Will Tesla batteries kill off nuclear plants?

According to a report by Forbes, Tesla’s recently introduced Powerpack battery is so cheap that windmills + batteries combination might be cheaper than nuclear power plants, right now.

So, what’s the fuss all about? The Oncor Electric Delivery Company found out last year that it would be cost effective for them to install giant batteries on Oncor’s grid in Texas – if they could be bought for $350 (£229) per kilowatt hour of capacity, or less.

However, the cost of batteries at that time was twice as much, and Oncor predicted it wouldn’t be possible before 2020. However, Tesla’s Powerpack battery costs $250/kWh (£164/kWh).

“There’s nothing remotely at these price points,” said Tesla product architect Elon Musk.

And the results are clearly visible: there are a couple of net benefits of storage from a customer perspective:

“Since the use of storage can reduce power purchase costs by reducing power purchases during system peaks (net of purchases during off-peak periods), this value will directly affect customer bills. However, after considering the market price impacts of generation investment response, we estimate that power purchase cost savings are quite small across a wide range of storage investments”, the analysts from The Brattle Group, found.

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

“The combined value of these benefits exceeds the costs of storage by a substantial margin across a range of deployment levels,” the Texas study concludes. And remember, that’s with hypothetical batteries up to $100 (£65) more expensive per kilowatt hour than Tesla’s.