A new video from Tesla gives us a glimpse into the utility grid of the future. The video describes how Tesla’s new Powerpack installation at the Southern California Edison (SCE) Mira Loma substation will reduce the Los Angeles Basin’s reliance on natural gas peaker plants.
With the largest operating lithium battery project in existence, the Powerpack will support grid operation during peak hours and improve the integration of renewable energy resources. SCE has been embracing energy-storage technology over the natural gas-fired peaker plants that utilities have traditionally relied upon to meet sudden shortfalls in electricity. The Powerpack facility is also smaller, more flexible, and easier to expand than peaking power plants. Gas-fired peakers also sometimes face significant community and regulatory resistance in California.
“Batteries can also meet peak demands with lower emissions than natural gas-fired peakers by charging during low-demand periods when excess wind and solar energy is being generated, and discharging during peak demand periods, which displaces the need to burn incremental natural gas in a peaker,” said Colin Cushnie, SCE vice president of energy procurement and management, in 2015.
The video describes the end game after regulators asked California’s three biggest utilities to line up 1.3 gigawatts of storage capacity by 2020 and set a target of 580 megawatts for Southern California Edison.
“This project is exactly in line with our mission to accelerate sustainable technology and sustainable energy broadly for the world,” Tesla Chief Technology Officer, JB Straubel, said.
The Powerpack reduces human-created greenhouse gases emissions, also known as anthropogenic climate change. Installed in 94 days on the SCE site, the 396 Tesla Powerpack delivers 20 MW/ 80 MWH storage. This provides enough energy to power 2,500 homes all day, or 15,000 Southern California homes for four hours.
The amount of storage the Powerpacks at Mira Loma provide is historic, especially when considering its relatively small footprint.
SCE awarded Tesla the contract for the Mira Loma project last fall. The video ends by celebrating how “the Powerpack ensures safe, clean, and reliable energy for 15 million people in Southern California.”