PG&E applies to build Tesla’s largest battery farm yet in Silicon Valley

Tesla’s largest-ever Powerpack installation may be coming to Northern California. Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) applied to the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) for approval for a utility-owned 182.5 MW energy storage farm using Tesla Powerpacks at the company’s energy storage site in Moss Landing.

PG&E also sought approval for three third-party owned energy storage projects. One of the third-party projects will have a larger initial capacity than the Tesla project. The Tesla project, however, would have an expansion capacity of 1.1 GW.

The storage projects’ purpose is to help keep electrical power levels even for PG&E customers. The storage facilities would feed power to the grid when consumption exceeds normal levels and during blackouts or other service interruptions.

The three additional projects and their respective storage capacities are Dynegy Marketing and Trade, LLC, 300 MWh; Hummingbird Energy Storage, 75 MW; and Micronoc Inc., 10 MW. All four projects would use lithium-ion battery storage technology and be located in the utility’s South Bay — Moss Landing area, which services from the South Bay area to California’s central coast. The coverage area encompasses Silicon Valley.

The projects will have enough storage capacity to provide power to the region’s electrical grid for four hours. If the Tesla project expands to the max, its discharge duration will increase to six hours and provide six times as much energy as the initial installation.

Tesla’s 100 MW battery farm in South Australia, switched on December 1 has already proved its value. In the first four months of service, the costs for ancillary services to fill in for power interruptions in the region decreased by a full 90 percent, according to McKinsey and Co.

PG&E is looking for improved service and reduced costs from the proposed projects.

“Energy storage plays an increasingly important role in California’s clean energy future, and while it has been a part of PG&E’s power mix for decades — starting with the Helms Pumped Storage Plant in the 1980s — recent decreases in battery prices are enabling energy storage to become a competitive alternative to traditional solutions. As a result, we believe that battery energy storage will be even more significant in enhancing overall grid reliability, integrating renewables, and helping customers save energy and money,” Roy Kuga, vice president, Grid Integration and Innovation, PG&E, said in a statement.

Smart Home

This super-cool tiny home with a living wall lived at the UN this summer

This tiny home is a collaboration between Yale University and Gray Organschi Architecture that can potentially be produced for less than $50,000 and assembled on site within three days.
Mobile

Google, Samsung, OnePlus, and Huawei face off in an Android battle royale

The good news is that there are some great options in the Android smartphone market right now. The bad news is that too much choice makes it tough to decide. We compare the Pixel 3 XL, the Galaxy Note 9, the OnePlus 6T, and the Mate 20 Pro.
Photography

Get your Sagan on with 60 awe-inspiring photos of the final frontier

Few things instill a sense of wonder quite like the final frontier. The best space photos show off the beauty of Earth, our solar system, and the far corners of the universe. Here are our current favorites.
Cars

Ares turns the Tesla Model S into a two-door roadster with Italian flair

Italian coachbuilder Ares has done what Tesla won't. It's taking a Model S, chopping off the roof, and sending the rear doors back to the parts bin to create a roadster that's ready for the French Riviera.
Smart Home

Thanksgiving in an Instant ... Pot? Here are our favorite recipes

Did you know you can cook the majority, if not all, of your Thanksgiving menu items in your Instant Pot? It's all about picking the right recipes. These are our picks for the best Instant Pot recipes for Turkey Day.
Smart Home

You can now use Amazon Echo Buttons to set up multitasking Routines

Amazon announced that its Echo Buttons now work with Routines. You can craft custom Routines — multiple tasks performed together — and have Alexa carry out the command for you when you hit the Echo Button.
Product Review

You don't need Alexa in your microwave, but you'd be surprised what she can do

Amazon has added to its long portfolio of products with the AmazonBasics Microwave, a small appliance that works with Alexa. We took the microwave for a test drive to find out more.
Smart Home

Amazon has a huge team dedicated to enhancing Alexa and Echo

An Amazon executive on Tuesday, November 13 revealed the huge size of the team that's tasked with developing the Echo, the company's smart speaker, and Alexa, the digital assistant that powers it.
Smart Home

Ecobee announces Black Friday deals on smart thermostats and smart switches

Ecobee's 2018 Black Friday deals are live. Ecobee's smart thermostats and smart wall switch are compatible with smart home voice assistant systems including Amazon Alexa, Google Home, Apple HomeKit, and Samsung SmartThings.
Deals

Here are the best Amazon Echo and Google Home deals for Black Friday

Google Home and Amazon Echo smart speakers compete head to head when it comes to smart home tech. Whether you're a fan of Alexa or Google Home, we've found the best prices on your favorite smart home devices.
Smart Home

Wynd’s new air-purifying bundle lets smart home owners breathe easier

Wynd is already well known in the tech industry for its popular Kickstarter-backed air purifier and now the company is launching two new products designed to improve air quality to inform smart home owners.
Smart Home

Google Assistant adds smart home bells and whistles in time for the holidays

Just in time for the holidays, Google Assistant is introducing a bunch of new smart home features, including the ability to reply to broadcast messages, create and use cookbooks, and access enhanced storybook content for kids.
Smart Home

Brew it fast, hot, and flavorful with our favorite coffee makers

Whether you're looking for a simple coffee maker to get you through the morning or a high-end brewer that will impress your taste buds and your friends, you'll find some of the best coffee makers around on this list.
Emerging Tech

These Alexa-stuffed retro phones don’t listen until you take them off the hook

Looking for an Amazon Echo with a cool vintage touch? Los Angeles-based Grain Design is taking old, non-working antique phones and transforming them into amazing Alexa smart speakers.