Up-Close Look At Colorado’s Largest Tesla Powerpack: Video


Tesla works with power providers to get more of its Powerpacks online.

Our friend Sean Mitchell visits a United Power facility in Brighton, Colorado, just outside Denver. He checks out the facility’s Tesla Powerpack system and interviews New Program Coordinator at United Power, Jerry Marizza. Marizza explains that United Power chose Tesla since it’s battle-tested and offered a fantastic warranty. He hopes the installation is a viable asset for years to come.

We published a story back in October about United Power’s installation of the 4 MW Tesla energy storage system. The state of Colorado expects it to save some $1 million annually. The system is large enough to power about 700 homes for a total of four hours. United Power’s primary application of the Tesla Powerpack system involves successfully dealing with peak energy usage.

We’re excited that Sean visited the site and secured an interesting and informative interview. This is just a glimpse of the future of energy storage. Watch the video and let us know your thoughts in the comment section.

Video Description via Sean Mitchell (AllThingsEV.info) on YouTube:

Colorado’s largest Tesla Powerpack

About United Power: http://www.unitedpower.com

About Tesla’s Powerpacks:

Every Powerpack contains 16 individual battery pods, each with an isolated DC-DC converter. Pod architecture and onboard power electronics optimize performance across the array and enable easy swapping at any time.

Powerpacks use a high volume, high reliability architecture tested over the one billion miles driven in Model S. Combined with hundreds of embedded sensors, Powerpack offers unparalleled performance, safety and reliability.

An internal liquid cooling and heating system allows for pinpoint temperature control within a Powerpack. A dual coolant and refrigerant loop system, adapted from Model S, ensures maximum performance in all climates with better efficiency than air cooling.

Powerpack’s enclosure is outdoor rated for all environments. No additional structures or covers are required, simplifying installation and lowering site preparation expenses.

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29 Comments on "Up-Close Look At Colorado’s Largest Tesla Powerpack: Video"

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A couple of decades ago, New York City had a real problem meeting demand load due to increase in demand and distribution problems from update. Con Edison was forced to build localized generation plants within the city that sat idle for most of the time. It cost them a fortune. I am wondering why Tesla has not deployed their Power Packs in NYC.

It will happen it’s a matter of supply and demand. Right now demand outstrips supply.
Utilities across the country want to replace there oil and natural gas peaking units with battery storage.

When Peaking, or Spiking Demand is short, Nothing Beats Batteries for Stabilizing the Frequency, and Surge Loads. For Medium Term High Demands, Batteries Still do Well.

It’s only when a Grid Based System is considering Multi Day Power Outage Coverage, that Current Battery Prices are a Difficult Business Case, over Generators. However, as battery costs drop, 24 Hours, 36 Hours, and even beyond 48 Hours, as to backup, will become more common.

I think Ron meant that the battery-demand (where to buy large-scale batteries) outstrips the battery supply. .

That’s exactly what I meant. Utilities are placing orders for battery storage like crazy.
Tesla is working on a Megapack
Waiting list for Powerwalls.
Batteries are better than natural gas peaking units and more cost efficient.

> I am wondering why Tesla has not deployed their Power Packs in NYC.

Probably because those localised plants are already in place.

If they were having the same problem now, you betcha they’d be thinking about a battery solution instead of building those plants.

Couple of decades Tesla, Inc did not exist.

even if they did exist, tech was not this advanced.

Lots of misunderstanding out there about our power systems and networks. The often-idle local generation construction was done to reduce dependency on individual fuels, and it still does so, despite the risk level in the supply of particular fuels not being present today. While distributed storage resources such as Power Packs are a viable idea, Tesla is not trying to become an energy wholesaler to your distribution grid, they’re trying to supply product to alleviate the need to build new fossil-fueled power generators. It won’t be Tesla doing any Power Pack “deploying.”

4 MW is typically 16 MWh. A cost of 7-8 million is $450-500/kWh, consistent with Tesla’s other deals.

$1 million/year savings is $2750/day. If they can buy 16 MWh off-peak and deliver 14 MWh (after losses) to customers each day, they need a $200/MWh spread. I can see that during certain seasons, but averaging $200/MWh over the course of a full year? Not sure I’m buying that.

