The future could be looking sunnier after Tesla founder Elon Musk last week unveiled a suite of batteries for homes and businesses.
It’s uncertain how the batteries might affect the energy sector as a whole, but there’s a lot of chatter about their potential for big changes.
The problem with sun and wind is there has been no practical way to store the energy they produce. And the Tesla batteries could solve that problem. Widespread availability of affordable battery storage could unlock the full potential of solar energy.
People in the electricity industry are now looking at what the impact could be on a large scale, including the type of grid needed and planned for in the future.
Right now, power plants produce the majority of electricity in Canada and the power is transferred to homes on transmission lines. Slowly, power grids have had to become two-way as some buildings produce some electricity that is sent back on the grid. Batteries would increase the amount sent back, and could change how utilities plan future infrastructure.
“It’s going to raise some challenges for sure, but ideally, we will get to a more robust, more flexible, and ultimately a less expensive system to operate than if we continued with business as usual,” said John Rilett, director of distributed generation for Enmax, an Alberta utility that operates power plants and the electricity grid in Calgary.
Speaking about Tesla he said: “They have a pretty strong track record of new products that do catch on and grow. “We’re watching it, but nobody really knows where it will go.”
Tesla’s in-home battery pack coming to Canada
Canadians home dwellers will be able to get their hands on a Tesla Powerwall battery in early 2016.
The innovative in-home battery pack is being brought to Canada by Annette Verschuren, the former Home Depot Canada boss who now runs the energy storage company NRStor Inc.