Blog Post #381:  Two of my favorite topics – TOGETHER – Tesla and Power

Blog Post #381:  Two of my favorite topics – TOGETHER – Tesla and Power

Taken from:

I think Elon Musk is a visionary for our times.  Sure, he makes mistakes (and sometimes big ones with SpaceX rockets exploding and Tesla unable to meet production schedules); and sure his ideas are different (using the “Boring” company to dig a high speed tunnel from O’Hare airport to downtown Chicago in minutes); using Solar Power; and electric cars.

Likewise I like looking at energy.  I think renewable energy is a good concept – although it does take a lot of (non-renewable) materials to build wind turbines and solar panels.  I like the concept of cleaner air with less burning of coal and fossil fuels.

Today’s article highlights a recent heat wave in Vermont.   In a heatwave everybody wants to stay cool. Air conditioners are running at their maximum (and using electrical power).  When we lived in South Dakota, our electric utility gave us a small discount if they could take certain appliances (like clothes dryers) off line when electrical peaks were coming.  The choices are fairly simple – cut back on electricity; have to buy electric power at much higher prices (or to ‘fire up’ another generating plant (most likely using coal) when peaks are expected.

Green Mountain Power has partnered with Tesla Powerwalls to have electrical storage.  So, when the heat wave hit, instead of cutting back – or buying power from (say) Canada – or firing up another generator – they just took stored energy from their customers.  

The article says:
“Now they are deploying the Tesla Powerwall 2 to create a sort of “virtual power plant.”

“Under their agreement with the electric utility, homeowners who receive a Powerwall are able to use it for backup power for “$15 a month or a $1,500 one-time fee”, which is significantly less expensive the ~$7,000 cost of the device with installation, but in return, Green Mountain Power is able to access the energy in the pack to support its grid, like a virtual power plant.

“With 500 Powerwalls now, it’s over 5,000 kWh of energy capacity to release during peak demand, like when everyone is running their AC during a heat wave.

“It’s still not a very large capacity, but it is already making a difference for a relatively small utility and it is growing fast as GMP aims to have 2,000 Tesla Powerwalls deployed by the end of the year.

“As the capacity increases, GMP can more easily respond to peak in electricity demand with stored renewable energy instead of more costly and polluting fossil fuels.”

We had a home generator when we lived in Connecticut.  There were two long periods of time when storms had knocked down power lines and we were without power.  The generator used natural gas (a fossil fuel), was very noisy and only provided some basic power (mostly some lights and refrigerator).  Having a Powerwall would have been good – and then being part of a grid and being able to share stored power with others would have been great!!!


What do you think?  Is this a long term or short term solution?




Posted by Bruce White

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