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Tesla plans big battery party, still waiting on Victoria tender

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Tesla Powerback

Tesla is having a party, or so it seems. Tesla Energy has invited media and members of Australia’s “Teslarati” – those with Tesla electric vehicles and battery storage – to an event in Jamestown in South Australia next Friday for a major update on the company’s Big Battery installation.

The media have been given few details, apart from a location, time and date. But the invitation to the “Teslarati” is slightly more forthcoming, welcoming them to a “Powerpack Celebration” on the site of the Hornsdale wind farm, where the big battery is being built.

“You are invited to attend an exciting milestone event as part of the South Australia Tesla Powerpack Project. Join us to celebrate the world’s largest lithium-ion battery project at Neoen Hornsdale Wind Farm.”

Tesla founder and CEO Eon Musk will be in town to appear at the South Australian government’s international space conference being held next week, and so there is strong speculation – as yet unconfirmed – that he will host the Powerpack event.

RenewEconomy suspects the Powerpack celebration will be the formal announcement that a connection agreement has been reached for the project, and when the clock on the “we will build it in 100 days or it’s free” promise starts counting down.

Of course, that deadline is really for marketing purposes only, because the contract with the South Australian government actually calls for the storage to be in place by December 1, in time for the start of summer, and possible heatwaves. There are now 70 days till December 1.

The Tesla Powerpacks – which come in 100kWh units – are already being put in place, but there is still much work to ensure that the configuration is right to deliver the network services required by the government, and the load shifting for the wind farm. (Read this for a full explanation of how the Tesla big battery might work).

But while construction of the South Australia big battery gets into full swing, there are questions about what has happened to the Victoria version of the big battery.

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It had held an auction for two different battery storage installations – each of 20MW of power but with a combined total capacity of more than 100MWh. That compares to the Tesla installation in South Australia of 100MW/129MWh.

The results of the auction had been due to be released in late August. This week, the government has been busy getting its VRET (Victoria renewable energy target) through the lower house of parliament, but the talk is that it will be announced soon.

It will need to be, because the government wants them in place by January 1, also to help meet a hot summer, this time without the Hazelwood coal generator.

Which invites more speculation: What if the announcement was timed for Musk to drop into western Victoria on his way to South Australia?

We know Tesla has bid and may well have bid once again with Neoen, the French developers who own Hornsdale, partnered in the South Australia tender and who have won just about every tender they have entered – including for wind, solar and battery storage.

Back in Jamestown, Tesla recently announced that its new Supercharger route in South Australia will soon allow Tesla owners to visit the world’s largest battery site. But they won’t be able to charge at Jamestown just yet, the invited Tesla EV drivers have been told.

Still, there are a bunch of Tesla drivers prepared to make the trip, as we discuss in the latest Solar Insiders podcast. We also discuss how a shortage of Tesla Powerwalls is slowing down the uptake of battery storage in Australian homes. Please click below.

Note: This story has been updated to reflect fact that “Teslarati” includes this with Powerwall battery storage, not just EVs.  

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  • Andrew Woodroffe

    How are Melbourne Tesla drivers going to make it to Adelaide if those Superchargers are not yet working?

    • Chris Ford

      Stop overnight at Horsham and trickle charge?

      • Michael Murray

        If they drive any further the car might Stawell.

        • Ren Stimpy

          Proper calibration of the dimboola should prevent that

          • Michael Murray

            Don’t forget to set the halls gap properly.

      • vibrantage

        Nhill chance of that!

        • Greg Hudson

          Very clever

    • Charles

      Perhaps they’ll be working by then? The posts are in the ground in Adelaide and Clare already.
      It’s not like Tesla owners haven’t driven from Melbourne to Adelaide before.

  • Joe

    I am hoping that Bananabee makes it ‘safely’ out of his elevator and is in time to head over to SA with his trusty shovel and join in with the ‘first sodding’ for Elon’s Big Battery install. We know from past events that Bananabee loves to do a bit of shovelling for the cameras whenever an RE project has it’s first sodding.

  • Patrick Comerford

    Gotta. Luv Elon the mans a one man innovation machine. You only have to suggest he might make an appearance at someplace or other and polies are straining at the bit. Pity old nimble and agile doesn’t hook up with Elon he might inject some sense into the man. God knows he needs it big time.

  • Graham

    The invitation is not primarily to Tesla car owners (I don’t own one) but to people who have purchased PowerWall batteries – I own a Powerwall 2.

    After all, the invitation is about battery storage not cars.

    So the article needs a re-orientation to cover both sets of customers.

    • Thanks for that, will do.