OT: Tesla's California Battery Storage

I saw this article about Tesla and others spending billions on making batteries for grid storage:
https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-01-30/tesla-s-battery-revolution-just-reached-critical-mass
"Tesla Motors Inc. is making a huge bet that millions of small batteries can be strung together to help kick fossil fuels off the grid. The idea is a powerful one—one that’s been used to help justify the company’s $5 billion factory near Reno, Nev.—but batteries have so far only appeared in a handful of true, grid-scale pilot projects.
That changes this week.
Three massive battery storage plants—built by Tesla, AES Corp., and Altagas Ltd.—are all officially going live in southern California at about the same time. Any one of these projects would have been the largest battery storage facility ever built. Combined, they amount to 15 percent of the battery storage installed planet-wide last year.
Ribbons will be cut and executives will take their bows. But this is a revolution that’s just getting started, Tesla Chief Technology Officer J.B. Straubel said in an interview on Friday. “It’s sort of hard to comprehend sometimes the speed all this is going at,” he said. “Our storage is growing as fast as we can humanly scale it.”
It seems they're using Lithium Ion batteries, which seems a strange choice to me as presumably the energy density is not a big issue for something that will be stationary.
I know there are a few knowledgable people in this group, so I wondered what the views are: is it something that's now worthwhile, or is it just a PR stunt or something?
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On 1/31/2017 5:36 PM, Caecilius wrote:

I wouldn't dismiss it lightly, Tesla cars seem pretty impressive and who would have thought SpaceX would have got into the commercial launch business so quickly.
There's some interesting stuff about the impact of storage in these blogs
http://euanmearns.com/uk-electricity-part-3-wind-and-solar/
but that may not be exactly the right link (there are four parts).
If I understand correctly, storage is a good thing, but the more you try to meet demand with renewables (rather than, say, nuclear) then the more installed capacity you need. So there is a high capital cost. Also, you don't necessarily "win" on carbon because there is always a carbon cost even with green technology. You can, in theory, play all sorts of clever tunes, for example if you have lots of solar or wind capacity to spare (so that you can meet demand when there's not much sun or wind) then you could use un-needed capacity to make hydrogen or, more usefully, hydrocarbons. This is an alternative form of storage to batteries or pumped storage. The useful thing about hydrocarbons of course is that you can use them for planes, for cars, or (very efficiently) to make electricity from existing CCGT technology.
But it all comes at a cost. IIRC nuclear is still the winner for low carbon, if you do the sums completely.
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On Tuesday, 31 January 2017 18:17:07 UTC, newshound wrote:

Not me. So they finally sorted their non-returnables did they? Well done for them.
So who is their first customer? And will they be chargeable?
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On 2/2/2017 12:44 AM, Weatherlawyer wrote:

They've been making commercial launches for several years, and now provide supplies to ISS for NASA.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SpaceX
Returnables are still at the development stage, but they are getting there.
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On Tuesday, 31 January 2017 17:36:54 UTC, Caecilius wrote:

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Using lithium I can't imagine how they'd be economically viable.
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On Tue, 31 Jan 2017 10:18:23 -0800 (PST), harry wrote:

Donno if the US has similar wholesale market to the UK but if you only sell when power is in short supply (which it often is in California) and the price somewhere near the stratosphere I expect they can be made to appear economic.
The figures quoted in this thread of 30 MW / 120 MWHrs or 20 MW / 80 MWHrs are tiddly little sources that have a runtime of just 4 hours...
The delivery of 15 GWHrs / year in some hand wavy period in 3 (nearer 4) years time would keep the UK running for 20 minutes... meaning that in 70 to 80 years there'll be enough built to power the UK for a day. Then you need to charge it...
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On Tue, 31 Jan 2017 17:36:52 +0000, Caecilius

They have experience with that technology. In a few years, they will have a glut of "part worn" batteries which have 80% of their original capacity.
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On 31/01/2017 18:53, snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com wrote:

Nissan are doing a home battery that uses used leaf batteries.
I just hope they know how to safely store all the waste from the continued reprocessing of these batteries.
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On Tue, 31 Jan 2017 17:36:52 +0000, Caecilius

'Massive' is a relative term. 'massive' compared to batteries used in electric cars, I'm sure, but no mention of capacity in GWh as far as I could see on a very quick skim through.
--

