Featured image: TransAlta
TransAlta's WindCharger will be the first lithium-ion, utility-scale battery storage project in Alberta. It will utilize Tesla's Megapack battery technology, charged with electricity from Summerview Wind Farm.
Tesla is deploying its Megapack tech in the new WindCharger project in Canada, TransAlta announced via its Twitter account in early June 2020. Now TransAlta is ready to turn on the power at Alberta's first large-scale battery storage project, using technology from Tesla. If the technology works on a wider scale, it could be a “tipping point” in the power industry. Alberta’s largest electricity generator said it has huge potential and the project is “really cool,” according to Vancouver Sun.
Later this month, Calgary-based TransAlta will flip on the switch at Alberta's first utility-scale, lithium-ion battery storage facility, known as the WindCharger project. The development, northeast of Pincher Creek, will be able to store electricity from the company’s nearby Summerview wind farm and then discharge it when needed.
The project, costing about $16 million to build, consists of three Tesla lithium-ion battery storage groupings, capable of distributing 10 megawatts (MW) for up to two hours, providing up to 20 MWh of storage capacity.
“It is really cool. ... ... It was put together in a matter of months, in terms of construction. It was great when we saw the batteries coming up from Tesla and in place,” said John Kousinioris, TransAlta’s chief operating officer.
“It’s an opportunity for us to match storage and our renewable wind power generation.”
Alberta is a leading jurisdiction in Canada for developing wind power--and some solar projects are also moving ahead. Battery storage facilities will likely be a key piece in a larger puzzle of how to balance the intermittent nature of wind and solar resources.
The project received a $7.7-million grant from Emissions Reduction Alberta. The organization, using money collected from Alberta’s levy on industrial greenhouse gas emitters, wanted to know if the emerging technology could be used on a commercial scale in the province.
“At the highest level, we want to see the first made-in-Alberta, large-scale energy storage project coupled with wind power,” said Mark Summers, the group’s executive director of technology.
Construction on WindCharger began this spring and it will begin operating later in August.