When completed, this will be China's largest virtual power plant.
Batteries Not Included
The Chinese government approved the plans for a massive energy storage grid in Gansu Province on Monday, according to a statement by the Gansu Provincial Development & Reform Commission.
The project is scheduled to be completed this coming year according to Bloomberg — a colossal infrastructure investment that underscores China's growing financial commitment to clean, renewable energy.
The proposed energy storage grid, also known as a virtual power plant because it serves as a source of energy even if the batteries store rather than generate it, would be the largest in the country — the first phase of construction is expected to cost 1.2 billion yuan ($174 million.)
As of September, China generated 706 gigawatts of solar and wind electricity, Bloomberg reports. But without infrastructure to support the power being generated, some of it went to waste.
According to the government statement, the virtual power plant would have a capacity of 720 MWh and could store unused electricity for four hours. For comparison, that's almost two thirds the capacity of Tesla's proposed "Megapack" energy storage system, which would bring a 1,200 MWh virtual power plant to California.
With a large-scale battery storage facility, people in Gansu will be able to rely on clean energy as needed rather than having to revert to fossil fuels when the sun goes down or the wind stops blowing.
READ MORE: China Approves Its 1st Big Power Storage Pilot in Renewable Push [Bloomberg]
More on virtual power plants: Tesla Gets Green Light To Create The World’s Largest Virtual Solar Plant In South Australia