Tesla will be installing more Powerpack battery backup systems after being greenlit for the Nantucket project. The island off of Massachusetts needs their diesel generator backups replaced as they’re reaching the end. It joins a list of many Powerpack projects that Tesla has been involved with over the years.
Nantucket, which is home to over 10,000 people, is powered by two submarine cables that pushes electricity from a mainland energy system in Cape Cod. They’ve seen continuing increase in demand for electricity, and it’s projected that a third cable is needed by 2030. Should either of these cables go down, there’s two diesel-powered generators that provides backup power to the island.
A lingering issue for the backup generators is their age. This caused National Grid, an energy transmission company that operates in the Northeastern states of Massachusetts, New York, and Rhode Island, to look at alternative upgrades. The result is to create a battery energy storage system (referred to as BESS) that’s fueled by a new diesel generator.
To help create the project, they’ve called on Tesla to create the 48 megawatt-hour Powerpack facility. There will be 200 Powerpack units holding a capacity of six megawatts. Instead of generators needing to be turned on, backup electricity is taken from the battery facility. The new generator will keep everything charged up while the old diesel backups are phased up.
“The BESS provides a very efficient and effective solution to two major energy challenges facing the island,” Rudy Wynter, COO and President of National Grid, said in a press release. “Our customers, communities, and policymakers look to us to deliver innovative solutions like this to help advance our clean energy future.”
With the new BESS at Nantucket, it would delay the need for a third cable for up to 32 years. There’s still a diesel generator in use, but it would still be a much cleaner alternative than what’s available now and it’s a very reliable solution. National Grid has been involved in various renewable energy projects in the states they serve, including geothermal heating, microgrids, and solar generation.
Tesla has been heavily involved with installing Powerpack facilities around the world. Recently, they’ve been installing batteries with solar panels in Puerto Rico to help bring the devastated territory back to full power. The Nantucket project is similar to what was installed in Hawaii back in May. That one is slightly bigger with 52 megawatt-hours and 272 Powerpack units, and it also includes a 13-megawatt solar farm.
This new backup solution could be used as a model for similar situations that need to be upgraded. It’ll be interesting to see if a renewable source like wind or solar power could be used in place of a diesel generator.