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Tesla Just Showed Us the Future of Energy

by | published July 13th, 2017

Back when Tesla Inc. (TSLA) unveiled a test of its new “Powerpacks” – batteries to power homes and businesses – it was clear that the company’s future wasn’t in building cars…

But in providing for a broad spectrum of power sources.

Now, most people still regard lithium-ion batteries as something just to do with cellphones or electric cars.

But now, a major announcement by Tesla indicates the shift to serving large-scale power needs is happening sooner than expected.

This could be an absolute game changer in energy storage…

And could revolutionize energy worldwide.

In Less Than 100 Days, Tesla Will Open the Largest Ever Battery Project

In less than 100 days, the mother of all lithium-ion batteries will be operating in South Australia… charged by renewable energy.

The 129 megawatt hour (MWh) project comprises the world’s largest lithium-ion energy storage system ever – more than 60% larger than an 80 MWh facility at Mira Loma in Ontario, California.

The project combines a huge system designed by Tesla with a nearby 99 turbine wind farm operated by French renewable energy company Neoen. And the prospect may be the most important advance in electricity production in decades.

To add some spice to the announcement, Tesla founder and head Elon Musk pledged that he would provide the project for free if the 100-day commitment could not be met.

That means the massive series of battery packs and inverters – the battery actually encompasses two subsystems each having 198 Tesla “Powerpacks” and 24 inverters – is supposed to be online by the beginning of December.

And the location in South Australia is no accident…

Tesla’s Batteries Will Help Prevent Blackouts

South Australia has been plagued by increasing blackouts. Last year the problem accelerated with residences in some areas left without power for weeks.

The Tesla battery will not completely solve the problem (it’s designed to provide electricity for about 30,000 homes). But an initial success will allow for a rapid expansion of applications.

Now, neither Tesla nor the South Australian state government will directly comment on what the system costs.

However, anecdotal industry information puts it at between $A200 to $A400 million ($155 to $310 million). For his part, Musk has estimated the cost to be “around” $42 million, while Tesla’s battery division head Lyndon Rive had initially out the price tag at about $51 million.

Any of these makes the battery project doable, especially when there are government players interested and worsening power distribution problems.

Without providing any details, South Australia’s Premier Jay Weatherill added on Saturday (July 8) that the entire project would fall “well within” the amount budgeted for renewable energy.

Each Powerpack charges using the renewable energy provided by Neoen and then distributes electricity during the peak demand period. This allows a better operation of the South Australian grid.

What is even more important from the state’s perspective is the ability of the system to inject emergency backup power in the event of a blackout or rolling brownout.

The Mira Loma facility in California has already provided a proof of concept that this works…

This is the “Holy Grail” of Energy Storage

Using Tesla Powerpacks and operated by Southern California Edison, it has been operating flawlessly since being put on line last December. That one is charged by both solar and wind power.

The 80 MWh station is intended to save power generated from renewable sources as well as providing backup against blackouts.

The next two stages in this fascinating development are just as exciting.

First, expanding usage of these huge batteries does not require a physical expansion of existing infrastructure. It is more efficient to place stand-alone stations or substations near power sources and communities being serviced.

While there is a clear advantage to having the leverage of placing additional electricity onto the grid as needed, the requirement does not mean that the traditional economy-of-scale approach is used.

Serializing stations in a spread out network with access to the grid, rather than serializing the equipment in a single location, improves performance.

Second is the “Holy Grail” in all of this. Five or six years ago I began addressing another matter upon which this Tesla project now focuses…

Tesla is Making a Technological Leap Forward

I’m talking about what we in the business call “inversion.”

The inverters contained within the lithium-ion battery array address the single most negative aspect of generating electricity, from wind or solar, for transport.

Wind and solar harvest energy in direct current (DC), but electricity is transported over power lines using alternating current (AC). The switch from one to the other is called “inversion,” and it can waste a third or more of the electricity produced.

Tesla is now working on reducing that amount by integrating their inverters with the rest of the system. Retaining just a fraction of the electricity that would otherwise be lost through inversion will have a major impact on the bottom line.

In fact, solar and wind already have grid parity, i.e., they generate power at the same cost as more traditional sources, in many places globally (including South Australia).

And now, the combination of lithium-ion batteries with improved inversion technology will make them even more cost-effective – and be an absolute game changer.

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  1. bratfalean
    July 14th, 2017 at 03:06 | #1

    Cost for battery will be effective cheap around year 2025!

  2. July 14th, 2017 at 05:52 | #2

    How could I obtain a Lithium-ion power pack for my stand alone solar power system I am now using to power my home , and what is it going to cost me?

  3. Jack McGrath
    July 15th, 2017 at 15:37 | #3

    What is the source of all that Lithium?

