Huge Tesla battery array completed before deadline in Australia

Posted on 29 Nov 2017 by Michael Cruickshank

The world's largest lithium-ion battery array has been completed by Tesla last week in South Australia.

An artist's impression of the Tesla battery installation in South Australia. Image courtesy of Tesla.
An artist’s impression of the Tesla battery installation in South Australia. Image courtesy of Tesla.

The battery array which has a capacity of approximately 100MW was built within a tight deadline in order to help alleviate the state’s chronic power disruptions.

Tesla’s CEO, Elon Musk had pledged to build this giant array in under 100 days or else would foot the bill for the project itself.

By all accounts, the project has now been completed well within this deadline and the $50mn project will instead be paid for by the South Australian government.

The system began energising last Saturday, and over the last few days has undergone a series of tests in order to check its readiness.

If all goes to plan the battery will go online officially this Friday, and serve as an integral part of the state’s power grid.

The battery array itself, which is made up of Tesla lithium-ion ‘Powerpacks’, is connected to a nearby wind power station which charges the facility during high wind periods.

The decision to build this uniquely large battery array was prompted by a massive blackout facing much of the state late last year.

This blackout exposed the fragile nature of the state’s power grid, and its over-reliance on fragile links to the grids of other states in the country.

“While others are just talking, we are delivering our energy plan, making South Australia more self-sufficient, and providing back up power and more affordable energy for South Australians this summer,” remarked South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill.

“The world’s largest lithium-ion battery will be an important part of our energy mix, and it sends the clearest message that South Australia will be a leader in renewable energy with battery storage.”

The completion of this array will be a welcome piece of good news for Tesla, which has long struggled to meet its self-imposed deadlines.

In recent months the company has incurred record losses, as it spends big to try to increase factory output of its Model 3 mass-market electric vehicle, and escape what it has dubbed ‘manufacturing hell’.