Tesla To Build World's Largest Battery To Solve Australia's Energy Crisis

Last year, South Australia suffered a massive storm and had blackouts in the area that are still under repair. Already in the process of switching to wind power, they're hoping Tesla can build a 100 MW battery system to give them stability.


May 26 2019, Updated 2:22 p.m. ET

It’s been a tremendous end of the week for Tesla. They expected to complete their first Model 3 vehicle on Friday, and just a few hours before the day began, they announced a major project they’ll be involved with down in South Australia. They’ll be installing one of their Powerpacks to fuel electricity in an area dealing with devastation.

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Reported as a “bi-annual storm,” the state suffered from continuous lightning strikes and damaged multiple electrical lines. This caused a massive blackout that affected nearly all of South Australia -- everything except Kangaroo Island, which had backups in case an event like this happened. Some areas are still using temporary solutions as repairs are continuing to be made.

Another part of the restoration process is the South Australian Government wanting to improve renewable energy in the area. They desired a solution that would give over 100 megawatts of reliable power capacity to fuel the mainland affected by these blackouts. Conveniently, construction already began on the Hornsdale Wind Farm earlier in 2016, which will be completed in multiple stages -- the first being a capacity of 100 MW which was turned on in January.

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Tesla was awarded a key part of the massive project. Beating out 91 other companies, they were selected to install their Powerpacks to help store energy from the wind turbines. Company CEO Elon Musk was excited about the challenge and promised that the project would be completed 100 days or installation fees would be waved. After the announcement, Musk said on Twitter that the battery facility would be three times bigger than the current one, which is 30 megawatts.

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The deadline has been set for December 1st to get the project completed. It’s likely to see an upgrade in the future as the wind farm in Jamestown, South Australia, will continue to get bigger. In a three-phase process, the  wind farm is expected to have a capacity of 315 megawatts. The Powerpack system itself will have a capacity of 100 megawatts and 129 megawatt-hours.

Tesla says in their press release that the, “system will be the largest lithium-ion battery storage project in the world and will provide enough power for more than 30,000 homes, approximately equal to the amount of homes that lost power during the blackout period.” South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill said in the Sydney Morning Herald that this, “‘extraordinary collaboration’ would deliver a grid-scale battery that would “stabilise the South Australian network as well as putting downward pressure on prices.’”

While Tesla is more famously known as a car company, they have a solid track record in their Powerpack solutions. In California for example, they have systems in place that power the Sierra Nevada Brewing Company in Chico and it powers 15,000 homes in Ontario. Having a massive collection of batteries to store excess energy has been a solid answer for figuring out downtimes of renewable energy. Tesla can clearly establish itself as the leader with the completion of this ambitious project.


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