Pitched as a backup to the Texas power grid that nearly collapsed entirely during the devastating winter storm of February 2021, Tesla on Thursday unveiled its Megapack battery project in a YouTube video.
Tesla had been secretive about the project up until now. Located in Angleton, Texas, south of Houston, it’s one of the biggest Tesla energy projects in the world and has a capacity of 100 MW/200 MWh.
“In Angleton, Texas, an energy storage project was proposed to provide sustainable backup support to the grid. This resulted in the installation of 81 Tesla Megapacks, providing greater outage protection while reducing the community’s reliance on fossil fuels,” Tesla wrote of the project in the YouTube video description.
While impressive, it would take a lot more than the Angleton installation to save the Texas power grid if it were to fail again during extreme weather.
According to earlier reports, the battery installation will be connected to the power grid and be capable of powering approximately 200,000 homes on a warm summer day.
However, all of the state’s energy production methods – oil, natural gas, nuclear, wind energy – failed to a degree due to frigid temperatures last February. The resulting power outages resulted in millions of Texans losing power and 264 deaths, according to the latest number by the Texas Department of State Health Services.
ERCOT, the Electric Reliabilty Council of Texas, last week reported that following inspections the state’s electric generation fleet is ready to go for the winter. However, while power plants and electricity providers are being required to winterize, energy experts say the same isn’t true for natural gas facilities, which are overseen by the Railroad Commission.
The Railroad Commission recently passed a rule requiring essential natural gas facilities to register as “critical infrastructure” so they won’t be impacted by rolling blackouts in severe weather.
But that doesn’t currently include any weatherization requirements, and won’t, until officials have completed a map of the natural gas supply chain.