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Back in March, Elon Musk made a bet: he said that Tesla could install an energy storage system in Australia that would help prevent blackouts like the one that hit Southern Australia last year—and it could install it and switch it on in just 100 days.
Now, Tesla has announced it is ready to install “the world’s largest lithium-ion battery storage project.”
According to a news release from the company, the project will be completed by December this year, which means it will probably take more than 100 days—but the parameters seem to be the same as the ones Musk discussed with Australian tech billionaire Mike Cannon-Brookes: 100 MW/129 MWh.
There is no mention about the price per MW, which Musk said in his Tweet exchange with Cannon-Brookes would be US$250. Some Twitter commenters on Tesla’s release said there were cheaper bids in the tender that Tesla won.
Tesla will partner with renewable energy provider Neoen and will charge from its Hornsdale Wind Farm in the state. According to Tesla, the storage system will be capable of supplying power for more than 30,000 homes. At the same time, Tesla noted, it is installing individual energy storage systems—the Tesla Powerwall—across Australia.
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Last year’s blackout left 1.7 million people without electricity and prompted PM Malcolm Turnbull to lash out at state regulations that have encouraged what he believed was too heavy a reliance on renewable energy: the Australian Energy Market Operator found that the blackout was caused by too sensitive protection mechanisms at some wind farms in South Australia. And, of course, there was no adequate energy storage capacity.
Now, Tesla vows to install a grid-scale energy storage system that will not only be sustainable, but will also help avoid power shortages, reduce the number of intermittencies, and “manage summertime peak load to improve the reliability of South Australia's electrical infrastructure.”
By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com
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Irina is a writer for the U.S.-based Divergente LLC consulting firm with over a decade of experience writing on the oil and gas industry.