A cold snap in Texas in February brought the power grid to a standstill. In freezing temperatures, millions of people had no electricity for days.
Such blackouts could be prevented by intermediate storage, or at least reduced in their extent. Tesla is now building such a giant battery in Brazoria County, Texas, reports Bloomberg.
The battery should have a capacity of 100 megawatts. This would be enough to supply 20,000 households with electricity for one hour on a hot day, i.e. with the additional load from energy-hungry air conditioning systems. Around 6,000 households could be supplied for 24 hours.
The mass storage device is to be connected to the Angleton power grid. The Texan city has a population of over 19,000. The battery should automatically store energy when electricity costs are low. According to the city government’s plan, it should help to compensate for voltage fluctuations and excessive energy requirements until the power grid is stabilized again. The aim is to prevent a blackout through a chain reaction.
If the power fails due to a natural disaster, the energy from the battery should help to get the electrical generators of the power plants to start up again more quickly. The battery should be operational from June 1st, 2021.
Tesla installed a battery in South Australia in 2017 for a similar project. That too has an output of 100 megawatts. The mass storage already proved itself in the same year when it was built. When a coal-fired power plant failed, it stepped in within 140 milliseconds. This prevented a power failure.
If the battery works similarly well in Angleton, Texas, more could soon be installed in the United States. There are many areas in which the electricity fails again and again, sometimes for days, due to an outdated infrastructure. The batteries may prevent this from happening, but they actually only treat the symptoms, rather than the problem.