South Australia has a big new battery—the world’s largest—and it’s already helping boost grid reliability as the Southern Hemisphere’s summer begins. Tesla has bragging rights. The company installed 100 megawatts (MW) in under 100 days, just as CEO Elon Musk promised with his or-else-it’s-free flourish.
More important, perhaps, the storage industry has a shiny new example of how batteries and renewables complement each other. The Tesla system is adjacent to the 315 MW Hornsdale Wind Farm, operated by France’s Neoen. Wind turbines will charge the battery system, which is split into two sections: one for short-term grid support, the other for slightly longer-term needs, such as shaving peak demand. Greentech Media has a story on what the project says about industry trends, here. ABC reports here that it’s already helping meet demand as temperatures rise.
The Tesla deal came after blackouts in the region last year and early this year. South Australia Premier Jay Weatherill is trying to boost electricity reliability and increase the use of renewables. He has tangled with Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, who has backtracked on a national clean energy target. South Australia is also moving ahead with a concentrating solar power plant with enough storage to generate 150 MW of power for eight hours after the sun goes down. Bloomberg discusses the South Australia battery here. Engadget has a story here explaining how Tesla got a running start on Musk’s wager before the contract signing started the 100-day clock.
KEY QUOTE: The Tesla installation “sends the clearest message that South Australia will be a leader in renewable energy with battery storage.” —South Australia Premier Jay Weatherill