In the latest development to solidify Tesla’s position as more than just a luxury electric car maker, the California-based company has been chosen to produce a lithium ion battery solution to power the city of Los Angeles during peak energy times. Following the massive methane leak near L.A. last year that caused more environmental damage than the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, authorities demanded a peak time solution that would not carry such enormous health and environmental risks. Tesla will design and build exactly that solution at its new Gigafactory.
Nearly a year ago, one area just outside L.A. turned into a homeowner’s worst nightmare, after the nearby Aliso Canyon natural gas reservoir sprang a leak, sending 1.6 million pounds of methane into the atmosphere and displacing around 8,000 local residents. Methane spewed from the reservoir for months before workers finally declared the leak permanently sealed. In response to what has been called one of “the worst disasters in U.S. history,” the California Public Utilities Commission urged utility companies to come up with sustainable utility-scale energy solutions to supply power during peak times—and they wanted something that could be brought online by Dec. 31, 2016. Because battery power doesn’t require the vast infrastructure that water and gas pipelines do, Tesla became the choice provider. In fact, Tesla “was the only bidder awarded a utility-owned storage project out of the solicitation,” according to the company’s release.
Tesla will apply its experience building batteries for performance electric cars, home energy systems, and commercial installs to building a 20 MW/80 MWh Powerpack system. Like the other batteries Tesla builds, the L.A. Powerpack will be manufactured at the company’s Gigafactory in Nevada, which recently celebrated its grand opening even though the world’s largest building is only around 14 percent complete. The Powerpack system will be ready for install within three months time, according to a Tesla statement, and will be located about 40 miles outside Los Angeles at the Southern California Edison Mira Loma substation.
Once completed, Tesla’s LA Powerpack will be the largest lithium ion battery storage project in the world. Fully charged, the battery backup will hold enough energy to power more than 2,500 households for a day or charge 1,000 Tesla vehicles. The system is designed to charge using electricity from the grid during off-peak hours and then deliver electricity during peak hours to help maintain the reliable operation of Southern California Edison’s electrical infrastructure. More than 15 million residents will benefit from Tesla’s biggest battery ever.
Images via Tesla Motors