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Australia x Tesla: making the world’s largest battery

Oct 17, 2017 - 4min read



 

 When it comes to renewable energy, Australia is setting an impressive example. The news that Tesla will be supplying the world’s largest battery storage system in South Australia is illustrative of the country’s forward- thinking attitude to sustainability. And perhaps the UK has something to learn from them.

This pioneering spirit is in part due to the problems they have with their existing network. Last year, there was a statewide blackout in South Australia after severe storms damaged critical elements of the infrastructure. Places without backup generators were left with no power whatsoever.

 

“It will supply 129 megawatt hours of energy generation to the region.”

 

Following this disaster, Tesla announced its partnership with French energy company Neoen to build the largest lithium ion battery system in the world in Jamestown, South Australia.

In true grandiose style, Tesla’s founder Elon Musk declared that if they don’t complete the work within 100 days of signing the contract it would be free.

In a bid to improve the security of the electricity network, the battery plant will be paired with Neoen’s Hornsdale Wind Farm where it will be used for alleviating pressure at peak times and as backup when there is a shortfall in renewable electricity.

It needs to be  completed by December this year if Musk wants to see any money from it. If it is successfully installed it will be 60% larger than any other large scale battery energy storage system in the world. It is interesting to note that the second largest battery storage system is also by Tesla – an 80 megawatt-hour substation at Mira Loma in Ontario, California.

The battery station near Jamestown will be able to supply 129 megawatt hours of energy generation to the region using Tesla’s utility battery system Powerpack. In real terms, it means that this battery system could supply electricity to 4,000 homes in the region for a day.

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With around five Powerpacks per MWh of energy generation, the station will be made up of several hundred Powerpack towers — each containing 16 individual battery pods.

Following surging energy prices and problems with the network – the blackout in South Australia last year being the final straw – Australian Chief Scientist Alan Finkel conducted a review of the network this year.

 

“Houses with solar and batteries are less of a strain on the grid.”

 

As well as acknowledging that increased use of renewable sources, namely wind and solar, will be cheaper than use of fossil fuels in the long term, it also recommended incentives for home generation and storage.  

Writing for Gizmodo Australia, Hayley Williams said, “The most interesting parts of the report are all about rewarding consumers who invest in solar panels and batteries. Houses with solar and batteries are less of a strain on the grid, often able to support themselves even in times of peak demand, and thus lessening the need for expensive infrastructure upgrades — so it makes sense for the industry to incentivise those investments.”

Of course, we at Tonik Energy couldn’t agree more, as can be seen in our proposal for the home of the future. It is heartening to see a country adopting renewable tech with such intent. Our antipodean friends, we salute you.

 

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