On Thursday it was announced that Tesla had completed construction and installation of the world’s largest lithium ion battery in Australia. According to the South Australian government, the completion of installation puts the company on track to meet the 100 day deadline in which the battery packs will be turned on.
The project is a part of a $404 million Australian state plan to improve renewable energy production. Last year, South Australia suffered from severe blackouts after production was cut off due to heavy storms. The South Australian state currently receives about 35 percent of its energy from renewables, however this latest project looks to boost this number by building a solar thermal power plant and emergency generators, along with the Tesla battery. The battery built by Tesla will store power generated by a wind farm in South Australia, releasing it during times of increased demand.
The 100 day goal was first set after a discussion on Twitter between Tesla CEO Elon Musk and software billionaire Mike Cannon-Brookes. In March, Cannon-Brookes asked Tesla’s vice president for energy products whether or not he misspoke when he stated that Tesla could install between 100-300 megawatt-hour of storage in 100 days. This led to Musk responding with a tweet that Tesla would be able to get the system installed and working within 100 days of signing a contract or the project would be free.
After the interaction on twitter, a bidding process was set up, with the Australian state government agreeing to fund $113 million of battery storage. Tesla won the contract, beating out various competitors. Between now and next week’s unveiling, the project will undergo a series of checks and tests to ensure it meets state and energy regulations.
The powerpack system provides 100 megawatts of storage to renewable energy firm Hornsdale wind farm, near Jamestown in S. Australia, and has the capability to hold enough power for 30,000 homes. Tesla and Hornsdale, along with engineering company Consolidated Power Projects and Australian state premier Jay Weatherill, are set to officially unveil the battery next week.
“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 in renewable energy with battery storage,” Weatherill said in a statement.
South Australia’s has population of around 1.7 million people; who have suffered from regular power cuts and energy shortages. Storms have damaged continuously managed to damage crucial transmission lines, leaving much of the state without power. The latest blackout occurred in February after a heat wave caused demand in energy to spike, overwhelming the system.
Weatherill has argued dismissed critics of the battery, arguing it will help to stabilize South Australia’s part of the national energy grid; reducing the tens of millions of dollars the state pays for services that keep the grid in balance to almost nothing.
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