PG&E, Tesla begin construction on one of the world’s largest batteries

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A massive battery storage project is officially underway in Monterey County, California, with Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) and Tesla beginning construction on one of the largest battery energy storage installations in the world.

Set to clock in at 182.5 MW and 730 MWh, the Moss Landing battery energy storage system will be comprised of 256 Tesla Megapack battery units on 33 concrete slabs at PG&E’s electric substation in Moss Landing. The project’s targeted completion and energization is set for early-2021, with the project achieving full commercial operation in Q2 2021.

And while this project is certainly a noteworthy installation, it marks just the first step in PG&E’s huge battery storage project pipeline. In fact, this Tesla battery might not even be the biggest one located at the Moss Landing substation, as PG&E has signed a contract for a 300 MW storage system at the same location, which will likely clock in at 1.2 GWh of capacity. While this second system is currently set to be significantly larger than the Tesla one under construction, PG&E’s agreement with Tesla contains an option for upsizing, which would increase the capacity of this first system from four hours to six, or 1.1 GWh total.

That larger system, being developed by Vistra Energy, has also begun construction, with Phase I, which is 300MW/1.2 GWh set to come on-line before the end of the year. The project already has expansion planned, whihc will add another 100 MW/400 MWh.

Outside of the Moss Landing behemoths, PG&E also has third-party contracts for a 75 MW transmission-connected project near of Morgan Hill, California and a 2 MW project at the Gonzales substation in the Salinas Valley. The utility also owns a 20 MW battery system located the Llagas substation in Gilroy, California.

As familiar as PG&E is with large-scale battery energy storage projects, Tesla may be even more so. The world’s largest operating battery storage system, the Hornsdale Power Reserve in South Australia, utilizes Tesla batteries and is colloquially known as the Tesla Big Battery.

This project initially sat at a capacity of 100MW/129MWh, but has since been expanded and is now rated at 150 MW/193.5 MWh. If the Moss Landing battery project is completed on time, that means that the two largest lithium-ion storage projects on the planet will be utilizing Tesla batteries – and it’s not like the competition is particularly close either.

As much disparity as there is on this list right now, it’s set to look entirely different in a short time. In addition to the Moss Landing battery project, there are a number of 100 MW storage projects being developed across the United States, including Clean Power Alliance Lancaster, AES Alamitos and Arizona, Strata Oxnard. There is also the massive 409 MW Florida Power and Light Manatee project.

In the UK, construction has started on the 100 MW Minety project, as well.