Tesla has unloaded Megapacks to a “Windcharger” in Canada, which will store massive amounts of energy from a large wind farm in the province of Alberta.
TransAlta owns the Windcharger project through its “wholly-owned subsidiary,” the Western Sustainable Power Corporation. According to TransAlta’s website, the company has been looking for an appropriate battery storage solution at its various wind farms throughout Canada for several years. Tesla’s energy storage business surely fits the bill.
The Summerview Wind Farm location was chosen to utilize Tesla Megapacks because of its “many desirable features, which are conducive to siting a battery storage facility of this nature,” TransAlta stated. It will be the first lithium-ion, utility-scale battery storage project in Alberta.
The Tesla Megapacks will have a nameplate capacity of 10 MW, with a total storage capacity of 20 MWh. Each Megapack has up to 3MWh of storage capacity.
The Alberta, Canada area has been pushing for sustainable energy use for several years, according to the province’s official website. Energy use has increased at a steady rate, along with population, and Alberta Electric System Operator (AESO) has implemented a series of competitive bidding processes to encourage renewable energy projects.
Alberta held three total rounds of bidding for various sustainable energy projects around the province, all of which would help local energy suppliers utilize geothermal, hydro, solar, sustainable biomass, or wind energy.
One of the projects from the third round of bidding was the TransAlta “Windcharger” project, which is also known as “Windrise.” The project was announced on December 17, 2018, and approved in November 2019. It is the second-largest sustainable energy project in Alberta at 207 MW. The only renewable energy project that holds more energy storage capability is a 248-MW wind farm owned by EDP Renewables Canada Ltd.
The project is valued at $22.7M and received funding from Emissions Reduction Alberta (ERA), who supplied the TransAlta windfarm with over $11.1M in financial assistance. “Wind and solar power is intermittent — turbines and solar panels only produce power when the wind is blowing, and the sun is shining,” ERA stated. “That poses challenges as renewable energy grows because the North American power grid was designed to draw power from large reliable sources that provide a consistent level of baseload power, like large hydro facilities and coal-fired generating stations. That’s why ERA is supporting renewable storage projects, like this initiative by TransAlta, that will test the world’s most advanced lithium-ion batteries made by Elon Musk’s Tesla Energy.”
One of the most significant advantages of Tesla’s Megapack is that it requires significantly less space and fewer parts than other energy storage systems on the market. Tesla stated, “At the site level, Megapack requires 40% less space and 10x fewer parts than current systems on the market. As a result, this high-density, modular system can be installed 10x faster than current systems.”
This allows for quick and easy installation and could mean more companies will opt for Megapacks as they will decrease the time needed to ramp a project. The Megapack systems are becoming more popular across the world.
The 207-MW project owned by TransAlta will give enough energy to power around 80,000 homes, according to Alberta.ca. The project is planned to be operational by Summer 2021.