Tesla begins building the world’s largest energy storage facility

Tesla and PG&E have recently broken ground on a record-setting energy storage system in Moss Landing (Monterey) California which, once completed, will become the largest such facility in the world. The battery park will be able to dispatch up to 730 megawatt hours (MWh) of energy to the electrical grid for up to four hours at a maximum rate of 182.5 MW using 256 of Tesla’s lithium-ion (Li-ion) megapacks. Tesla and PG&E will have the option of upgrading the capacity of Moss Landing up to 1.2-gigawatt-hours which, according to Tesla, will power every San Francisco home for six hours.

The facility is expected to come online in 2021 and will be designed, built and maintained by both companies with ownership retained by PG&E. Building the Moss Landing site and other such mega-storage projects around the world is carrying out a massive shift away from hydrocarbon-based power systems to renewable generation backed by utility-scale storage. Senior VP at PG&E, Fong Wan says:

“Battery energy storage plays an integral role in enhancing overall electric grid efficiency and reliability, integrating renewable resources while reducing reliance on fossil fuel generation. It can serve as an alternative to more expensive, traditional wires solutions, resulting in lower overall costs for our customers…the scale, purpose and flexibility of the Moss Landing Megapack system make it a landmark in the development and deployment of utility-scale batteries”

When the Moss Landing site is upgraded to the expected 1.2 GW capacity, the storage capacity will be around ten times larger than the Hornsdale Power Station in Australia, the previous record holder and another Tesla plant. The world’s next largest Li-ion storage facility is the 50 MW power station in Stocking Pelham, UK.

Existing utility-scale Lithium-Ion energy storage projects around the world. 

Building the Moss Landing battery farm provides enhanced versatility for grid demand fluctuations and load balancing from renewables for variable generation. PG&E estimates that the Tesla Megapack network would save customers more than $100 million over the 20-year life cycle of the project as compared to the expected local capacity demands and the required construction costs in the absence of the plant.

Tesla’s Megapack utility size battery is at the heart of the current PG&E device. The unit has a capacity of 3MWh and has the modular ability to ‘stack’ up to 1GWh. The battery needs 40 percent less room and 10x fewer parts on the market compared to current systems. This high density, modular battery can be installed 10x faster than current systems. Tesla hopes for its Megapacks to one day replace obsolete ‘peaker plants’ on the grid, which snap on at high cost to utilities and customers during times of high demand.

The modular Tesla Megapack — each of which boasts a 3MWh capacity.

Increasing utility investment in renewable energy production and battery storage technology foreshadows a tough road ahead for gas and coal firms, and how nuclear power can perform remains an open question. Oil and gas giant BP just this week reported a quarterly loss of $16.8 billion, cutting its dividend in half. In response, the company unveiled a new ‘Green Shift’ which, over the next decade, will see its oil and gas output decline by 40 percent and its renewable investments rise by 10 times over the same period. BP and PG&E likes are responding to the increasing societal and market pressures of climate change — including lowering storage and renewable generation costs. A massive evolution in the power industry is underway before our eyes.

Reported by Forbes.

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