  4. Bruce A Fouraker
    July 22nd, 2017 at 01:17 | #4

    MWayne, Visit your local TESLA showroom (car dealership) and they should answer your questions. Jacksonville has two, so there should be at least one in greater St. Louis. The cost through Amazon for a 14KWh unit is $5,500.00. Plus you pay an electrician about $2,000.00 to install it. The typical house uses 1250 KWh per month. For two days worth of total backup an average homeowner would need about 80 KWh or 6 units.

  5. John
    July 22nd, 2017 at 16:50 | #5

    How are lithium batteries disposed of.

  6. July 29th, 2017 at 17:52 | #6

    Do the windmills generate direct current?? I am ignorant about all of the power problems. I believe that will be difficult to convert direct power to all appliances in a home without a loss of AC current.

  7. Avelino juarez
    August 13th, 2017 at 23:05 | #7

    For the average working person is it economic doable today

  8. Phillip Fontenot
    August 18th, 2017 at 23:37 | #8

    I am highly interested in investing in this new energy source.How do I get more information about this energy in the making.PLEASE reply back to me ASAP. “Thanks” (pf)

  9. Andrew Vranich
    August 25th, 2017 at 13:23 | #9

    If climate change is due to mans activity then certainly here is a potential solution to total ice pack melt.l

  10. August 27th, 2017 at 12:34 | #10

    The new Tesla that everyone is pumped up about has a ugly dashboard. Like the 1980s

  11. Joyce R Harker
    August 29th, 2017 at 10:51 | #11

    I would like to Invest!

  12. Joy
    August 29th, 2017 at 10:52 | #12

    Let me know how I invest!

  13. Fay Reed
    September 2nd, 2017 at 10:02 | #13

    Why can’t a car produce electricity by using the fan in front to recharge the batteries as you drive? To me if a windmill can produce electricity why not the car fan?

  14. September 2nd, 2017 at 16:45 | #14

    Send info on investing please

  15. Richard Sieben
    September 4th, 2017 at 15:18 | #15

    Please send me information on this arrival of a new energy source. I ‘m interested and would like to read more on this subject matter. Regards RFS

  16. J Cunningham
    September 4th, 2017 at 19:10 | #16

    Has any gone to the Tesla online and ask them directly the info needed to make a sound investment. I understand now that the systems are affordable by almost any one..

  17. Lester Clayton
    September 6th, 2017 at 05:53 | #17

    I am interesting in investing in this new energy source. Please email me the information.

  18. Jarrod Ponichtera
    September 6th, 2017 at 13:50 | #18

    Afganastan is the source of all that lithum. One if the prime reasons we are still over there.

  19. September 6th, 2017 at 20:04 | #19

    I will like to learn more of this wonderful future of energy to make an investment

  20. September 7th, 2017 at 07:49 | #20

    What should the average consumer do?

  21. September 7th, 2017 at 12:05 | #21

    Hello I am interested in a new investment strategy and I like to know more about your program

  22. September 7th, 2017 at 23:57 | #22

    I want to invest in this ASAP.. where is more information about this energy in the making. I want to be a part of this.PLEASE get back to me like yesterday. Carry on. “Thanks

  23. September 8th, 2017 at 00:37 | #23

    I am interested in how I might invest in this form of renewable energy.?

  24. September 8th, 2017 at 11:53 | #24

    Investors? Where do we go to invest?

  25. September 9th, 2017 at 11:34 | #25

    I would like more information about this new energy cause it seems very interested. Thanks

  26. September 9th, 2017 at 11:39 | #26

    Yes This seems very interested so give me some more information on this new energy. I think that it will be the future for the planet

  27. September 9th, 2017 at 21:08 | #27

    Let it happen. Save us from higher prices. Thank you!!!

  28. Tamas Heszler
    September 9th, 2017 at 23:53 | #28

    I aminterested in ivesting in this
    New energy. Please send me sam start information ,Thanks

  29. Ian Gravlin
    September 10th, 2017 at 20:43 | #29

    I am interested in converting our house and rental property. I am also interested in investing in this technology.

  30. September 11th, 2017 at 14:00 | #30

    Require info on new energy companies like tesla and some of their high tech suppliers and their stock symbols.
    Chris

  31. September 11th, 2017 at 14:02 | #31

    Great new stuff

  32. Ralph Sadler
    September 11th, 2017 at 15:38 | #32

    I am interested in investing in this new energy source.

  33. John Giles
    September 12th, 2017 at 07:06 | #33

    Please send me the type of energy source you have been mentioning.

    Thanks,

    John

  34. Chuck Andrews
    September 12th, 2017 at 15:16 | #34

    require much more info

  35. September 13th, 2017 at 20:00 | #35

    i am entrested thank you.

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