Electric vehicle manufacturer Tesla and renewable energy developer Gaelectric have announced a joint test project to evaluate utility-scale storage to facilitate the integration of renewables onto the grid.
The 1MW energy storage project, claimed to be the first utility-scale energy storage project of its type in Ireland, will be connected to the grid in 2016. The partnership will see the two companies develop a pipeline of many battery projects in Ireland to help inform Tesla Energy explore opportunities in residential and commercial energy storage applications.
Tesla has chosen Ireland as its initial European energy storage test bed because of its “renewable energy targets and favourable regulatory framework”. However, the partnership will see the companies investigate other suitable European markets.
Commenting on the company’s partnership with Tesla, Gaelectric head of energy storage, Keith McGrane, said: “The accelerating pace of storage technology development and its application to how we generate, use and store power is truly astounding. Much of these developments are around incorporating greater amounts of renewable power while protecting the stability of our transmission systems and controlling costs. Tesla is the vanguard for the revolution that is currently underway.”
One storage industry source recently also told PV Tech that due to its smaller size Ireland could be an apt place to trial energy storage for the grid as it was "easier to get all the right people in the same room" than its neighbour, the UK, where the source is based.
Tesla’s energy storage devices use the same lithium-ion technology that the manufacturer uses for its range of electric vehicles, which will soon be manufactured at the company’s so-called Gigafactory in America in partnership with Panasonic.
The company claims that its energy storage devices represent a “critical step in the mission to enable zero emission power generation”. Tesla’s utility-scale batteries come in 100kWh blocks, these modular systems can be grouped together to scale from 500kWh to over 10MWh. Tesla foresees these huge batteries being used for peak shaving, load shifting and demand response.
The deal in Ireland is the latest in a flood of Tesla partnership announcements and publicity that has emerged since the launch of the stationary storage range, differing in scope and scales. In additions to sales and supply channels, these include deployments and trials for US utility Southern California Edison and involvement with Australian company Reposit Power's 'Grid Credits' scheme, which allows smaller scale PV system owners to trade their electricity and to exploit the disparity between peak and off-peak priced energy. In a recent report on lithium-ion batteries, EVs, stationary storage and their respective costs, Lux Research claimed that downstream partnerships in a "variety of markets" would be essential for lithium-ion cell producers to succeed.