Tesla delivers on promise of battery storage for Australia

Tesla‘s giant lithium-ion storage battery, reputed to be the world’s largest, has commenced delivering power to the Australian grid.

Company CEO Elon Musk had promised to deliver the project on time within 100 days or provide the battery for free. They finished it in 60 days.

Located near Jamestown, about 200km (125 miles) north of Adelaide, the battery is connected to the Hornsdale wind farm run by French energy company Neoen. When fully charged, the battery can power up to 30,000 homes for an hour. However, it will mostly be used to support and stabilise existing electricity supplies.
Tesla battery storage Australia
It’s a major boost for South Australia’s government, who came under fire last year after a power blackout, with the national government criticising it for poor energy policy.

Since then, South Australia has focused on building greater resiliency into its energy system
It has been subsidised by the state government, which is building greater resiliency into its power network following blackouts last year that sparked a nationwide debate about the reliability of renewable energy.

The storm-induced blackout cost businesses in the state A$367m last year, according to business lobby groups, but spurred the Labour-led state government to allocate A$550m to a suite of energy reliability projects, including a gas fired power plant; additional incentives to attract more gas for use in South Australia; new government powers to direct operators to provide energy; and the Tesla battery.

Tesla’s battery is connected to the Hornsdale wind farm, which has 99 turbines with a generation capacity of 315MW. It can provide roughly 129MW hours of power for the national grid when shortfalls emerge at peak times during summer or during severe weather events. “The battery will bring essential grid stability by providing a fast injection of power. But it will not solve the problem of blackouts on its own,” said Franck Woitiez, managing director of Neoen Australia, which owns the wind farm and the battery.

“The completion of the world’s largest lithium-ion battery in record time shows that a sustainable, effective energy solution is possible,” said Tesla in a statement at the battery’s official launch on Friday.

It marks the latest phase of a lithium-ion battery revolution, which advocates say is transforming the world’s energy systems by enabling the integration of low-cost solar and wind power into national grids.

However critics, including Australian PM Malcolm Turnbull believe that coal-fired power still has a firm place in the country’s energy mix, citing renewable energy intermittency.

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