Just a month after Tesla completed a major battery backup system in South Australia, they’re jumping into a new project in another Australian state. Victoria has reached out to the company to create a smaller facility for a local wind farm. The news comes after CEO Elon Musk said that they would continue to help out Australia’s power problems.
The Australian Financial Review reported on Friday that Tesla was going to create a 20-megawatt Powerpack system for a 204-megawatt wind farm at the future Bulgana Green Power Hub. That would be one-fifth the size of the Hornsdale Wind Farm backup facility. It would be funded by Nectar Farms, who is opening a glasshouse farming operation, and the local state government.
Since the new hub and wind farm in Western Victoria still needs to be built, it’s anticipated that the battery project will be completed by mid-2019. The wind farm will be developed by Neoen, who was also behind the Hornsdale Wind Farm in South Australia. Managing director Franck Woitiez praised Tesla’s battery system, believing that the new project “may support the grid in the future.”
South Australia has already seen the benefits of Tesla’s batteries keeping their electrical grid stabilized. After a coal-fired power plant over 600 miles away needed to remove itself from the grid due to technical issues, Tesla’s Powerpack automatically responded in just 0.14 seconds. There was no need for the backup coal generator to come online as the battery kept the grid running smoothly.
John Grimes, head of the Smart Energy Council, told the Sydney Morning Herald that a big year is coming for projects that store power: "What we're seeing with the South Australian battery, what we're seeing in Victoria, is really the tip of the iceberg for a pipeline of projects that's coming along. This is a breakout year for energy storage."
Positive stories like this are why Victoria is excited to bring the technology into the state. Energy minister Lily D’Ambrosio said in a statement that it “will reduce greenhouse gas emissions while helping meet Victoria’s renewable energy generation targets.” Tesla’s energy solution could be a lifesaver for South Australia, which has suffered since a storm ravaged through the area two summers ago.
Many places in Australia are dealing with power struggles as the electric rates continue to skyrocket. South Australia in particular is paying 47.13 cents per kilowatt-hour, the highest in the world. Three other Australian states are above 34 cents -- by comparison, the United States is currently at an average rate of 15.75 cents.
Musk vows to keep improving Australia’s power infrastructure. He was stunned by hearing that some families opted to discontinue using electricity to save money in a 60 Minutes interview. With lithium-ion battery technology getting cheaper, expect more of these projects to keep popping up.
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