Did Tesla’s New Battery Storage Just Turn Fossil Fuels Into Fossils?
The three companies each recently took substantial battery storage plants online.
“Any one of these projects would have been the largest battery storage facility ever built,” Bloomberg Tech reported. “Combined, they amount to 15 percent of the battery storage installed planet-wide last year.”
So, just what is a battery storage plant?
As opposed to other more common types of energy storage plants, many of which burn natural gas, battery storage plants store excess energy in, you guessed it, batteries. Very massive batteries.
The three new battery storage projects were created to help mitigate future crises like the Aliso Canyon leak in Los Angeles’s Porter Ranch neighborhood, which leaked thousands of tons of methane into the air for four months between late 2015 and early 2016 before it was eventually sealed. The ongoing leak caused numerous families to have to temporarily abandon their homes. Many suffered health issues, loss of wages, and other issues directly related to the leak.
“Tesla moved particularly nimbly, completing in just three months a project that in the past would have taken years,” notes Bloomberg.
All three battery storage projects were completed in less than six months.
“There were teams working out there 24 hours a day, living in construction trailers and doing the commissioning work at two in the morning,” Tesla Chief Technology Officer J.B. Straubel told Bloomberg. “It feels like the kind of pace that we need to change the world.”
Like other nascent alternative energy industries—namely solar and wind—battery storage comprises a significantly small percentage of the grid, having been more expensive than gas-based plants like Aliso Canyon.