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New Tesla battery installed at SLO water treatment plant 

New Tesla battery installed at SLO water treatment plant

– The City of San Luis Obispo’s Utilities Department recently marked a milestone in its commitment to “leading by example in climate action work.” The Department successfully installed a Tesla battery storage system at the Water Treatment Plant to support resiliency, sustainability, and energy efficiency.

Tesla battery at the SLO Water Treatment Plant

“The installation of the Tesla battery system at our water treatment plant is a testament to our city’s commitment to sustainability, innovation, and resilience. I’m proud of the work our team has done to make this vision a reality,” said City Utilities Director Aaron Floyd. “This project not only exemplifies the positive impact of grant-funded initiatives but also demonstrates our dedication to providing clean, reliable, and cost-effective services to our community. It’s a win-win for both our residents and the environment.”

The Tesla battery has a capacity of 644 kilowatt-hours (kWh) and has been seamlessly added into the operations of the water treatment plant. Thanks to grant funding, the project comes at no cost to the community and advances the city’s goal to have carbon-neutral municipal operations by 2030, and is taking steps to reduce operational greenhouse gas emissions and impacts on the community’s energy grid.

Three key benefits of the Tesla battery system:

  1. Smoothing peak energy demand: The water treatment plant relies heavily on energy during equipment start-up and peak operational periods, which can strain the power grid and escalate electrical costs. The Tesla battery system will shift energy demand to the battery during these high-demand periods, effectively reducing spikes in energy consumption and relieving pressure on the PG&E power grid.
  2. Optimizing energy use: The Tesla battery can be charged during periods when electricity is cheapest, most abundant, and provided from clean sources such as solar and wind. Once charged during off-peak hours, the battery can be programmed to power operations during peak energy demand periods when power is expensive, the power grid is stressed, and the grid is more reliant on energy from less sustainable sources.
  3. Enhancing resilience: When charged, the Tesla battery will be utilized to power the water treatment plant if there is a scheduled or unscheduled loss in PG&E power to the facility. Seamless transition from PG&E power to battery power is important, as it will ensure continuous operation of the facility while reducing the use of the onsite backup diesel generator (further reducing greenhouse gas emissions). The Tesla battery pack is estimated to be capable of operating the entire water treatment plant and the city’s largest water pump station for up to seven hours.

For several years, the city has been upgrading and replacing equipment at the water treatment plant to modernize the facility and improve the plant’s resiliency while reducing electrical demands. This particular project began last year in collaboration with PG&E’s Self-Generation Incentive Program to allow the plant to shift energy use from the PG&E grid to the battery without interrupting operations.


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