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Nova Scotia Power tests Tesla batteries as ConEdison files for New York project

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Tesla touts its Powerpack battery system as the "new standard for commercial and utility scale battery solutions."

Source: Tesla Inc.

Elon Musk's Tesla Inc. is partnering with Nova Scotia's utility and the largest utility in New York state to deploy battery systems with the aim of bringing the benefits of advanced energy storage to the region's electric grid.

Consolidated Edison Inc. subsidiary Orange and Rockland Utilities Inc., or O&R, filed plans recently with the New York State Public Service Commission to deploy a $5.6 million demonstration project consisting of several of Tesla's energy storage systems in the utility's lower Hudson Valley service territory.

According to the New York filing, the demonstration project will comprise a 4MW/8MWh portfolio of aggregated batteries located individually at behind-the-meter sites for commercial and industrial customers and co-located with distributed solar projects. Over the course of a three-year test run, the batteries could generate more than $700,000 a year worth of ancillary services, O&R said.

The exact technology of the New York project is not detailed in the filing, but farther north, in Canada, Emera Inc. subsidiary Nova Scotia Power Inc. announced recently that it is testing and data-monitoring Tesla's grid-size Powerpack batteries at its Elmsdale substation. This larger pilot project, known as the Intelligent Feeder, also involves the installation of smaller residential battery systems at 10 homes in the Elmsdale community that connect to Scotian WindFields Inc.'s 6-MW Hardwood Lands Community Wind Project.

Next big thing

With a capacity size varying from 50 kW to more than 100 MW, Tesla's Powerpack storage system contains 16 individual battery pods that each convert alternating current into direct current for storage before transmitting the power back onto the grid as AC. For utility-scale systems, the 200-kWh Powerpack batteries can be grouped together in arrays totaling from 500 kWh to more than 100 MWh, and can run continuously for two or four hours for various applications, including peak shaving, load shifting and commercial demand response. The Powerpack technology has been available since September 2016.

"Battery storage technology is the next big thing in terms of how Nova Scotia Power will be able to provide that reliable, 'always on' service to our customers," Jill Searle, senior program manager with Nova Scotia Power, said in a statement. "Tesla Powerwalls and Powerpack will allow us to test the capability of providing customers with back-up power through a battery so they have electricity when they need it most. It will be a game changer for our industry and our customers."

O&R said that its New York state pilot will help accelerate the widespread deployment of energy storage solutions. It will also demonstrate that batteries can provide a range of services across multiple applications, including deferring transmission and distribution costs, cultivating wholesale revenues and reducing demand charges for customers. Tesla will also work with the utility to develop ways of using the battery system to balance dispatch among stakeholders, including participating customers, the distribution system and Tesla.

"These strategies will be guided by algorithms and protocols, designed by Tesla, to deliver optimal dispatch for the aggregated portfolio, maximizing the portfolio value," said the filing. "Under this demonstration, the flexible operating characteristics of distributed energy storage will be employed to obtain the highest value use of the resource at any point in time."