Enormous Battery Powers Australia’s Outback

Tesla has switched on the world’s biggest lithium ion battery in Australia, delivering on Chief Executive Elon Musk’s promise to build the battery in 100 days. The giant battery was plugged into the Australian state grid on Friday – the first day of the Australian summer.

South Australia Premier Jay Weatherill said that the battery began delivering power into the state grid. It will provide power enough for more than 30,000 homes.

“South Australia is now leading the world in dispatchable renewable energy,” Weatherill said Thursday at the official launch of the battery.

Tesla built the giant battery under an agreement between the company, French renewable energy provider Neoen and the South Australian government.

Tesla said in July that it was selected through a competitive bidding process by the South Australian government to provide a 100 MW/129 MWh Powerpack system. This will be paired with Neoen’s Hornsdale Wind Farm near Jamestown in South Australia.

Under the agreement, Tesla was required to deliver the battery within 100 days of the contract being signed or it would be handed over to the South Australian government for free.

This was due to a bet taken by Musk, who said earlier in March that his company could deliver an operational battery-powered energy system to South Australia that would prevent blackouts in the state within 100 days, or it would be free.

The South Australian government was looking for a sustainable solution to ensure energy security for all residents. In September 2016, a one-in-50-year storm damaged critical infrastructure in the state and left 1.7 million residents without electricity. Further blackouts occurred in the heat of the Australian summer in early 2017.

Unlike traditional electric generators, batteries can be deployed quickly at scale and do not require any water or gas pipelines. In addition, the huge fall in lithium ion battery prices over the last few years has made the technology viable.

by RTT Staff Writer

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