Using Tesla’s Powerwall batteries, households on the island of Miyako-jima in Japan have built out a virtual power plant that can send excess power to the electric grid in their area.
Over the past year, Tesla’s been creating what they’re calling one of the largest virtual power plants in Japan. This is according to a statement released by the company on Friday. There are currently more than 300 Powerwall units installed across Miyako-jima, a populated island in Okinawa.
Virtual power plants are made up of distributed energy storage systems that can feed into an electric grid during times of need. Homes that use solar panels or batteries can install a battery pack, like Tesla’s Powerwall, to store additional power. That extra, stored power, can then be sent to the electric grid during emergency events or blackouts. This process offers an alternative solution to relying on gas-powered power plants.
Users who choose to participate in the program will have the units installed for free, and get compensated by $US2 ($3) for every kilowatt per hour contributed to the grid during emergencies. Tesla has already created virtual power plants in California and Australia, with plans to build one in Texas as well. Earlier this month, around 2,500 consumers banded together and delivered up to 16.5 megawatts of solar power to California’s grid at a time of high electricity demand this summer.
In Japan, the virtual power plant will be used towards “the stabilisation of Miyako Island’s grid power supply…In addition, in the event of a power outage due to a typhoon, etc., power will be supplied from the Powerwall to the installed home, making it possible to prevent power outages in the home,” according to Tesla. The company is aiming to install 400 Powerwall units by the end of 2022, and 600 units by the end of 2023.
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