Mercury picks Tesla for large scale battery project

Mercury chief executive Fraser Whineray says battery storage has the potential to complement NZ's energy system.
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Mercury NZ has selected Tesla as the provider for a scalable national grid-connected battery trial after a tender process launched last September.

A direct grid-connected battery is a large-scale battery able to take, store and return energy directly to the national grid, making it possible to provide energy when usage is high or supply is disrupted. Mercury, the electricity generator-retailer formerly known as MightyRiverPower, is investing more than $2 million to research the integration of 1 Megawatt/2 Megawatt per hour battery technology with New Zealand's electricity system.

The trial involves the Tesla Powerpack 2 large-scale battery and is the same modular, scalable technology installed in Tesla's projects in South Australia and Southern California, Mercury said in a statement.

The trial will be located at Mercury's research and development centre in South Auckland, which is connected to the national grid and has the capacity to scale battery storage. Mercury will explore trading energy stored in the battery in both the wholesale electricity and reserve markets.

According to Mercury, Tesla's Powerpack 2 will be installed, connected to the grid, and ready to trade in the wholesale market in August 2018.

"Technologies like battery storage have the potential to complement our country's energy system as it supports moves towards greater sustainability across the building, transport and agriculture sectors," said chief executive Fraser Whineray.

Mercury chose Tesla because "Tesla has a proven track record in ground-breaking projects around the world," he said.

The company's shares rose 0.2 percent to $3.385 and have gained 10 percent over the past 12 months.

(BusinessDesk)


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Yes! Go Tesla!!!!

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At long last a NZ Electricity Retailer has made a first tentative step with a mature technology, albeit only to let their engineers play around with it. They might be too little too late to head off competition in the storage market from the Vector which is already leading the field

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In anticipation of skeptic negativitity i suggest they refer to whats happening in Australia as we speak: http://reneweconomy.com.au/second-tesla-big-battery-to-power-victorian-f...

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Playing around with expensive batteries to store a fraction of the energy that could be stored in domestic water heaters if the ripple control system that the electricity reforms destroyed was brought back into business – or replaced by an improved version - is stupid.
The real storage problem in New Zealand is dry years when national electricity generation drops by about 10%. There is no way that batteries could come anywhere near to solving this problem – and if you tried, the price would be prohibitive. At the moment, the only solution is a large coal stockpile at Huntly.
Hydro pumped storage is better and cheaper than batteries for daily storage but our flawed electricity market does not reward it as it should.

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The Tesla system isn't about long and medium term storage but about smoothing out peaks and troughs - which will become larger as more energy is generated through solar and wind. It is very fast acting and so can respond much quicker than pumped storage, coal and gas turbines.

For medium term storage pumped hydro is definitely the best option.

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Hot water control will do it cheaper and better. As it does in the Upper South Island where, unusually, the lines companies act in the interests of the consumer. Vector doesn't.

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Although hot water control puts the onus on the consumer to not consume power - I far prefer a customer focused approach which allows customers to do what they want by putting the onus on the producers to provide the power that customers want to pay for.

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James, your statement that hot water control puts the onus on consumers not to consume is incorrect. The same amount of water gets heated and therefore the same amount of power gets consumed. Is just that the energy storage provided by the water heater cylinder is being used to curb the peaks. A hot water cylinder is far cheaper energy storage than a battery. Its that simple.

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My understanding of hot water control is that the electricity lines company has the ability to turn your hot water on and off to manage peaks and troughs (e.g. http://waipanetworks.co.nz/customers/electric-hot-water/)
This is the consumer unfriendly element as if you have a need for hot water then you may find that it takes more time for your cylinder to heat up.

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You are correct Lines Companies do switch the supply off to the cylinder but this doesn't normally result in loss of any hot water as the heating supply is made unavailable only for relatively short periods. The cylinder is large with respect to amount of hot water drawn off in a day. There are hundreds of thousands of hot water cylinders under this control and very few people run out of hot water. The benefits however are greatly reduced infrastructure needed to provide the same electricity supply. The financial benefits (hundreds of millions of dollars of avoided asset capital and running costs) are paid back to the consumer through a cheaper rate for water heating. Keeping the peaks down in this way and passing the benefits back to the consumers is a win-win for all.
At the end of the day, the consumer pays for all electricity infrastructure. The trick is to keep the infrastructure deployed to a minimum (keeping costs as low as possible), but still provide a first rate electricity supply for all.

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To solve the vexing ten year drought issue NZ could instead increase its wind and solar capacity by managing its storage options more efficiently. The Aus State of Victoria has shown for example that its new 100MW Tesla battery system can play a big part y in the process of smoothing intermittent generation. In NZ we could well enhance the management of existing hydro reservoir storage capability and if necessary re-introduce modern DSM versions of the antiquated ripple relay switched hot water systems. They may all have a part to play but is unlikely that NZ will ever need to invest a billion dollars or so in a pumped storage facility.

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John, in case you didn't notice, last winter the wind output was pitiful and, as is usual during winter, the sun didn't shine during peak demand periods. What is all your extra and expensive wind and solar generation going to do in a year when it is raining?? Simply shut down and earn nothing towards covering its high cost or will it push hydropower off the grid and cause more spill and contribute to system instability?
You cannot get away from the fact that the cheapest and most efficient energy storage for dry years is a coal stockpile and the best and cheapest way of managing peak demands and short-term fluctuations is water heater control.

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Given they are a Gentailer and not a Network company, this will be more about maximising profits (not having to sell electricity to the market when its cheap, saving it to sell when it is more expensive) rather than anything to do with long term storage or network security.

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And if all gentailers did the same then this would smooth out the cost peaks and troughs and minimise price fluctuations ... which would be a good thing for consumers as gentailers take on less risk.

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Solid oxide fuel cells from Bloom technology that use natural gas are the way of the future - India have done a deal to extend their national grid. Big data centres are also utilising this approach. Bloom do neighbourhood version too.
Not quite the same context as the original article but very interesting IMO in any case

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Hope Mercury are looking to install 1/2 to 1 megawatt hours of capacity rather than megawatts per hour. :<{

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