Chris

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On 31/01/2017 18:56, Chris Hogg wrote:

"AES has completed installation and is doing final testing of a 30 megawatt/120 megawatt hour plant that’s even bigger than Tesla’s 20 MW/80 MWh."
"Tesla’s ambition to single-handedly deliver 15 gigawatt hours of battery storage a year by the 2020s"
Andy
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On 1/31/2017 11:03 PM, Vir Campestris wrote:

The new Prius Li-ion battery is 4.4 kWh. So that corresponds to about 3.4 million of them. Obviously, that's a lot of batteries but presumably the price will come down at that scale.
I could see that American houses might have that many installed by the late 2020s, if the incentives are right. That volume of production a year implies centralised facilites rather than the "Tesla Wall" approach though. I wonder what sort of facility size would be optimal. Would you attach them to the transmission grid or the distribution grid (to use the UK terms).
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wrote:

logically perhaps
financially viable, not a chance
tim
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wrote:

the same 15 gigaWatts each year
or an incremental 15GW each year?
tim
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On 01/02/17 11:25, tim... wrote:

I think he means an incremental 15Gwh of storage built every year.
But its all pixie dust anyway.
15GWh is less than a kilogram of Uranium in a breeder reactor. Cost about $500 at most.
Even if that's used once every day, its still only $180,000 a year.
Now a typical lithium battery is around £2/Wh, so 15Gwh is around...£30bn... or maybe $50bn +-
You can buy several nuclear reactors and fuel for life for that...

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On 2/1/2017 11:41 AM, The Natural Philosopher wrote:

That would put a new Prius battery at £9k. I bet it's not, and there should be real economies of scale with manufacturing at the proposed level.
Suppose you can make a 5 kWh battery for £1k. Then you give households a discount of say £100 a year on their bill for making such a battery available (or tolerating occasional disconnections). With those numbers, "powerwalls" are as attractive as solar panels, for anyone with a bit of spare cash. Now, whether that makes any economic sense to a distribution company, I have no idea. But it is no different to the current green nonsense with wind and solar.
Me, I'd live next door to a nuclear power plant, or have a ton of high active waste under my garden, no problem. With a heat pump sitting on top of it.
But it all depends on how scared the neighbours are.
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(assuming you mean, not that much) I bet it is
Do you really think that HMG would subsidise leccy cars to the tune of 5-10K so that the battery manufacturers can run an 800% mark up?

a noble prize for you
tim
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wrote:

3kWhr (nominal) for 1250 euro (retail).
https://www.ev-power.eu/Winston-40Ah-200Ah/WB-LYP1000AHC-LiFeYPO4-3-2V-1000Ah-Special-product.html?cur=1
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On 01/02/17 13:30, Bill Taylor wrote:

That's LifePo4 not li-ion
and thats still 50p/Wh
So £10bn appx.
Still enough for a decent nuke.
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On 2/1/2017 2:39 PM, The Natural Philosopher wrote:

Well, 35p/Wh in fact. So £5.3bn for 15 GWh capacity. So surely it is going to be significantly cheaper in a few years time with suitable mass production?
When it is charged up, it gives you about 9 hours at the Dinorwic output of 1650 MW. That cost £425m at 1974 prices, presumably a few billion at todays prices.
According to Wikipedia there is another 50 MW scheme scheduled to open in 2018 with a capacity of 500 MWh at a cost of £120m. That's 24p per watt-hour. In other words, not all that far off the current battery price. Now, that scheme should last half a century, much longer than the batteries will. But it will also have manning and maintenance costs.
I don't think it is quite so simple to rule out a combination of batteries with intermittent renewables.
Obviously, the more we rely on renewables, the higher the capital cost of the system (both for generating and storage plant).
Of course nukes could be much cheaper too, if we managed to get international agreements on designs and licensing.
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On 01/02/17 15:51, newshound wrote:

Windmills aren't. Oil gas and coal aren't. Why should batteries be?
Lithium costs what it costs to extract.

Intermittent renewables are *already* considerably more expensive than nukes. Adding batteries will and can only make them MORE expensive
The phrase that comes to mind is 'pissing good money after bad'

Or ignore some of what we already have d
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