Tesla shuts the door on Hawaii’s last coal plant
Hawaii is set to close its last coal plant as part of a larger initiative to reach 100 percent clean energy. To help store power from its broad solar network, the U.S. state will use Tesla’s Megapacks, creating what’s set to be one of the largest energy storage plants in the world.
Tesla is supplying Megapacks to Hawaii as part of a huge energy storage project set to replace the state’s last remaining coal plant, according to a report from electrek. The plan will help support the state’s goal to reach 100 percent renewable energy by 2045 — a system that will require high levels of storage capacity to keep up.
The Kapolei, Oahu facility is set to become one of the world’s largest battery systems. Currently, Hawaii already has the highest amount of solar power capacity deployed per capita, though storage is still required since the sun doesn’t shine consistently on a day-to-day basis.
This shipment of Megapacks isn’t Tesla’s first to go to Hawaii, as it has been working with Hawaiian Electric to establish huge battery systems and a virtual power plant using Powerwalls — a program that has been deployed in a few markets already, such as California and certain areas of Australia.
Upon completion, the Kapolei Energy Storage facility (KES) will be run in partnership by Plus Power and Hawaiian electric, the former of which elected to utilize Tesla’s Megapacks. The energy storage plant will feature a power capacity of 185 megawatts/565 megawatt-hours. Each of Tesla’s Megapack’s features a storage container-sized battery system with 3 MWh of capacity, with a total of 158 set to head to Kapolei.
Plus Power will use the battery system to “black-start” the island’s electric grid in catastrophic events that could shut down the state’s grid, earning the KES the “ultimate pacemaker for the grid.”
“Here, today, on Oahu, Plus Power and Hawaiian Electric are sending a postcard from the future,” said Plus Power Lead Developer Bob Rudd at a ground blessing ceremony last year. “I’m certain that someday we’ll all look back, when there are dozens of projects just like KES on the mainland and all across the world, and we’ll think, ‘We were there. Hawaii showed the world how to do it first.’”
The project is expected to be operational by September which is also when the state will officially close the last coal plant — which has been traditionally used to maintain the electrical grid’s frequency and stability.