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A year ago, a lithium-ion battery facility in Hornsdale, South Australia was able to stabilize the region’s precarious power grid  and saved around $40 million during the process. The facility was able to accomplish this outlandish feat with the help of Tesla’s Powerpack batteries. Thanks to battery storage, global electricity grids are able to better accommodate the fleeting nature of renewable energy sources like solar and wind. But for these renewable resources to work on a large utility scale, they require an enormous amount of battery storage. After the overwhelming success of Hornsdale, which was the world’s largest Lithium-ion battery at the time, Tesla has already begun work on a new battery specifically designed for utility scale projects called Megapack.

Arriving at the site fully assembled, the Megapack aims to provide an easy installation process and greatly reduce the complexity of large-scale battery storage, while still providing up to 3 megawatt hours of storage and 1.5 MW of inverter capacity. According to Tesla, “Using Megapack, Tesla can deploy an emissions-free 250 MW, 1 Gigawatt hour (GWh) power plant in less than three months on a three-acre footprint—four times faster than a traditional fossil fuel power plant of that size.”  The Megapack can also reduce the loss incurred from converting to AC current by connecting directly to the solar energy’s DC output.

In order to monitor and control the Megapack systems, Tesla designed a software called Powerhub, which each system connects to. The system, according to Tesla, is “…an advanced monitoring and control platform for large-scale utility projects and microgrids. Powerhub can also integrate with Autobidder, Tesla’s machine-learning platform for automated energy trading.”  More than 100 GWh of energy has already been dispatched in global electricity markets by Tesla’s customers using Autobidder. Through a combination of server-based and over-the-air software updates, Tesla plans to continue improving the Megapack, much like Tesla’s famous electric vehicles.

A Megapack is currently planned to be installed in the upcoming Moss landing Project with the Pacific Gas and Electric Company. The Megapack will be able to store excess energy from renewable resources like solar or wind and then disperse that stored energy when the local utility grid can’t provide enough power. This will offer an alternative option to the natural gas “peaker” that is currently used to support the grid’s peak loads.

According to Tesla, “We took everything we know about battery technology to enable the world’s largest energy projects. A 1 Gigawatt hour (GWh) project provides record energy capacity—enough to power every home in San Francisco for 6 hours.

Wanna learn more about Tesla’s endeavors in renewable energy? Check out the Tesla Power Wall.

Economy, Industry

After Egypt’s revolution in 2011, the country has been experiencing power outages due to it’s growing population. Even though Egypt is a large producer of oil, this unstable power supply has made the country less attractive for investors and likewise it suffered economically. In order to reconstruct the nation’s economy, government officials knew they needed a new infrastructure for power generation. They drafted up a plan to build three new power plants to support their growing economy. 

They decided to look towards international partners to help build and finance the project. In June of 2015, Siemens and two companies based in Egypt, Elsewedy Electric and Orascom Construction signed a €6 billion contract to build and develop three gas-fired power plants. The power plants were to be built in Beni Suef, New Capital, and Burullus.

The main goal of this mega project was not only solving the countries huge energy gap, but it was also to train Egypt work force for more technical jobs. “We had built up for each of the power plants a full training center including simulators on different safety hazard situations and use of personal protective equipment” said the head of Siemens Professional Education for the Middle East and Africa, Ahmed El Saadany. 600 recruits were put through a 6 month training period in Egypt and Germany. Usually a job of this size would take 4 to 5 years to complete but due to Elsewedy and Orascom‘s dedicated task force they were able to complete it in a record breaking time of 27 months.

The three sites were all constructed with similar designs but certain geological features forced some variation between the three sites. The Beni Suef and Burullus are both located near bodies of water, the Nile River and the Mediterranean Sea respectively so they are able to use water cooling for the plants. The New Capital Facility, located in the desert couldn’t rely on water cooling, so they designed one of the worlds largest air-cooled condensers for the site.

The equipment for the three sites was obtained from different manufacturers around the globe. The gas turbines were made in Siemens Factory in Berlin and have 61% more efficiency when in combined cycle mode. This increased efficiency offers heavily reduced emissions and fuel savings for the site compared to other turbines available. Each site has the capabilities of generating up to 4.8 GW of power from natural gas or oil as a backup. The three new Siemens power plants adds 14.4 GW of power to their total capacity, increasing it from 11 GW to 25.4 GW.


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