About a year ago, the entire South Australia suffered a series of blackouts, pushing its government to raise a $550 million project aimed at guaranteeing electric supply and shoring up the state’s power grid.
Part of this project is the 129-megawatt-hour lithium battery – the world’s largest so far – built by Tesla in just 60 days. “This is history in the making,” said South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill in reference to the gigantic battery’s launching.
The historic battery has been described by Tesla’s Elon Musk as three times more powerful than the world’s next largest battery. It is expected to store enough energy, when fully charged, to power up 8,000 homes for 24 hours or more than 30,000 houses for one hour during a blackout. Located about 225 kilometers north of the state’s capital, Adelaide, the battery is connected to the France-based wind farm, Neone’s Hornsdale. BBC News reports that the battery involves a grid system that runs on the same technology that powers Tesla’s electric cars.
Meanwhile, critics of renewable energy refer to this gigantic battery as a ‘Hollywood solution’ for a state that is hugely dependent on coal and fossil fuel, about two-thirds of its electric consumption. The supporters, on the other hand, believe that the battery would help in the stabilization of the state’s grid that has more than 40% sourced from wind power.
Weatherill posits that the battery is a preventive solution to the statewide blackout that occurred last year. Praveen Kathpal, vice president of AES Energy, said in support of Weatherill, “Storage can respond within a fraction of a second. It can address those stability issues very quickly without needing to resort to using large power plants.”
Kathpal, also US Energy Storage Association’s chairman, added that the commitment of South Australia in energy storage represents a significant step for the rest of the industry. “South Australia is now leading the world in dispatchable renewable energy,” exclaimed Weatherill.