Tesla to build world’s largest battery 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.

US-based automotive and energy company Tesla has announced that it will build the world's largest battery array in South Australia.

All up the company will build at least 100MW of energy storage using an array of Lithium-ion batteries which Tesla markets as a ‘Powerpack’.

The battery array itself will be directly connected to the Hornsdale Wind Farm near Jamestown, South Australia, which will charge it using renewable power.

Through pairing this wind farm with a huge battery, the system can provide consistent and reliable baseload power. Tesla claims the entire battery system will be able to power approximately 30,000 homes.

“We are talking about something which is three times larger than the next biggest battery installation in the world,” remarked Tesla CEO Elon Musk.

The issue of reliable energy was pressing in South Australia following a blackout caused by a storm last year which left almost the entire state without electricity.

In the wake of this blackout and the ensuing political storm in Australia, the situation was brought to the attention of Musk via Twitter.

Over the social media network, he promised that Tesla could supply this capacity both quickly and cheaply, offering to give the Government of South Australia the system for free if it would be not completed within 100 days.

Today Tesla confirmed that it would be standing by this promise, and remained confident that it could build the system within the 100-day timeframe.

While the exact price of the installation is so-far unknown, Elon Musk estimated that it would cost him more than $50mn should his company fail to make the deadline.

Despite the ‘significant risk’ posed by this groundbreaking installation Musk said that he was motivated by the opportunity it provided to show the potential of this technology.

“There was an opportunity to make a significant statement about renewable energy to the world to show that you can really do a heavy duty, large scale utility level battery system,” he said.

Beyond stabilizing South Australia’s power grid, the battery will also help lower consumer prices, as it can charge during periods when power is cheap, and then discharge when power is relatively more expensive.

If all goes to plan, the battery array will be complete before the beginning of the hot Australian summer when power consumption peaks.