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Tesla’s new battery in Belgium shows value is in dispatch speed


Tesla Powerpacks balancing the grid in Terhills, Belgium.

Thus far, batteries haven’t taken over grids around the world. Due to the sheer expense of batteries, large installations have generally been government mandated or heavily subsidized. In South Australia, though, Tesla’s giant 100MW/129MWh battery has seen a lot of success—not by selling power to meet general demand but by providing so-called “frequency response services.” And a company called Restore has just partnered with Tesla to replicate that success for itself in Belgium.

In South Australia, Tesla Powerpacks are charged by the energy from a nearby wind farm, and the battery installation dispatches electricity to the grid when grid frequency suddenly drops. Grid frequency—a measure of current that must be held constant for the grid to work properly—is vitally important to the functioning of any grid system.

In Europe, for example, a recent power dispute between Serbia and Kosovo led average frequency on the Continental Europe Power System to drop to 49.996Hz instead of the required 50Hz, which resulted in oven and microwave clocks everywhere across Europe being six minutes slow after just a month of these conditions.

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