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The final of three Tesla Megapack batteries are lowered into place at Saint John Energy's Somerset Street substation on Sept. 8, 2023. Image: Submitted/Saint John Energy

Saint John Energy adding 3 giant storage batteries to its grid

By Brad Perry Sep 26, 2023 | 2:37 PM

Saint John Energy will soon have the largest battery capacity of any electric utility in Eastern Canada.

The electric utility is currently installing three Tesla Megapack batteries at its Somerset Street substation.

“We can store upwards of 12 megawatt hours, which is about equivalent to 3,100 homes for about two hours,” Andrew Ahearn, engineering manager with Saint John Energy, said in a recent interview.

The trio of batteries, which arrived on Sept. 8, are not the utility’s first foray into energy storage.

Saint John Energy was the first in the world to deploy a Tesla Megapack at its Millidgeville substation in 2020.

Ahearn said one of the uses is being able to store excess green energy from the Burchill Wind Project and use it at different times.

RELATED: Saint John’s first wind project marks grand opening

“When we’re peaking with the wind but we don’t necessarily have enough load to absorb all of the wind, we can take advantage of these batteries to help store that green energy to use it later at times of need,” he said.

Saint John Energy can also store electricity at times of low demand and use it during peaks in the summer and winter months, helping to save money and curb greenhouse gas emissions.

Ahearn said the new batteries should be installed and connected to the grid by January — just in time for the coldest winter months.

“The most benefit we get from them is during those winter months where the peaks are shorter in duration, so we’re able to discharge the batteries at a higher rate because the peaks aren’t as long as they are in the summer,” he said.

Funding for the batteries was part of a nearly $50-million investment from Natural Resources Canada for the Burchill Wind Project.