Tesla, PG&E break ground on massive Megapack battery storage system in California

Tesla Energy and Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) have begun construction on a joint battery energy storage system (BESS) at Moss Landing in Monterey County, California. Once complete, the system’s 235 Tesla Megapack battery units will provide 730 megawatt hours (MWh) of solar and wind-generated energy to assist with periods of high consumer demand. Groundbreaking took place on July 21, 2020, and the project is expected to be operational by the second quarter of 2021.

The Moss Landing Megapack system represents another landmark step towards Tesla’s clean energy mission. As one of the largest lithium-ion battery energy storage systems in the world, the Monterey County BESS is set to both improve the reliability of the consumer electric grid and reduce reliance on fossil fuels for energy production. As an added benefit, it’s estimated to save PG&E about $100 million dollars over the twenty-year lifespan of the station.

“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,” explained Fong Wan, senior vice president of Energy Policy and Procurement at PG&E. “It can serve as an alternative to more expensive, traditional wires solutions, resulting in lower overall costs for our customers.”

Tesla Megapack. (Credit: Tesla)

On the consumer level, the combined Tesla Megapacks will be able to serve about 750 households per megawatt stored for about four hours at a time at a rate of 182.5 MW. Tesla and PG&E also have an expansion option in their agreement to bring the system up to 1.1 GWh. As described on Tesla’s official Megapack webpage, this size system is “enough to power every home in San Francisco for 6 hours.”

The California BESS is not Tesla’s only battery project in play. A facility in Southern Australia currently provides 129 MWh with 640 Powerpacks (the older sibling of the Megapack), and a 20 MWh project in Alberta, Canada charged by wind power was announced in June this year. Additionally, work has started on a new 800 MWh project between Tesla Energy and firms Switch and Capital Dynamics in Nevada.

The Monterey Bay Tesla Megapack System was first approved by the California Public Utilities Commission in 2018, and the Monterey County Planning commission provided unanimous approval in February 2020. The full set of batteries will span 4.5 acres within PG&E’s facility on 33 concrete slabs. Its official name is Elkhorn Battery Energy Storage Facility.

Tesla, PG&E break ground on massive Megapack battery storage system in California
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