The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) is planning to improve the reliability of its electric grid and renewable energy portfolio with the construction of a battery-based energy storage facility.

The utility has signed an agreement with Chinese firm BYD Corp. to develop a grid-scale storage facility at a wind power plant in California’s Tehachapi Mountains. The facility would be the first of its kind for LADWP, which is the largest municipal water and power utility in the US.

The partnership between LADWP and BYD aims to test, develop and ultimately demonstrate the feasibility of large-scale energy storage options for electric utilities across the USA. The storage unit will have a capacity of between 5 and 10 MW and will improve LADWP’s power reliability and balance the integration of renewable wind and solar energy into the LADWP’s large generation portfolio.

“This technology will allow LA’s solar and wind power to have a firm capacity and make them ‘relevant’ to the grid allowing the City to reduce their dependence on other fossil-based sources of power generation,” said Stella Li, Senior Vice President of BYD.

In August, California’s legislature passed a law mandating the use of energy storage technologies by electric utilities. Publicly-owned utilities will be required to comply by 2016.