6000 Hybrid EGT, the concept is scheduled to be implemented at two SCE sites in the coming months. It was developed in response to changing regulations and grid requirements in the wake of California’s Aliso Canyon energy crisis earlier this year, says GE, and will ultimately support increasing renewable energy capacity on the California grid.

The hybrids, which will qualify for the California Independent System Operator’s tariff for contingency reserve, answer a critical need for Southern California, GE believes, where regulations relating to natural gas usage and storage are changing in the wake of the Aliso Canyon natural gas storage facility leak, which prompted the energy crisis.

GE’s Power Services and Current businesses worked to develop the hybrid as a competitive offer in collaboration with Wellhead Power Solutions, LLC.

The idea is to allow the turbine to operate in standby mode without using fuel while at the same time enabling immediate response to changing energy dispatch needs. By eliminating the need to constantly run the turbines at minimum loads to maintain spinning reserves, the LM6000 Hybrid EGT will save fuel, reduce maintenance costs and cut down on greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

GE says the LM6000 Hybrid EGT offers ancillary and grid support at a lower cost than traditional resources, and in addition “it can provide: 50 MW of GHG-free spinning reserve, flexible capacity, and peaking energy; 25 MW of high-quality regulation; and 10 MVA of reactive voltage support and primary frequency response when not online.”

The battery energy storage system is expected to be installed and operational by the end of 2016, and the updated and integrated turbine controls are scheduled to be operational in early 2017.