Tesla giant battery to aid blackout-plagued South Australia

Elon Musk vowed to build power-backup system in 100 days or provide it for free

Tesla chief executive Elon Musk: “We’re talking about something that’s three times as powerful as the next biggest battery installation in the world.” Photograph: Ben MacMahon/EPA

Tesla chief executive Elon Musk: “We’re talking about something that’s three times as powerful as the next biggest battery installation in the world.” Photograph: Ben MacMahon/EPA

 

Elon Musk’s Tesla has won a tender to supply what the billionaire says is the world’s largest lithium-ion battery to back up the state of South Australia’s blackout-plagued power grid, making good on a promise first made over Twitter four months ago to help solve the state’s energy woes.

Tesla will provide 100 megawatts of storage by December 1st, pairing it with a wind farm at Hornsdale north of Adelaide operated by France’s Neoen, according to a statement on Friday from South Australian premier Jay Weatherill.

The system, which will have capacity of 129 megawatt hours, will provide enough power for more than 30,000 homes, Tesla said in a separate statement.

“We’re talking about something that’s three times as powerful as the next biggest battery installation in the world,” Musk told reporters in Adelaide.

Musk had previously promised to build the system and get it working within 100 days of a contract being signed or Tesla would provide it free, a vow he backed up on Friday.

World’s largest

“We actually insisted when doing the contract that we be held to the 100 days or it’s free,” Musk said. “That’s what we said publicly, that’s what we’re going to do.”

Should the project be up and running “in the next 100 days, it would likely be the world’s largest lithium-ion battery”, said Simon Habart, a Hong Kong-based research analyst with Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

“The competition for primacy will be tight, as projects of similar size are rapidly springing up in Australia, Canada and Japan. ”

“Battery storage is the future of our national energy market and the eyes of the world will be following our leadership in this space,” Weatherill said.

Australia’s largest power generator, AGL Energy, tweeted its support for the deal after it had previously offered a site for Tesla’s battery storage proposal.

California-based Tesla, best-known for its all-electric Model S sedan, aims to be in the front ranks of the emerging energy storage market. – (Bloomberg)