A New England utility has rushed to embrace Tesla's new Powerwall battery as a key future technology as a revolution sweeps the utility sector.
Mary Powell, president and chief executive officer of Green Mountain Power, told The Energy Times Friday that her utility is delighted to be the first utility to strike a deal with Elon Musk's Tesla to bring the futuristic batteries to its service territory.
"This is the technology of the future," she said.
"We are using them as an extension of a transformation we are already doing," Powell said as she prepared to leave California after attending Tesla's industry-captivating announcement Thursday evening.
"The real game-change is that it doesn't look like your grandmother's battery," Powell said. It will be a rechargeable lithium-ion battery that mounts on a wall.
The electric grid, today a primary source of power, will one day be a backup, Powell said. Battery storage linked to solar and wind generation will be increasingly prevalent, she said.
Deployment of the battery will help Green Mountain's largely rural customers deal with weather caused outages, providing backup power when the lines go down in blizzards or wind storms, she said.
"This has resiliency value," Powell said.
A network of batteries will be available for Green Mountain to tap in periods of peak power demand - lessening costs for all customers, she added.
Green Mountain expects to take possession of 500 Powerwall batteries in October, she said. Some may be utility-owned with customers making payments for the service through their utility bill. Others may be purchased outright by customers.
"We will work with customers to come up with the model that works best for them," Powell said.
Josh Castonguay, Green Mountain director of generation and renewable innovation, said that he has been in touch with Tesla for several years charting the evolution of that company from electric vehicle manufacturer, to EV battery producer - and now - battery producer poised to turn the electric utility world upside down.
"It's awesome," he said. "I am psyched."
In its official press release, Tesla underscored Green Mountain Power's ambitions, quoting the utility as stating: " As Vermont’s energy company of the future, we are turning the old utility model on its head."