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Nova Scotia Power testing Tesla battery system in Elmsdale

Nova Scotia Power's Jill Searle says the batteries could provide electricity during peak usage times and could also operate during an power outage
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Nova Scotia Power building in Halifax (Meghan Groff/HalifaxToday.ca)

Ten homes in Elmsdale are testing a cutting-edge battery storage system from Tesla.

A large battery called a "Powerpack" is being installed at the neighbourhood's substation, and each home will get an energy storage "Powerwall."

Nova Scotia Power's Smart Grid Program Manager, Jill Searle, told NEWS 95.7's The Rick Howe Show the utility is looking to see what value these batteries can provide to customers and to the grid.

"If we're looking at wind generation or solar generation on our system, those sources are intermittent," she explained. "So being able to charge the batteries with wind or solar when it's available, and then dispatch the batteries when we need the power, that's the type of thing we're looking at with the battery project."

She said, instead of relying on fossil fuel-generated energy, the batteries could provide electricity during peak usage times and could also operate during an power outage.

"We know there's some challenges around using batteries as generation primarily, but they do help bridge that gap between the renewable generation," said Searle, "We'll see how the pilot project goes, to see where the value is for customers in battery storage."

The test runs until 2019, but Nova Scotia will maintain these batteries until they no longer work, which according to Searle is 10 to 15 years.

The pilot project price tag is $3.4 million. After some funding from the federal government, the cost to Nova Scotia Power customers is $2.7 million, which is part of the utility's annual capital plan.




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