Most of the economics are about power demand not energy demand (that’s just a side benefit they can take advantage of by upping the capacity). They’re a small local cooperative buying generation from their cooperative federation and off the grid market (I’m pretty sure they directly own no generation assets). So they are likely paying a very stiff premium/penalty any time they exceed their daily peak demand plan, even for a few minutes. They’re worried about cutting down those costs, not “trading” on the wholesale market (though they are likely taking advantage of that, too). This is why many similar coops still maintain piston diesel generators to quickly ramp up, even though the amortized cost of a kWh is not very good at all. The simplified version of how that works is that they say peak demand for day X is going to be 100MW. Peak actually hits 104MW on day X and they pay a 5 or even 6 figure penalty for that day, even if they only need power at that rate for 15 minutes during the entire day. Alternatively, they think the peak is 100MW, they ask for 104MW to hedge and pay a premium, avoiding penalties… Read more »

Thanks for posting. I agree they own little or no generation. Where can I learn more about demand pricing and penalties for coops?

Do these prices and penalties generally reflect real costs to the grid? If so the batteries provide real economic benefit. If not, the pricing regime will adjust and the coops will end up spending the same money as before (more or less) in other charges.

According to what I read elsewhere, utilities are required to provision their distribution grids by the sum of the peak demands of all customers in the area. So yes, peak demand creates real costs, reflected in the demand charges.

The Australian 100 MW project cost $66 Million or about $660,000 per MW. So this 4MW project should cost about $3 Million. Which would have it pay for itself in 3 years. Then that’s $1 Million in savings every year ongoing. Using the Tesla battery storage system is a no brainer for utilities to save millions dealing with peak demand costs.

Some cities/power companies are sharing the cost of Powerwalls with homeowners, to create a distributed grid to handle peak power demands, along with offering a power backup for the consumer, and lower rates using power collected at night at lower rates. It’s a win for the consumer and the power company.

Australian project used high power batteries. As a result it had much lower $/MW than other Powerpack installations, but higher $/MWh.

Also, the guy said 7-8 year payback at $1m/year, so this is obviously a $7-8m project.

You are forgetting financing costs. The construction of the project surely took considerably less. And part of that is costs for connecting the system etc., unrelated to the price Tesla charges.

“4 MW is typically 16 MWh”

Where did you get that?

Maybe he is counting power conversion bays versus battery bays, but then there is so little info in the article, or even a bird’s eye view of the layout. I think I see one of likely 2- 2000 kva pad transformers in the distance.

But point taken that he could have easily spelled out what was there, if he had the beginnings of understanding what he is looking at. When I am someplace, I always want to find out exactly what I’m looking at. But this is not an educational article, just a ‘feel good’ one.

Every Powerpack installation I’ve seen except Australia is a 4 hour system. That’s also their standard spec.

Australia was a custom deal that used high power Samsung SDI cells and cost $500-600/kWh.

I have seen several Powerpack installations with different duration, ranging anywhere from 1h to 6h.

Note that 1 C is trivial for pretty much any NMC cell. I don’t think they are actually using a different cell type for higher-powered installations — it’s mostly just a matter of adding more inverters…

By the looks of it, it’s just 20 cabinets, which would suggest only 4.2 MWh…

The article mentions 4 hours, but I have no idea where they got that number from.

Wow, that interviewer knows nothing about electrical engineering or electricity in general.

He knows his audience. Most peeps aren’t EEs

I agree. It sure would be nice to have interviewers who understand what they are interviewing about. I thought it priceless when the interviewee basically said, dude, just multiple two numbers that I just gave you together to figure out how much the system cost.

IN any event, it would have been nice if they went through the numbers…But your statement is no surprise. This was more of a ‘feel good’ article – they didn’t even show the layout of the system, although readers who do somewhat understand this stuff could have made an educated guess. But point taken that he was there, and could have made at least a rudimentary attempt to state what exactly was there.

Money people would have asked more questions on exactly how the large savings would have been realized.

If you actually put information in a comment, you get several demerits by the clueless – so – you’ll notice that is why some of the more intelligent commenters rarely state anything here anymore.

I wonder how much solar and battery it would take to get Colorado to 100% renewable?

A lot. Last time I looked at the grid it was still mostly coal (60%).

About 50% coal now and still falling. About 20% renewable and 30% nat gas

Pumped Hydro is the cheapest battery.
I would imagine in Colorado Renewable plus pumped hydro would be cheaper and more reliable than coal already so it won’t be long until the Colorado grid is 100% RE.
Batteries like Tesla provide will still have significant role because they are so quick and accurate in responding to outages and peaks.
So Tesla batteries will take out the gas peakers gradually

Downside of hydro is that it takes much longer to build then solar or wind, making it hard to keep up with quickly rising renewable penetration…