Tesla will build the world’s highest power battery farm in South Australia.
The South Australian government awarded the contract to Tesla, following a competitive bidding process in which 90 companies took part.
Tesla will partner with French solar company Neoen to install the lithium ion Tesla Powerpack, a 100 mega-watt installation, at Jamestown South Australia, as the electric car giant continues its move into the battery sector.
“This is going to be the largest battery station in the world by a significant margin,” said Tesla CEO, Elon Musk.
“This is a 100 mega-watt battery installation, the next biggest battery station in the world is 30 mega-watts, so we’re talking about something that is more than three times as powerful as the next biggest battery installation in the world.”
The Tesla Powerpack will be paired with Neoen’s existing Hornsdale Wind Farm, where it will charge using renewable energy then deliver that energy during peak hours to ensure reliable operation of South Australia’s energy grid.
“The Tesla Powerpack system will further transform the state’s movement towards renewable energy and see an advancement of a resilient and modern grid,” said Tesla in a statement last week.
Remarkably, Musk has stuck to his earlier promise that the system will be installed within 100 days or be provided free to the South Australian government, following a much publicised Twitter discussion with Australian CEO of Atlassian, Mike Cannon-Brookes earlier this year.
“We insisted when we were doing the contract that we be held to the 100 days or it’s free – that’s what we said publicly so that’s what we’re going to do,” said Musk. The true cost of the system was not disclosed but is believed to be between $350m and $400m.
The battery comes as a renewable solution for South Australia’s recent power problems, with the state having experienced a series of blackouts following the state-wide outage in September last year.
Tesla has recently launched a similar system in southern California, a 20 mega-watt storage system able to power 15,000 homes.
Yet Musk hopes the larger-scale South Australian project will show the rest of the world that lithium ion batteries could be the way forward.
“This is significantly bigger than the project in California which was, when we brought that online in December of last year, the biggest battery in the world – that system was approximately 20 mega-watts and this is 100 mega-watts.
“This system will be three times more powerful than any system on earth. If South Australia is willing to take a big risk on this then so are we.
“This deal is going to be incredibly helpful within Australia and around the world, as a proof-point for being able to do large-scale utility battery operations.”
Premier of South Australia, Jay Weatherill, said that installation of the Powerpack can help South Australia to become a global leader in energy systems.
"It will completely transform the way in which renewable energy is stored, and also stabilise the South Australian network as well as putting downward pressure on prices," he said.
"It opens up new opportunities for renewable energy in this state, in this nation, and around the world, to be dispatchable.”
The 100-day promise between Tesla and the South Australian government begins when the electricity grid interconnection agreement has been signed.