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Tesla battery system officially replaces state's last remaining coal power plant: 'This is a landmark milestone'

"This project is a postcard from the future."

"This project is a postcard from the future."

Photo Credit: Tesla

The Aloha State is saying goodbye to polluting power and hello to an opportunity for its sunny skies to provide more than ripe pineapples and golden tans. 

As reported by Electrek, a Tesla Megapack battery system replacing Hawai'i's very last coal power plant is officially live. 

Hawai'i has the highest solar capacity deployed per capita. But the sun doesn't shine 24/7, so it still needs energy storage. The state also intends to run off 100% green energy by 2045, per Electrek. Projects like this battery system will help both areas. 

The project — called Kapolei Energy Storage — is owned and operated by Plus Power and located on the west side of Oahu, in a known industrial area. 

The company claims it's "the most advanced grid-scale battery energy storage system in the world." 

Specifications include 135 megawatt (MW) / 540 megawatt-hours (MWh) of capacity and energy; 50 MW/25 MWh of additional "fast frequency response" to help maintain the stability of the electric grid stable; "'virtual inertia' to replicate the power-smoothing function of a spinning turbine;" and "'black start' capabilities, which will support grid recovery in the event of a blackout." 

Per the press release, modeling done by Hawaiian Electric found that the plant will allow the utility to reduce curtailment of renewable energy by 69% and integrate 10% more new utility-scale renewables in its first five years while also providing for the continued growth of personal rooftop solar.

While the system directly benefits Hawaiians, the transition from dirty energy sources like coal to clean sources like solar and wind benefits us all. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, when pollution from electricity use is allocated to the industrial sector, industrial activities account for 30% of planet-warming pollution in the United States. 

As coal plants close across the country, many are being repurposed into clean energy sites.  

The more inexpensive and readily available these energy sources are, the more likely homeowners will add solar panels or other greener upgrades

Those responsible for bringing this project to fruition and allowing Hawai'i to better use its growing renewable energy were understandably proud. 

"This project provides another example of Hawai'i's leadership in the clean energy transition," said Mark B. Glick, Hawai'i's chief energy officer, in the Plus Power release.

Mike Snyder, senior director at Tesla Megapack, added: "This is the first time a standalone battery site has provided grid-forming services at this scale — this is a critical application for high renewable penetration grids supplied by 185 MW of Megapack inverters." 

"This is a landmark milestone in the transition to clean energy," Brandon Keefe, Plus Power's executive chairman, stated. "It's the first time a battery has been used by a major utility to balance the grid … this project is a postcard from the future — batteries will soon be providing these services, at scale, on the mainland."

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