PG&E, Tesla start building world’s biggest battery

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From pv magazine USA

U.S. utility Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) and Tesla have started construction on a battery storage project in Monterey County, California, that could end up being one of the biggest in the world.

The 182.5 MW/730 MWh storage system will feature 256 Tesla Megapack battery units on 33 concrete slabs at PG&E’s electric substation in Moss Landing. The project is scheduled for completion early next year, with full commercial operation planned in the second quarter.

The project marks just the first step in PG&E’s huge battery storage project pipeline. In fact, the Tesla battery bank may not even be the biggest at the Moss Landing substation as PG&E has already signed a contract for a 300 MW storage system at the same site, with 1.2 GWh of planned capacity. While that second system is set to be significantly larger than the one under construction, PG&E’s deal with Tesla includes an option to upsize to 1.1 GWh.

Utility plans

PG&E also has third-party contracts for a 75 MW transmission-connected project near Morgan Hill, in California, as well as a 2 MW project at the Gonzales substation in the Salinas Valley. In addition, the utility owns a 20 MW battery system at the Llagas substation in Gilroy, also in California.

As familiar as the power company is with large scale battery energy storage projects, Tesla may be even more so. The world’s largest operating battery storage system, the Hornsdale Power Reserve in South Australia, features batteries made by the electric carmaker and is colloquially known as the Tesla Big Battery. That project initially had a capacity of 100 MW/129 MWh, but has been expanded and is now rated at 150 MW/193.5 MWh. If the Moss Landing battery project is completed on time, the two largest lithium-ion storage projects on the planet will use Tesla batteries – and it’s not like the competition is particularly close, either.

As much disparity as there is on the list of biggest systems above, it’s set to look entirely different in just a short time. In addition to the Moss Landing project, there are multiple 100 MW storage facilities being developed across the United States. There is also a project that will blow even the second Moss Landing installation out of the water – the massive, 409 MW Florida Power and Light Manatee project.

By Tim Sylvia

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