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A new Tesla ‘big battery’ is being deployed to increase grid resilience in Santa Barbara county

A Tesla energy storage project with Megapacks is currently being installed in Santa Barbara county to increase the grid resilience in the region known to be a fire, mudslide, and earthquake risk zone.

It could even lead to a microgrid for critical facilities.

This new 40 MWh “big battery project” is called the Vallecito Energy Storage Resilience (VESR) Project and it aims to add “foundational resilience” to the grid in Santa Barbara County, including the Carpinteria Valley.

It is going to reinforce a weak point in the region’s electricity transmission system known as the Goleta Load Pocket (GLP).

Coastal View reports:

“The entire region, from Point Conception to Lake Casitas, is currently dependent on one point of interconnection to the transmission system at the Goleta Substation, located at the top of Glenn Annie Road. With a 40-mile-long transmission path that begins in Ventura and traverses the heart of extreme fire, mudslide and earthquake risk zones on the backside of the Santa Ynez mountains, the GLP is extremely vulnerable to a transmission outage. Moreover, after reaching the Goleta Substation, electricity must then travel back down to Carpinteria via a web of distribution lines. Additionally, SCE has reported that the grid will go down at some point, and when it does, it could be out for days or even weeks in Carpinteria.”

Clean Coalition, who has been backing the project and pushing it through approval, says that the VESR project is going to be a first step in creating a microgrid to protect the region from such outages.

They wrote:

The Clean Coalition has determined that to achieve indefinite renewables-driven backup power that provides 100% protection to the GLP against a complete transmission outage, 200 megawatts (MW) of solar and 400 megawatt-hours (MWh) of energy storage needs to be sited within the GLP. By itself, VESR represents a full 10% of the energy storage needed to achieve this goal. The Goleta Load Pocket Community Microgrid (GLPCM), which is being staged with this 100% resilience goal in mind, will bring the area unparalleled economic, environmental, and resilience benefits.

They decided to go with Tesla’s latest utility-scale battery technology: the Tesla Megapack.

VESR will consist of 15 Tesla Megapacks and the first 5 batteries are currently being deployed at the site (pictures via Jeremy Lile from Bragg):

Tesla has recently been accelerating production and deployment of Megapack.

The company reported a record deployment of over 750 MWh of stationary energy storage capacity last quarter.

The VESR Project is expected to come online in December.

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