Tesla to build 100-megawatt battery for South Australia in 100 days

World’s largest battery to help provide stability to state’s power supply

Image credit: Tesla

Image credit: Tesla

Tesla will build the world’s largest lithium-ion battery to provide stability and backup for South Australia’s power grid.

The government announced today that the US company and French company Neoen, which operates the Hornsdale Wind Farm in the state, would partner to deliver the 100-megawatt (129 megawatt-hour) Tesla Powerpack energy storage system.

The agreement will see the expansion of the Hornsdale facility.

“Tesla Powerpack will charge using renewable energy from the Hornsdale Wind Farm and then deliver electricity during peak hours to help maintain the reliable operation of South Australia's electrical infrastructure,” said a Tesla blog entry.

“The Tesla Powerpack system will further transform the state’s movement towards renewable energy and see an advancement of a resilient and modern grid.”

When it’s completed, the battery will be have enough capacity to provide power for more than 30,000 homes, which is approximately the number that lost power in September after severe storms that disrupted electricity transmission, Tesla said.

The company has previously rolled out a 20-megawatt energy storage facility in California.

The state government in March invited expressions of interest for the construction of a grid-scale battery as part of its $550 million energy plan. There were some 90 expressions of interest lodged in response.

“South Australian customers will be the first to benefit from this technology, which will demonstrate that large-scale battery storage is both possible and now, commercially viable,” Neoen deputy CEO Romain Desrousseaux said.

Tesla has previously said the company would commit to delivering the battery within 100 days or it will be free.

“We actually insisted in writing in doing the contract that we be held to the 100 days or it’s free,” CEO Elon Musk today told a press conference. “Because that’s what we said publicly — that’s what we’re going to do.”

The 100 day deadline will commence once a grid interconnection agreement is signed.

“There is certainly some risk because this is going to be the largest battery installation in the world by a significant margin,” Musk said.

“This is a 100-megawatt battery installation. The next biggest battery system in the world is 30 megawatts – so we’re talking about something that is more than three times as powerful as the next biggest battery installation in the world.

The battery will operate continuously to provide stability services for renewable energy generators, the state government said.

“South Australia has been leading the nation in renewable energy — now we are leading the world in battery storage,” said SA premier, Jay Weatherill. Battery storage “is the future of the national energy market,” he said.

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