Santa Barbara officials cut ribbon at battery energy storage project


California Construction News staff writer

The City of Santa Barbara officials cut a ribbon last week at the Cater Water Treatment Plant. The new battery energy storage system improves the resilience of the city’s water system and will provide substantial savings on energy bills over the lifetime of the system.

A future project will include the installation of solar panels to charge the batteries, further reducing the impacts to the local electrical grid and leading to more savings.

The city worked with Tesla to secure a Self-Generation Incentive Program grant from the State which covered the entire cost of the batteries and was able to install the system and maintain it over a 10-year term, at no cost to the city or water ratepayers.

“These batteries help ensure that we can operate our critical facilities during disasters or power outages,” said Joshua Haggmark, water resources manager. “The project will also save the city hundreds of thousands of dollars over the next 20 years. These batteries are a win-win and align with the city’s goals of increased resilience, bolstering our local grid reliability, helping control the costs of providing water service, and align with the city’s goal for carbon neutrality.”

The project is part of an ongoing effort to increase community resilience and leverage the carbon-free electricity provided by Santa Barbara Clean Energy, the city’s community choice aggregation program.

Other resilience projects are under construction at Fire Station 1, the Eastside Library, Santa Barbara Harbor, and the Granada Garage, with many more on the horizon.

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