What is Trainsmission?
Trainsmission is the concept of transporting high-capacity batteries via rail to load centers. Working with our freight rail partners, SunTrain delivers megawatts to gigawatts of renewable energy using existing rail resources. The SunTrain solution addresses structurally-constrained areas of the power grid where demand for green energy exists, but there is no cost-effective way to supply that energy.
How We Deliver Energy
Renewable energy from remote solar and wind farms uses SunTrain equipment to charge customized batteries affixed to rail cars. The rail cars are transported over the existing rail network. Upon arriving at a destination, SunTrain discharge equipment, which eliminates the requirement for a human operator, is used to deploy the power.
Benefits of Trainsmission
Trainsmission is a key tool in a just energy transition that relieves the impacts of carbon emissions on nearby communities.
It is an innovative solution for workforce transition in the coal sector for both electric utilities and railroad operators. It “repowers” coal unit trains with batteries charged by clean energy while at the same time avoids the challenges of building new electric transmission. This could help accelerate the energy transition and provide a solution for workers facing uncertain futures otherwise.
In dense urban areas spikes in energy demand are covered by natural gas peakers. The SunTrain batteries are mobile peakers. They are charged from zero emission generation sources and moved to an urban area to replace the use of a natural gas peaker.
SunTrain can also deliver lower prices. Solar and wind have levelized costs of energy which are approximately half that of natural gas peakers and one-third that of coal-fired power. Even with capital and operating expenses, SunTrain power can be cheaper than grid power during high-cost windows such as 4-9 p.m.
Resiliency of energy delivery is also enhanced by using a completely different network, the existing rail network, for delivery of energy. As an example, if a local grid fails due to extreme weather or other natural disasters, a SunTrain with more than a GWh of energy could be dispatched to reboot the grid.
It creates an entirely new tool for utility operators to optimize grid operations and relieve unexpected congestion over time by changing SunTrain discharge destinations between substations with excess renewable supply and those that would otherwise be capacity constrained.