100-MW Ventura Energy Storage facility replaces need for new natural gas powered generation in Southern California

Strata Solar yesterday announced its landmark battery project, Ventura Energy Storage (VES), a 100-megawatt, 400-megawatt hour battery energy storage system in unincorporated Ventura County, California, has completed pre-construction development. The Project, developed by Strata, has awarded an Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) contract to Tesla for the state-of-the-art Megapack battery system. Construction, using local union labor, is scheduled to commence in July 2020.

Strata Solar’s Ventura Energy Storage project was competitively selected by Southern California Edison (SCE), a subsidiary of Edison International (NYSE: EIX), for a 20-year Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) in April 2019 to supply local capacity. The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) unanimously approved the PPA in December 2019. As the largest project selected in the paradigm-shifting solicitation by SCE, the Project is helping Southern California to move away from the Aliso Natural Gas Storage facility and coastal power plants without compromising reliability.

“This precedent setting project is a testament to Strata Solar’s twelve years of success in the energy industry and our commitment to battery storage development as a core business line,” said Strata’s founder and CEO Markus Wilhelm. “We focus on smart development, value for our customers and strong returns for our investors with a team that has the experience to deliver market-leading results.”

Following a breakneck development effort, the Project recently completed entitlements and finalized all necessary commercial agreements. Equity interest in the Project is scheduled to close in the second quarter. The substantial investment in Ventura’s energy infrastructure would not be possible without the numerous local stakeholders and supporters committed to the Project’s success.

“Ventura County has been an incredible partner on this Project,” said Josh Rogol, SVP of Development at Strata Solar. “We’d like to thank the County leadership, Planning Department staff and all the other agencies, including the City of Oxnard, for the support and efficient review of the Project. Your leadership is leading the way to a clean energy future.”

Ventura Energy Storage will provide extensive benefits to the County and region including reliable on-demand power with no emissions to approximately 80,000 homes and businesses. In addition, more than $3 million in new sales and use tax and more than $9 million in new property taxes will be generated by the Project. To ensure local job growth, a Project Labor Agreement has been signed with the Tri-Counties Building and Construction Trades Council.

“I’m excited to see this project moving forward,” said Mike Powers, Ventura County CEO. “Given the disruptions taking place during this time, Planning Department staff has done a great job, approving the project during the County’s first virtual Planning Administrative Hearing.  The Project will help to ensure local energy reliability, and in the event of a Public Safety Power Shutoff the facility will convey stored energy to the grid, providing power to our local homes and businesses. This will help keep the lights on when some need it most. We appreciate these types of projects especially as we adopt strategies to stimulate our local economy following the economic impacts of COVID-19.”

“Strata Solar’s Ventura Energy Storage project is a boon for Ventura County,” said District 5 Supervisor John Zaragoza. “Affirming the County’s commitment to clean air and renewable energy, this private investment improves electric reliability while creating new green economy jobs.  The Strata Solar team worked closely with my office to support the El Rio/Del Norte Municipal communities to ensure this project was a success for everyone.”

“The relationship between the Ventura Energy Storage project and the Tri-Counties Building and Construction Trades Council will provide good paying jobs to local union construction workers,” said Council Executive Secretary-Treasurer Tony Skinner. “The Project Labor Agreement ensures VES will be built by the best trained and safest workforce in the construction industry while also investing in the next generation of men and women through our apprenticeship programs.”

Developed on a brownfield site in a private industrial park, the Ventura Energy Storage project is sited away from residences and in close proximity to a critical transmission line, which provides backbone power for much of western Ventura County. The Project also co-invested in modernizing the local water system to support area fire prevention and additional business growth.

“Ventura Energy Storage is exactly the type of modern and clean energy infrastructure investment our community needs,” said Oxnard Mayor Tim Flynn. “Our citizens want more renewable energy and companies like Strata Solar help make it happen. Together, the City of Oxnard and Ventura Energy Storage are the leaders in the transition to technologies that enable clean energy.”

“On behalf of the people of Oxnard, congratulations to Strata Solar for investing in our community with the Ventura Energy Storage clean energy facility, partially replacing the obsolete technology of once-through-cooling plants that Oxnard’s coast has hosted for decades,” said Oxnard Mayor Pro-Tem Carmen Ramirez. “We are very grateful for Strata’s demonstrated corporate responsibility, supporting good jobs and community benefits.  This is the future of energy, now here in our county.”

The electrical grid in Ventura County is stressed by diverse terrain, extreme weather and the planned retirement of old and inefficient natural gas fueled power plants along the coast. By developing new and versatile energy resources like Ventura Energy Storage, the reliability of the electric system is enhanced without increasing emissions.

“Ventura County is particularly vulnerable to energy supply shortfalls,” said Louise Lampara, Executive Director of CoLab Ventura County. Strata Solar’s Ventura Energy Storage Project will provide critical on-demand electricity for over 80,000 local households and businesses. Our residents and businesses need reliable energy to support our economy and quality of life – and Ventura Energy Storage is an essential part of the solution.”

“Strata Solar is an industry leader that is boosting the Ventura County economy while providing the infrastructure California needs to increase capacity of alternative forms of energy,” said Michele Newell, Chair of Ventura County Economic Development Association. The project will provide immediate construction jobs, new property tax revenue and a variety of external economic benefits. All in all, this project represents a win-win for Ventura County.”

About Strata Solar
Since 2009, Strata Solar, Durham, North Carolina, has constructed more than 1.8 GWs of solar and battery storage across more than 170 projects representing approximately $2.5 billion in capital raised. Today, Strata owns more than 800 MWs of assets and Strata’s O&M team manages more than 3 GWs of solar projects. Strata has been actively developing energy-storage projects since 2016, having established a dedicated team of experienced storage veterans with real-world market experience. To date, Strata has been awarded battery storage contracts totaling nearly 940 MWh for front-of-meter systems.

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