The world’s biggest lithium ion battery – the Tesla big battery next to the Hornsdale wind farm – is on track to meet its deadlines and is set to be “energised” in the coming days.
South Australia premier Jay Weatherill made the announcement ahead of an “energy round table” with key industry figures in Adelaide on Thursday, to discuss policy and technology options before the COAG energy ministers meeting on Friday.
Weatherill said that all the batters – in the form of 100kWh Tesla Powerpacks – have been installed at the 315MW Hornsdale wind farm, owned by French renewable energy company Neoen.
Testing is underway to ensure the 100MW/129MWh meets the needs of the state government and the market operator. A Tesla spokesman confirmed this to be the case.
South Australia has contracted a large part of the battery array to provide emergency back-up and grid security in the case of major events, while the rest will be used by Neoen to play in wholesale markets.
Tesla was contracted to build the battery amid great fanfare, and promises by Tesla founder and CEO Elon Musk that it would be built within 100 days or it’s free.
That ended up just being a marketing ruse, because the grid connection only came in late September, when Musk “opened’ the first phase of the project, and the contract with the government made it clear that December 1 was the deadline.
The Australian Energy Market Operator sees the battery, along with the new government-funded diesel generators, and up to 200MW of demand management, as one of its key tools to help keep the lights on over summer, following its accident-prone record of the past year.
“While many others are just talking, we are delivering our energy plan, providing back up power and more affordable energy for South Australians this summer,” Weatherill said in a statement.
“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 renewable energy with battery storage.
Weatherill says he will join representatives from Neoen, Tesla and Consolidated Power Projects next week to officially launch the battery.
“An enormous amount of work has gone in to delivering this project in such a short time, and I look forward to visiting Jamestown next week to personally thank those who have worked on this project.
The on-time installation of the Tesla big battery contrasts with the difficulties in Victoria, where a tender for two storage installations of 20MW and totalling more than 100MWh attracted huge interest.
But the winners have yet to be announced, making the January 1 deadline impossible to meet. Victoria has not commented on the delay, but it is believed to centre around contracting and finance issues.