Tesla Powerpacks provide storage at Electrify America fast charging stations
DC fast charging stations can suck up a lot of power, so adding battery energy storage to charging sites is a no-brainer. In a great example of coopetition (cooperating in some areas, competing in others), Electrify America, one of the country’s largest fast charging providers, has installed Tesla Powerpacks at over 140 DC fast charging stations around the country, representing a total energy storage capacity of more than 30 megawatts. The two companies announced the deal to deploy Powerpacks at EA sites in 2019.
Above: As Electrify America grows their charging infrastructure, they're utilizing Tesla Powerpacks for stationary storage (Source: Electrify America)
The Powerpacks store power when electricity costs are low, and supplement power during times of peak consumption, minimizing impact on the electrical grid and mitigating demand surges to help EA maintain consistent pricing.
If there’s anything that charging providers hate, its demand charges—surcharges that utilities impose on peak power usage. For high-power charging stations, which may go unused for hours, then suddenly experience a sudden spike in usage, demand charges are a major, and unpredictable, cost burden. When he announced the deal with Tesla, Electrify America CEO Giovanni Palazzo told Electrek that demand charges from some utilities can be as high as $30 to $40 per kWh.
Replacing energy from the grid with energy drawn from the Powerpacks, even if only for short periods, can greatly reduce electricity costs. Electrify America says its investment in energy storage helps to facilitate the rollout of ultra-fast DC charging in locations where it might otherwise be cost-prohibitive.
Above: A look at Electrify America's process of building out their fast charging stations (YouTube: Electrify America)
Electrify America is also promoting vehicle-grid integration through a partnership with infrastructure specialist Olivine. Behind-the-meter services such as demand response help support vehicle-grid integration by reducing the need for polluting peaking power plants. To date, Electrify America’s behind-the-meter energy storage has already participated in over 190 demand response market events in the California Independent System Operator’s wholesale energy market, CAISO—shifting over 125 MWh of on-peak energy to lower-carbon off-peak hours.
In the future, as utility regulations and energy markets evolve, Electrify America aspires to provide power back to the grid from its energy storage assets.
“We are constantly striving to introduce innovations that will drive the EV industry forward,” said Electrify America CEO Giovanni Palazzo. “With this significant deployment of battery energy storage, Electrify America will be able to help ensure a more efficient customer experience, especially as EV adoption increases and infrastructure demands continue to grow.”