For the past few months, Tesla and CEO Elon Musk have been teasing a giant battery project that would dwarf even the company’s 129 MWh Powerpack project in Australia.
Today, we learn that Tesla is working with PG&E on a massive battery system with a capacity of “up to 1.1 GWh” in California.
Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E), one of the largest electric energy companies in the United States covering nearly 16 million people in Northern and Central California, submitted 4 new energy storage projects to the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) for approval today.
Three are third-party owned projects to be connected to PG&E’s grid, but the fourth one is “a proposed utility-owned 182.5 MW lithium-ion battery energy storage system (BESS) located within PG&E’s Moss Landing substation.”
Tesla would be providing the battery packs for the giant project, which would be able to output 182.5 MW of power for 4 hours, which represents 730 MWh of energy capacity or over 3,000 Tesla Powerpack 2s.
PG&E also has the option to increase the capacity to 6 hours for a total of 1.1 GWh.
Earlier this month, Tesla CTO JB Straubel announced that the company has deployed over 1 GWh of energy storage – a capacity that he says is “undeniably making an impact.”
If this new project is approved and deployed to its full potential, it would represent more energy capacity in a single project than what Tesla Energy deployed since its inception 3 years ago.
PG&E says that the battery system would be used to “address local capacity requirements and will participate in the California Independent System Operator (CAISO) markets, providing energy and ancillary services,” which is similar to what Tesla’s battery system in Australia is doing.
We recently reported that the Australian battery project reduced by 90% the cost of the grid services that used to be performed by fossil fuel power plants.
This new project would be Tesla’s third Powerpack project with PG&E.
Musk did hint at the new project during Tesla’s last conference call:
“The utilities that we’ve worked with thus far have really loved the battery pack and I feel confident that we’ll be able to announce a deal at the gigawatt-hour scale within a matter of months. So, it’s 1,000-megawatt-hours…”
At a capacity of up to 1.1 GWh, this new project in Moss Landing fits the description.
The electric utility says that if approved by the CPUC, the first projects is scheduled to “come on-line by the end of 2019, with the other projects scheduled to come online by the end of 2020.”
As we discussed in the Electrek’s Take when Tesla started teasing a project of this size, you have to give credit to Elon Musk’s vision for Tesla Energy because it is playing out almost exactly like he announced it would back in 2015.
When Musk first announced ‘Tesla Energy’ and unveiled the Powerwall and Powerpack in 2015, he said that those energy solutions are modular and could technically be deployed in gigawatt-hour scale projects in the future, but I don’t think people thought that future would be just 3 years away.
Lithium-ion energy storage projects have already come a long way during those 3 years, but I think a project of this size would still shock many people even though I wouldn’t be surprised if hundreds of similar projects are deployed over the next few years.
It will undoubtedly require a significant increase in production capacity at Gigafactory 1.