Energy

Tesla to build "humungous" 300-megawatt battery in Australia

Tesla to build "humungous" 300...
A monster 300-megawatt battery pack is to be built outside Geelong, Australia, to accelerate the transition to renewables while stabilizing the power grid
A monster 300-megawatt battery pack is to be built outside Geelong, Australia, to accelerate the transition to renewables while stabilizing the power grid
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A monster 300-megawatt battery pack is to be built outside Geelong, Australia, to accelerate the transition to renewables while stabilizing the power grid
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A monster 300-megawatt battery pack is to be built outside Geelong, Australia, to accelerate the transition to renewables while stabilizing the power grid
Tesla will be supplying its Megapack batteries, along with its Autobidder energy trading and control software platform
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Tesla will be supplying its Megapack batteries, along with its Autobidder energy trading and control software platform
The installation will be built near the Moorabool Terminal Station, near Geelong – some 70 km southwest of Melbourne
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The installation will be built near the Moorabool Terminal Station, near Geelong – some 70 km southwest of Melbourne
View gallery - 3 images

South Australia's neighboring state of Victoria has upped the ante on grid-scale batteries with the announcement that it's partnering with Tesla to build a colossal 300-megawatt battery for grid stabilization and renewable energy storage.

The "humungous battery," or Victorian Big Battery Megapack, will be built near Geelong, some 70 km (43 miles) southwest of Melbourne, and will offer surge capabilities up to 300 megawatts, and 450 megawatt-hours of energy storage.

It's three times bigger than the original 100-MW Tesla system built at Hornsdale in South Australia, which was the biggest in the world when it was built just three years ago and has now been upsized to 150 MW. Tesla won't be making any 100-day delivery promises this time; the installation won't open until the Australian summer at the end of 2021.

Geelong has been chosen as a location that's well connected to wind farms on the south coast, large solar installations in the north of Victoria, and transmission lines connecting much of the state and the national power grid. Its Autobidder software will constantly make decisions on where the energy can best be used.

Tesla will be supplying its Megapack batteries, along with its Autobidder energy trading and control software platform
Tesla will be supplying its Megapack batteries, along with its Autobidder energy trading and control software platform

The installation will be paid for by French renewable energy company Neoen, which already runs Australia's largest solar farm among many other projects. Victorian consumers will pay for the use of the battery through their power bills – but the South Australia project has shown that Victorian power bills will go down, not up, as a result. This project will allow coal-fired power stations to run at more consistent and predictable (hence cheaper) outputs, letting the instant response times of the Big Battery deal with load spikes.

It'll also be huge for the Victorian renewable energy market, acting as excellent buffer storage for wind, solar and other renewable energy that isn't always generated exactly when it's needed.

The immediate success and cash savings demonstrated by the South Australia project has inspired governments all over the world to consider large-scale battery storage, said Tesla Chairman Robyn Denholm, agreeing with CEO Elon Musk that the grid-scale energy side of the business could eventually grow to be just as important as the automotive side. It's also no less significant to the company's core mission: "People think of Tesla and they think of the vehicles," she said in a Zoom conference, "and they're fabulous vehicles, but our mission as a company is to accelerate the world's transition to renewable energy."

Prepare to see a lot more of these giant battery projects; the first terawatt battery won't be too far away. The video below provides a preview of the Victorian Big Battery.

Victoria locks in huge 300-megawatt Tesla battery

Source: Premier of Victoria

View gallery - 3 images
7 comments
martinwinlow
Interesting that Australia, up till now having had consistent governance that clearly demonstrated its utter contempt for renewables (despite the fact that it is one of the most consistently sunny countries on the planet and with 90% of its landmass completely empty), is now leading the world in this (energy storage) field... or that's the impression I'm getting - who else is doing large scale battery storage systems?
PB
First, I'm amazed that the financing, and, consequently, the profit from this venture if going to a French company. This is bizarre. Australian based companies are seeking energy ventures and this one is going abroad? Why? Is there a "favour" changing hands here? Has there been bidding to participate? I smell a rat.
Responding to Martin's question "who else is doing large scale battery storage systems?" - nobody Martin. Not even California which has wind and desert. I used to chat with the head of renewables at Sthn California Edixon, the big utility company, and he explained that the sun doesn't shine all the time, and the wind doesn't blow, so they have to make investment in conventional power generation as well as renewables so, while they benefit from wind and sun, there is no real savings.
The battery systems can accommodate a peak surge for a short while, so the benefit is not substitution for conventional systems, but a top-off so that there are no brown outs, and distribution systems don't exceed design capacity. Imagine a hot day and everyone chooses to turn on their air conditioning at 2 pm - the batteries would handle the demand for an hour or so.
Interestingly, there is a county on the north side of San Francisco which has legislated that no gas connections are allowed, by code, in new construction. If this spreads then imagine the increased demand for electricity?
Sione Faatulogalofaa
@PB, French company's have been active in Victoria's electricity (and desal plant?) since the beginning of privatisation of state assets ... was it the 90's? Damn I'm getting old. The company in question already owns generation assets in Victoria.

@Martin, until recently Australia had close to the highest retail electricity rates in the world. If renewables are crossing that threshold into being reliably cheaper it would make sense that a developed country with high costs (and for Australia a need to replace retiring generation assets) would be one of the first to attract the new investment in cheaper generation.
Kenb.
It seems ludicrous that a French company is footing the bill, when an Australian development bank could be created, keeping ownership and jobs within Australia.
Do I smell more brown paper bags being handed out within the current administration?
Sadly, this type of decision is surely putting Australian resources more and more under foreign ownership and control, with profits going o'seas.

Eddy
Amazed that in this climate of almost no cost for money that our Aust govt. does not embark on its own battery and renewable building spree to prepare us for the imminent closing of end of life coal fired stations instead of relying on foreigners to continue owning most of our essential service power and selling it back to us at a huge exported profit at our poor consumers expense.
ljaques
I'm in Oregon, USA and our electric company parent is now a Canadian company. I'm not in favor of essential services being outsourced like that, as their availability could end during problems in some other part of the world. Kenb, the French company isn't footing the bill. They're investing in the lucrative production of energy for sale to AU.
SH
@PB. Would it be feasible to discharge 300Mw in one hour?