BY ELIZABETH FABRI
US tech giant Tesla has announced plans to build the world’s largest lithium ion battery in South Australia as part of an agreement between the State Government and French renewable energy company Neoen to provide greater security for the State electricity grid.
Scheduled to be complete by December 2017, the 100 megawatt (MW) Tesla Powerpack system will be built alongside Neoen’s Hornsdale wind farm, currently under construction Under contractual arrangements, Tesla has pledged to construct the battery in just 100 days – a deadline that begins once the grid interconnection agreement has been signed – or it would be free.
The battery would store renewable energy from the 99-turbine Hornsdale wind farm to deliver 129 megawatt-hours (MWh) of energy during peak hours; enough to power more than 30,000 homes.
Tesla chief executive Elon Musk said the project was the largest of its kind and would be an “example to the rest of the world”.
“We need to get it done, we need to make sure it’s working properly, and we want to do it in less than 100 days,” Mr Musk said.
“I think this is definitely that way of the future and I think it’s worth other States taking a close look at this and seeing if it’s applicable to their needs, which I suspect in most cases it is.”
South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill said the deal would also bring other investments by both Neoen and Tesla into the State economy, with further details to be announced soon.
“South Australia has been leading the nation in renewable energy – now we are leading the world in battery storage,” Mr Weatherill said.
“This historic agreement does more than bring a sustainable energy giant in Telsa to South Australia, it will also have some significant economic spin-offs.”
Neoen deputy chief executive Romain Desrousseaux said the company was “extremely proud” to be working with the State and Tesla to expand its Hornsdale project in Jamestown.
“This is a pilot of how we should integrate renewable with storage to make long term sustainable, dispatchable and competitive energy for South Australia but also for most of the places in the world,” Mr Desrousseaux said.