Saturday, July 8, 2017

Tesla to build giant battery to provide power to 30,000 homes

Elon Musk’s Tesla will build what it says is the world’s largest lithium-ion battery in South Australia to store renewable power and prevent blackouts in the power grid. Tesla’s battery will store energy from French energy company Neoen’s Hornsdale Wind Farm near Jamestown and deliver electricity during peak hours to South Australia’s grid, it said. The battery will help solve power shortages and manage summertime peak load to improve the reliability of South Australia’s electrical infrastructure, Tesla said. Set to be completed in December, it will help provide power to more than 30,000 homes. Mr Musk beat off competitors to secure the contract after he promised this year to build the battery within 100 days or do it for free. The energy-reliant state has suffered blackouts in the wake of storms and heatwaves. “I’m pretty darn impressed with South Australia [being] willing to do a project of this magnitude that’s beyond anything else in the world,” Mr Musk said at a press conference. “I do see this as something that the world will look at as an example of being able to do large-scale battery applications for the grid that really take a large amount of load.” The project shows how batteries will increasingly be needed to enable electricity grids to cope with a rapid installation of renewable energy that is dependent on the sun and the wind. Related article Elon Musk’s inter-planetary fantasy spells danger for Mars Tesla boss views the planet much as early European colonies did Africa and the Americas, writes Pilita Clark In January, Tesla delivered a similar 80MWh electricity storage system in California, which is enough to power 2,500 homes for a day. Deployment of lithium-ion batteries for grids and electric vehicles is sending ripples throughout the battery supply chain, boosting shares of producers of the raw chemical lithium, and raising concerns about their environmental footprint. “We’re really at the early stages of this market and people are still trying to work out the business models,” Gerard Reid, a partner at Alexa Capital in London, said. “But this is really the first time we’ve seen this. This could be a game-changer going forward. We’ve seen a little in California, but this is the first time we’ve seen a government make this step and that makes it unique.” Tesla’s Powerpack battery system has a capacity of 100MW. It is three times as powerful as those currently installed, Mr Musk said. “After leading the nation in renewable energy the 100MW/129MWh battery places South Australia a the forefront of global energy storage technology,” South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill said in a statement. The government and Tesla have agreed the 100-day period would start when the agreement to interconnect the battery with the grid had been signed, Mr Weatherill said. At least three other battery storage companies — Zen Energy, Lyon Solar and Carnegie Clean Energy — had said they could deliver similar electricity storage systems.

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