A series of 21 high-rise office buildings have been turned into a virtual power plant by real estate firm Irvine Company, in cooperation with power utility Southern California Edison, a subsidiary of Edison International, the company announced on April 24
The first buildings in the Hybrid Electric Building fleet were deployed last November. To date they have run 32 business days straight with zero emissions, zero customer fatigue and zero impact on building operations.
The buildings can switch in unison from grid to battery supply to reduce peak demand by 25% and provide up to 10MW of instant load reduction for up to four hours using Tesla’s Powerwall residential energy storage systems.
The project uses data analytics from Advanced Microgrid Solutions’ energy management and optimization software.
The cloud-based software monitors grid conditions and coordinates demand reduction from all the buildings simultaneously when the grid needs support.
An Irvine Company official told ESJB: “We have not yet been requested to deliver the full 10MW of reduction by Southern California Edison. We expect that by August, SCE may be taking full advantage of the maximum megawatt reduction in demand we can provide.
“As with any new system, one can always expect some challenges rolling out new technology, and our experience has been no different. There have been a range of issues we’ve had to address, but we have made great progress. To date, we’ve had a near-perfect success rate in responding to utility calls.”
Mike Marelli, vice president of SCE’s Business Customer Division, said: “Projects like this will help us to accommodate more and more renewable resources on the electric grid while maintaining reliability and providing even more clean power to our customers.”
Australian news service ABC News has also reported that Tesla’s 250MW/650MWh VPP using 5kW rooftop solar panels and a 13.5kWh Powerwall storage unit was to go ahead.
The state’s energy minister Dan van Holst Pellekaan said the government would support Tesla’s project in South Australia during a speech at the Australian Energy Storage Energy Conference.
There was concern the project might be shelved for another involving 40,000 homes when Steven Marshall’s liberal party beat Jay Weatherill’s labour in the state elections this March.
The project will proceed with the two trial phases involving installation of residential energy systems on 1,100 Housing SA homes, supported by an A$2 million ($1.5 million) grant and a A$30 million loan from the state government.