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The contract has been signed, and construction is underway at the site of what will be one of the world’s biggest battery installations, courtesy of Tesla—and the 100-day clock to complete the project is now ticking.
The car and energy company sealed a deal with the government of South Australia to build the biggest battery in the world after a power outage sank the state into darkness last year—with Elon Musk promising to complete the project within 100 days, which came with a confident money-back guarantee.
Almost half of the planned capacity is already on site, according to Musk.
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.
Tesla won the tender for the installation in July and now, according to South Australia’s Energy Minister Tom Koutsantonis, work is on track to turn the switch on in two months, when summer season begins in Australia and demand for electricity peaks.
The company vowed in July 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.”
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The 100 MW/129 MWh Powerpack battery system Tesla is building Down Under will be connected to 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.
The facility, however, is no longer the biggest one in the world, as far as size goes. AES broke ground in July on its Alamitos Energy Center, which will feature a 100 MW/400 MWh storage system in addition to a gas-fired power-plant.
By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com
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Irina is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing on the oil and gas industry.