Nantucket Turns To Tesla To Address Unique Energy Challenges


National Grid has selected Tesla for one of the largest energy storage project in the U.S. – 48 MWh/6 MW ESS to be installed on the island of Nantucket, 30 miles off the Massachusetts coast.

the island of Nantucket, 30 miles off the Massachusetts coast

The ESS turns out to be the optimal solution for Nantucket, which is powered through two submarine cables that connect with the mainland transmission system on Cape Cod.

In case of a failure of one of the cables, Nantucket can count on the two 6 MW diesel generators, but generators are getting old and and need to be replaced. On the other hand growing demand for electricity will require third submarine cable within 12 years.

In the third quarter of 2017 Tesla delivered 110 MWh of energy storage (267 MWh YTD).

National Grid figured out that a better option is 48 MWh battery and one new generator that together will eliminate the need of third submarine cable for the next 27-32 years.

“National Grid explored several options to address these infrastructure needs and the ever-increasing on-island demand for electricity, and came up with a unique solution: the BESS and a new diesel generator that together can supply the island in the event of a cable failure. National Grid expects that with the BESS, the need for a third cable can be delayed for 15 to 20 years beyond the current 12-year forecast. The BESS will be six megawatts with an eight-hour duration, which is also described as a 48 megawatt-hour system, and is being provided by Tesla.”

Rudy Wynter, president and COO of National Grid’s FERC-regulated Businesses said:

“The BESS provides a very efficient and effective solution to two major energy challenges facing the island. Our customers, communities, and policymakers look to us to deliver innovative solutions like this to help advance our clean energy future.”

Town of Nantucket Energy Coordinator Lauren Sinatra said:

“The Town of Nantucket commends National Grid’s decision to deploy an innovative energy storage solution on the island. We are confident that the proposed project, combined with targeted energy-saving programs and other planned electric infrastructure upgrades, will play a transformational role in meeting Nantucket’s near- and long-term energy needs.”


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19 responses to "Nantucket Turns To Tesla To Address Unique Energy Challenges"
  1. Kevin says:

    Why not use solar instead of the New diesel generator

    1. Tom says:

      Apparently you’ve never been there.

    2. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

      “On average, there are 201 sunny days per year in Nantucket, Massachusetts.”

      See any problem there with depending on solar power?

      1. Ambulator says:

        That’s about average for the USA. Their latitude constrains the solar they can receive, but that may work out with the seasonality of demand since they are largely a summer resort. There are also excellent prospects for wind power. You would probably need around 2 GWh storage for the whole island, or much less if you still rely on diesel or imports for emergencies. Doable, I think.

        The big problem, though, is that the residents feel that large wind or solar projects interfere with the old time esthetics they are trying for. Some people just don’t want to be helped.

    3. mzs.112000 says:

      In Nantucket? Better just put up wind turbines, otherwise… no power in winter.

  2. Warren says:

    Better yet wind to replace them all. But rich people don’t like looking at windmills.

    1. Paul K says:

      Amen! That certainly is our experience here in the province of Ontario. Real shame.

  3. Bill Howland says:

    As a national grid customer, it sounds like the kind of thing they’d do – although I’m glad Tesla got the battery pack contract.

    But as a general rule, National Grid likes to patch rather than have somethingdecent. I can think of a few instances around me where they have fine, robust installations, but many more instances of band-aided and bubble-gummed things.

    My house, due to no changes at my house itself, had its voltage range from 101 volts to 129 volts over a 3 month period for FIVE different reasons (and more if I split hairs), which I won’t bore people with here.

    O’connell electric out of rochester installed my solar inverters and didn’t like having to waste a day (FOR FREE) modifying their inverters to tolerate the very wild swings in my neighborhood.

    Besides my personal experience, Hurricane Sandy knocked out National Grid’s Long Island customers, some for over a month. People would complain that there was absolutely no rain nor much wind in their area, but still the lights were out. The Public Service Commision would ask why the lights were out in a certain area and NG would respond “We Don’t Know Why” (!!!!)

    They lost their Long Island franchise after Gov Cuomo said this is a disgrace (well, it was).

    So the fact they want to glue – in batteries and inverters rather than have a decently sized cable running to the Island – and continue running the Island on 2 probably rickety cables.

    That “NEW” generator probably won’t rust from lack of use.

  4. pjwood1 says:

    National Grid has the contract to recover cost on Block Island’s 5 windmills, at rates above $.40/KWh once it nears its end. Off-shore wind is expensive. Wires in the ocean are expensive (esp. 30mi). I guess if you are going to be cynical, the back-up is indeed a band-aid until a future wire, but doing such major investments sooner than absolutely necessary adds the costs to raise and float all that capital. I’m not so sure batteries&diesel are a bad decision. The diesel will be the last thing they spark up.

    Nantucket’s wire likely carries MA’s power mix, which is headed to break 70% natural gas once Pilgrim nuclear shuts. Institutional environmentalism wouldn’t have it any other way.

    1. Bill Howland says:

      Well, in my commentary I have no less than the Gov of NY State in agreement – that’s hardly being cynical. No proof in yours I notice.

      Of course, everything is relative – I’d take National Grid over companies like PG&E, or Southern California Edison any day.

      Or, maybe not. I made the decision to go 100% Solar on the day that National Grid announced PG&E’s pricing scheme. I thought it was permanent at the time, but it got shot down immediately.

      Public reaction was so entirely negative, what with local news reports for a week, and then of course NY State assembly investigation for one, and then the second thing was a neighboring utility in Massachusetts shot down NG’s tentative Smart Meter program EXPENSE (which admittedly claimed to:

      1). *NOT* decreases prices, (of course not – they were claiming a Rate Increase to pay for the SM program)
      2). Nor improve service).

      The neighboring utility stated Smart Meter Technology was not required to perform any time-of-use functions, nor any Net Metering functions, and as of this date, we STILL do not have Smart Meters, nor confiscatory rates such as neighboring Ontario, Canada has.

      1. pjwood1 says:

        Bill, I know NG has earned its enemies. Every single time may not be the case, but to your point they require 2,000KWh/Month before sign-up to MA’s TOU. Few ever get that high.

  5. TM says:

    Thank you for citing both MWh and MW.

    48 MWh/6 MW

    Too often only one of the numbers is reported.

    1. georgeS says:

      That’s a pretty low C rate.

      1. pjwood1 says:

        Saw that, too. I wonder if there’s a longer duration spec, that the island wanted for the 6MW and that’s what drove it up? Isn’t it usually 3-4 to 1 (like Kauai)?

  6. CDAVIS says:

    With Nantucket being electric power constrained I wonder how that plays into the island’s ability to support EV adoption?

    1. CDAVIS says:

      Seems like the Nantucket local government is pro EV:

      Would be great if Tesla while in Nantucket installing the Tesla Energy ESS also installs a few solar powered Tesla Supercharger stations.

      1. CDAVIS says:

        Nantucket would also be a great place for Tesla to locate a Tesla Store!

        1. Bill Howland says:

          Yes, a Tesla Store would be good for them, since only a person who can afford a TESLA can afford to drive an EV there.

          SVEN (too bad he was chased off here – I missed his financial analyses), used to say he would plug in his VOLT at home, even though charging with electricity (at around 32 cents/ kwh) was more expensive than just letting the battery run down and running solely on the engine.

          The electricity here seems priced high enough that only Tesla owners could afford it to push their cars.

  7. Aires says:

    How much does this system cost! Anybody know?

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