81 Tesla Megapacks Are Helping Texas Keep The Grid Stabilized

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Tesla is helping Texas with 81 Megapacks to avoid a repeat of last year’s winter disaster. Gail Alfar gave me a call yesterday and as I was turning on my air conditioner (it was in the 70s here and really warm in my home), she told me that Austin was iced in. My first reaction was “oh crap, that means we will freeze tomorrow” — usually Baton Rouge catches whatever weather Austin has a day later.

Fortunately for us, the temperatures won’t be in the teens here as it is for Gail and the rest of Austin. However, we are pretty much upon the anniversary of that horrendous freeze that devastated Texas and the rest of the south last February. Here in Louisiana, there was a joke that hell would freeze over if Mardi Gras was ever canceled, and the freeze happened for us on Mardi Gras day (and yes, it was canceled due to Covid-19).

This year, Tesla is settling into its nice new headquarters and is having a positive impact on the state. Gail shared the following tweet with a video from Tesla’s YouTube channel explaining how the 81 Tesla Megapacks will provide 200 MWh of energy in support of the Texas grid during outages.

Elon Musk replied to Gail, pointing out that Tesla is working hard to provide even more Megapacks to help stabilize the grid. Although the storm impacted the South, Texas was hit pretty hard. Up north in Shreveport, LA, which is my hometown, I had friends telling me that their pipes had frozen and burst. There were boil water advisories and here in south Louisiana I was among the lucky ones who not only didn’t lose power but had running water.

Pro tip: always drip your faucets during this type of freezing weather. If the temp gets to 32°F, drip all of your faucets.

Texas was hit harder because it has its own separate grid operated by the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), and unlike the rest of the South, which could borrow from the broader grid, Texas couldn’t since it’s not connected. This year, Tesla is now headquartered in Austin and the Megapacks are helping to stabilize the grid.

KHOU-11 reported a little while ago that the Texas power grid has been holding up as the winter storm has hit the state. The Texas Tribune noted that this time around, the weather isn’t expected to be as severe or last as long as last year’s freeze did. The article noted that this could be the power grid’s first significant test since the freeze. Governor Greg Abbot and other Texas politicians and officials don’t expect the grid to have issues like it did last year, but added that no one can guarantee that there won’t be local power outages throughout the state.

There are weaknesses in the state’s natural gas system which fuels a majority of the power generation in the state, and if the natural gas supply isn’t functioning at full strength during the below-freezing temperatures, the Texas power plants running on gas will not be able to meet the electricity demand needed on the grid.

Last year, Bloomberg and a few others were reporting on this secret Megapack project in Texas. Recently, Tesla shared a video about the installation.

In the video, Tesla said that Angelton, Texas, was selected for the installation of 81 Tesla Megapacks that will contribute a total of 200 MWh of energy. This would allow Texas to participate in the energy market while supporting the Texas grid during outages. In the video, Tesla said:

“In February 2021, parts of Texas lost power for three days while temperatures dropped below 14 degrees Fahrenheit. As more people turned up their heat, electricity demand increased and the grid went down. Tesla Megapacks will now provide support to the grid by helping to balance demand, lower energy costs, and keep the lights on.”

Tesla is giving back to its new home state by helping it keep the grid stabilized during events that cause outages. Hopefully, the 81 Megapacks will help during this vicious winter storm (vicious by southern standards). For those who mock and scorn us for not being able to take the cold, I invite you down to Baton Rouge in late September. While it may be fall for many, for us, it’s just an extension of the hot and humid summers of the US South. Pro tip: drink lots of water or you could die of heatstroke.

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Johnna Crider

Johnna owns less than one share of $TSLA currently and supports Tesla's mission. She also gardens, collects interesting minerals and can be found on TikTok

Johnna Crider has 1996 posts and counting. See all posts by Johnna Crider