By Denise Wong
Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows, Liberty Utilities, and Tesla are partnering for a proposed project that would bring an energy storage system to the North Tahoe region. For six years, they’ve been working on what they’re calling The Olympic Valley Microgrid Project — which would use innovative battery storage technology to store surplus energy and deliver that stored energy to the utility’s grid. It could provide backup power to Liberty Utility’s customers in the area in the event of an electrical outage.
“We’re proposing to have battery storage at the end of one of our utility lines that will create a microgrid for the Olympic Valley area. We’re going to back up our entire grid with Tesla batteries,” says Andy Wirth, President and COO of Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows. “These are batteries made just down the road east of Reno at the Tesla gigafactory.”
Battery energy storage can facilitate the use of renewable energy sources, which is important to the Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows. Just last week, it announced its plan to power the resort with 100 percent renewable energy as early as December 2018.
“It’s a really exciting project,” says JB Straubel, Tesla cofounder and CTO. “It’s going to be great deploying these products that we make right here in the Reno-area, so close to home. We’ve built batteries for places all around the world and this will be the biggest installation we have just a few miles away from Reno.”