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In every tech transition, there are innovative leaders who bring the first products and projects to market. While those are cutting edge when they come out, after a few years, they are clearly out of date. The growth and evolution of grid-scale batteries has gotten to the point where it’s now time to say goodbye to early, first-gen battery storage projects. Thankfully, Redwood Materials, founded by Tesla co-founder and longtime CTO JB Straubel, is already here to help.

JB Straubel at Kaua‘i Island Utility Cooperative (KIUC) grid-scale battery project. Image courtesy of Redwood Materials.

Hawaiʻi has been an early leader in solar energy and energy storage deployment. Hawaiʻi’s Kaua‘i Island Utility Cooperative (KIUC) now has a 4.6 MWh battery storage system that is ready for decommissioning, and KIUC has acquired the help of Redwood Materials for that process as well as recycling of those batteries.

“KIUC stands apart in its approach to energy. Founded in 2002, they’ve been pivotal in guiding Hawaii’s shift to renewables, often achieving 100% renewable power generation on sunlit days,” Redwood writes.

“The Anahola Solar initiative stands as a testament to this dedication. More than just a utility-scale solar venture, it represented KIUC’s foresight into the next era of energy and stationary storage. As this site reaches its end-of-life, Redwood is managing its sustainable and responsible decommissioning, transport, and recycling at our Northern Nevada facility.”

Frankly, I find it surprising that we’re already at this stage! It feels like only yesterday that we started covering large battery energy storage projects. And that’s why people like JB Straubel are so important to this world. The EV revolution was barely getting rolling when he left Tesla in order to focus on Redwood Materials and battery recycling. At the time, it seemed quite early for someone so valuable to Tesla and the EV transition to jump into this field. Now, though, projects like this — as well as recycling of EV batteries — are the frontier of the cleantech industry, and we need intelligent, practical, sustainably minded people like Straubel leading the way.

“As we think about long-term battery circularity, stationary storage decommissioning and recycling are an integral part of our business. Our recent partnership with Southern Company and EPRI in Georgia also demonstrates our ongoing work in this growing sector. With each project, we’re clearing the path for newer more efficient systems and ensuring resources are managed responsibly and effectively throughout their lifecycle,” Redwood adds.

It may not be as sexy as Tesla Insane Mode, but it’s extremely important. A big applause is due for both Redwood and KIUC for taking up the leadership mantle. I’m clapping my hands right now*. Join in and do the same.

*Well, not literally.


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