New Zealand infrastructure firm Vector has upgraded an Auckland substation with Asia-Pacific’s first grid-scale Tesla Powerpack battery storage system to be integrated into a public electricity network.

The project was opened by New Zealand Minister of Energy and Resources Simon Bridges (above right) and Vector chief executive Simon Mackenzie (left).

With a storage capacity of 1MW/2.3MWh, the equivalent to powering 450 average homes for 2.3 hours, the Tesla Powerpack allows Vector to continue to provide a secure, reliable power supply and defer a conventional upgrade to the substation in Glen Innes, east Auckland.

This move represents a radical transformation in how Vector manages its electricity network and responds to the need for innovative infrastructure development to support growing communities.

Mackenzie says the Tesla Powerpack battery storage system could help to reduce peak demand and extend the life of the substation, deferring capital expenditure and providing supplementary power to the Glen Innes area – all without compromising reliability.

“By gauging trends such as household energy consumption, the effect of infill housing and the uptake of new energy systems, we can target growth areas and defer or avoid the significant investment required in a new substation,” Mackenzie says.

“And when connection or consumption growth requires a conventional network upgrade, we can mobilise the batteries to other parts of the network where power demand is rising.

“This is transforming the way the energy sector is managed and will have a powerful influence on consumer behaviour.”

Mackenzie says new technologies such as Tesla Powerpack allow Vector to better manage the risks associated with the NZ$2 billion that needs to be invested in its Auckland networks over the next 10 years.

Vector says its network is evolving to deliver the benefits of smart meters, efficient and cost-effective solar panels, batteries, and an expanding network of electric vehicle charging infrastructure and energy management services to customers.