Energy

Tesla is building the world's biggest battery in Australia

Tesla is building the world's ...
Tesla has announced plans to build the biggest battery storage system in the world
Tesla has announced plans to build the biggest battery storage system in the world
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Tesla has announced plans to build the biggest battery storage system in the world
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Tesla has announced plans to build the biggest battery storage system in the world

Tesla's Powerwalls are starting to find their way into homes, and one of their main selling points is the way they can keep a home up and running during a blackout. Now the company has ambitious plans to extend that functionality to an entire Australian state by building the world's biggest battery storage system to keep homes powered come hell(ish summers) or high water.

In September last year, a massive storm ravaged South Australia, disrupting the state's electricity grid and leaving some 1.7 million people without power. Another storm caused more blackouts in December, while a heatwave knocked it out yet again in February this year. After that many ups and downs, in March the state government announced plans to "take charge of the state's energy future", and building a large battery storage system was a key part of that idea.

Now Tesla has been awarded the contract for this key component, which will use a scaled up version of the company's commercial Powerpack energy storage system. In fact, it'll be the largest lithium-ion battery storage facility in the world, boasting a capacity of 129 MWh and an output of up to 100 MW.

The Powerpack system will be hooked up to the Hornsdale Wind Farm under construction near Jamestown , storing energy for on-demand delivery to some 30,000 homes. The hopes are that the system will help alleviate power shortages and make the grid better able to handle on-peak demands.

Elon Musk himself bragged that the system would be up and running within 100 days or it's free, and Tesla is aiming to make good on that promise, setting the project's completion date for December.

Source: Tesla

14 comments
KN
Congratulations to the South Australian State Government! Taking up Elon Musk's promise is one of the best decisions the State Government has made on over 40 years! It's a pity the government didn't entice Elon Musk to build a Lithium Ion battery facility or a Tesla Factory or solar panels in South Australia! We have the talent and skills - but until now the State Government never had the vision to do so.
Tommo
Most ways of getting grid power involves cables on pylons, having battery storage like this still means the electricity has to be transmitted along the same power lines, so effectively it wont prevent a blackout - most of which are caused by downed lines. Great system though, the sooner we all get these the better. We have a lot of wind farms here in the UK and wold benefit greatly from this.
pmshah
So now the competition will be amongst several requiring land resources of one kind or another with increasing population. More land to grow food, to hose humans, for wind farms, solar panel farms, water storage areas and the energy storage areas. Would it not make sense to also work in the directions of negative population growth? I guess pharma companies of the world would not want that.
AngrieNole
Glad Musk is doing this someone has to lead. Lithium ion will be around for awhile but hopefully soon there will be a big leap forward in battery tech!
Kpar
While I laud Musk for trying something new (and based on existing technology!), I believe it is a terrible mistake to centralize this "battery of batteries". Decentralization is far more appropriate- otherwise there is still a significant "single point of failure"- the very thing of which South Australia was at risk, and will continue to be.
JohnnyWhite
A great project, inherently educational for battery technology. This type of project is where Musk should be putting resources, not his ridiculously prurient space ships.
Don Duncan
Do the Aussies have trouble getting reliable, electronics, clothing, food, shelter? No? Why not? Could it be the govt. does not have a monopoly on these goods? Could it be the market provides everything better than govt. can? Wouldn't removing govt. from the market solve all economic problems? Govt. cannot solve problems. It is the problem.
aksdad
South Australia already has the most expensive and most unreliable electricity of any state in Australia thanks to their rejection of coal and massive expansion of wind power. The average household pays $2,500 per year for electricity, 38% more for than a household in, for example, Western Australia at $1,800 per year. Adding battery storage will alleviate the unreliability somewhat and drive the cost even higher while doing essentially nothing to curb global temperatures. Should be fun to watch. If all the countries on earth did something similar it might reduce global temperatures by a fraction of a degree. #futilebutrighteous
Derek Howe
pmshah - What a terrible way to view the world... The Earth can (& will) support billions more people in the coming decades. The Earth is very big, with a lot of land sitting empty. JohnnyWhite - As a big fan of all things space, Hell No! I want him to build that massive spaceship, it's 2017...how long must we wait before were a space fairing civilization. Come on Musk, Make it so.
SamB
@aksdad A bit selective in your reasoning and comparisons? SA power is only marginally more expensive than the other states hooked up to the national grid (which your WA comparison is not). Why does Canberra which has a greater share of renewables have more stable power? No mention of the joys of 20+ years of privatisation and the rort that went on with the industry forcing price rises due to gold plating parts of the network? The national grid has always been about ensuring supply in Sydney and Melbourne first. Adelaide sitting at the tail end of the network was never a priority and will always be the first sacrifice when troubles arise. Good on them for standing up for themselves, noone else was going to do it.