Tesla CEO Elon Musk promised to help South Australia with their energy problems in record time. He delivered. Installation of the 100-megawatt Powerpack battery backup system has completed at the Hornsdale Wind Farm. The new facility provides a cheaper and more reliable energy source to the area.
14 months ago, a massive storm in South Australia resulted in a widespread blackout. Powerful winds shut down wind farms and knocked down power lines. 1.7 million people lost access to power, similar to what happened in Puerto Rico after hurricanes knocked out much of the infrastructure.
With the state struggling to rebuild their own infrastructure, the government has turned to renewable energy. They also want to make it more reliable and opted to look at battery backup options. Musk made a bet on Twitter in March that Tesla could create a system with their Powerpacks for the Hornsdale Wind Farm featuring a capacity of 100 megawatts and 129 megawatt-hours.
Not only would they complete the project, but it would be done in 100 days after approval by the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO). If the infrastructure was not complete by then, it would be entirely free. With the Powerpack facility estimated to be worth around $50 million, not completing it by the deadline would have been a substantial hit.
Tesla joined forces with French renewable energy company Neoen back in July. They had a head start due to ongoing contract negotiations with battery cost. Originally, the goal date was expected to be December 1st. One week after the project became official, Musk announced at an event that the project was halfway completed.
Nearly two months later, the project has been fully installed at the Hornsdale Wind Farm. Over the next couple days, testing will be done to see if it meets standards from both AEMO and the local government. By next week, South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill is expected to fully launch the battery with representatives from Tesla and others working on the project.
“While others are just talking, we are delivering our energy plan, making South Australia more self-sufficient, and providing backup power and more affordable energy for South Australians this summer,” Weatherill said in a press release. “The world’s largest lithium ion battery will be an important part of our energy mix, and it sends the clearest message that South Australia will be a leader renewable energy with battery storage.”
Tesla’s Powerpack facility in South Australia will be the biggest lithium-ion battery backup system in the world. It would provide enough power for over 30,000 homes should any systems fail again, and that’s around the same number of homes that had to go through the blackout over a year ago.