Tesla is building the world’s largest energy storage system

Electric car and energy storage company Tesla has won the contract to design and build the largest lithium-ion battery in the world, as part of an energy storage upgrade for the US city of Los Angeles.

The 20MW/80MWh system will be a utility-scale storage solution for a substation owned by utility company Southern California Edison Co, in an effort to improve the reliability of southern Californian energy infrastructure following a natural gas leak earlier this year.

The giant battery is being developed under Tesla’s utility and business energy storage brand ‘Powerpack’, at the firm’s Gigafactory. It is estimated that the system, which will begin storing energy by the end of the year, will hold enough energy to power more than 2,500 households for one day or to charge around 1000 Tesla vehicles.

“In order to achieve a sustainable energy future – one which has high penetration of solar and electric vehicles – the world needs a two-way, flexible electric grid,” reads a blog post on the new Powerpack system on the Tesla website.

“The electric power industry is the last great industry which has not seen the revolutionary effects of storage. Working in close collaboration with Southern California Edison, the Tesla Powerpack system will be a landmark project that truly heralds the new age of storage on the electric grid.”

100% green

A mandate for accelerated procurement of energy storage was issued by the Californian Public Utilities Commission after a “catastrophic rupture” at the Aliso canyon natural gas reservoir in California last October. The fault resulted in 1.6 million pounds of methane gas being released into the atmosphere, displacing 8,000 Californians.

Tesla’s storage solution will effectively reduce the reliance on electricity generated by natural gas and help advance the development of a resilient modern power grid, the firm says.

The choice to incorporate a renewable battery solution at the substation comes a day after Los Angeles announced bold plans to transition away from fossil fuel use as part of a 100% green energy pledge. The Department of Water and Power in Los Angeles have been called upon to construct a team of experts to research how the city could increase its one-fifth renewable energy sources to 100%.

At a domestic level, Tesla recenty launched Powerwall – a household battery storage device to provide backup home energy and an electric vehicle charging solution. The Powerwall was released in the UK earlier this year.

Alex Baldwin

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