Tesla Megapacks are powering a new battery storage project in Alaska, which is expected to result in significant cost savings for the two electric utility companies involved.
The project, which cost $63 million, involved the installation of 24 Megapacks on land owned by Chugach Electric Association, with Matanuska Electric Association as a 25% owner. The companies estimate that over a span of 15 years, the Megapacks will save them approximately $121 million, leading to lower rates for customers.
Scheduled to be fully operational in October 2024, the battery system will also alleviate the utilities’ reliance on gas. By pooling their power requirements and optimizing distribution, the dispatchers from Chugach Electric and Matanuska Electric work together to efficiently provide power to consumers. In the event of a disruption on the Railbelt grid, the batteries can be tapped into instantly, eliminating the need to activate gas turbine generators. This quick and seamless transition to battery power will not only save money but also improve operational efficiency and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by minimizing the burning of natural gas, reports Anchorage Daily News.
The batteries will have the capacity to generate 40 megawatts (MW) of power for two hours. This is equivalent to around 15% of Chugach’s power demand during the summer.
This isn’t the first Megapack project in Alaska. Last year a 37 Megapack installation located on the Kenai Peninsula southwest of Anchorage was turned on. The utility has reported substantial savings, with the battery system bridging the gap between electric demand and generation and reducing natural gas consumption by approximately 10%.