Elon Musk to build world’s biggest lithium-ion battery in South Australia

SA 100MW battery storage tender won by Tesla and Neoen

Tesla, Neoen to build world’s biggest lithium-ion battery installation near Hornsdale wind farm after winning storage tender. Elon Musk says it will be three times bigger than next largest battery in world, and will help transform energy markets.


The South Australia government has announced that its 100MW battery storage tender – which it says is the world’s largest – has been won by Tesla and French renewable energy developer Neoen.

The 100MW/129MWh battery bank will be built at Neoen’s huge Hornsdale wind complex near Jamestown, where the last stage of a 309MW project is currently being completed. 

Premier Jay Weatherill said the Hornsdale Power Reserve will become the state’s largest renewable generator, and while the lithium battery would be the biggest in the world.

“South Australian customers will be the first to benefit from this technology which will demonstrate that large-scale battery storage is both possible and now, commercially viable.”

The announcement was made jointly with Tesla founder and CEO Elon Musk, who flew into Adelaide for the announcement.  Musk said the installation would be three times bigger than the next installation.

“This is a chance to show you can really do a heavy duty, large-scale utility battery and battery system, and South Australia was up to the challenge. If South Australia is willing to take a big risk then so are we,” he said.

Financial details of the bid were not revealed, but Neoen deputy CEO Romain Desrousseaux said the company had been “aggressive and very positive” in its bid with Tesla. He told RenewEconomy Neoen would provide all the equity for the project, and then seek bank finance once it was up and running.

“There was no time to talk to the banks,” he said. “What we are showing today is that this is only the beginning for more renewables. Everyone wil be looking at South Australia, hoping to replicate this at other projects.  We hope to replicate it at many other projects.”

The addition of the storage facility at the biggest wind farm in the state will add to the state’s energy security – providing quick reactive power in the events of faults, and smoothing the output of wind – it will also add much needed competition into the state’s energy market.

The arrival of a “dispatchable” renewable energy generator means that prices will no longer be controlled only by a handful of gas-fired generators, who have been largely responsible for the state’s soaring gas prices. It will also likely mean new rules that threaten to restrict wind output will also be dropped.

The tender was flagged earlier this year after the series of blackouts and load-shedding that afflicted the state following a series of extreme weather events and equipment failures, and after a billionaire tweet exchanged prompted by Tesla’s claim to be able to fix the problem in 100 days.

It is the largest battery storage tender in the country, although Victoria is also seeking proposals for two 20MW battery storage facilities with up to 100MWh of storage, and a 20MW/34MWh storage facility will be built alongside a 196MW wind farm powering the Nectar Farms glasshouse facility near Stawell.

Other governments are also looking at battery storage, including Queensland which has flagged it as part of a 400MW tender for new renewable energy projects, and the Northern Territory last month allocated a tender for a 5MW battery storage facility to Vector Energy, using LG Chem.


During the billionaire tweets between Musk and Australia’s Mike Cannon-Brookes, Musk promised that if the facility was not built in 100 days, it would be done for free. That offer still stands.

“It has been agreed between Tesla and the South Australian Government that the starting date for the 100 days will be once the grid interconnection agreement has been signed,” Weatherill’s statement said.

“After leading the nation in renewable energy, the 100MW / 129MWh battery places South Australia at the forefront of global energy storage technology.”

The battery will operate at all times providing stability services for renewable energy, and will be available to provide emergency back-up power if a shortfall in energy is predicted.

Weatherill said Neoen was selected on a merit basis after a multi-stage procurement process attracted around 90 responses to the Expression of Interest, with 14 proponents invited to supply, and 5 shortlisted for detailed assessment.

Those that expressed interest are believed to have included all the leading battery storage manufacturers, including LG Chem, AES, Kokam, and others, and developers such as Zen Energy, Carnegie Clean Energy and AGL Energy.

Weatherill said the consortium “provided a highly competitive commercial offer with the best value for money” although details were not immediately available.

“Neoen and Tesla have a track record in comparable scale projects, and are committed to deliver on time at the lowest cost with a suite of value-adding initiatives,” the statement said.

“I’m thrilled with the selection of Neoen and Tesla, whose experience and world leadership in energy security and renewables will help South Australia take charge of its energy future,” Weatherill said.

Neon’s Desrousseaux said the Hornsdale Power Reserve will become home to the largest lithium ion battery in the world, and would take the company’s long-term, direct investment in South Australia to almost $1 billion since 2013.

The company also recently announced that 196MW wind project and 20MW/34MWH battery storage installation in Stawell in western Victoria to power the country’s biggest glass-house for vegetable growing and supply the grid. (That $563 million project has been ignored by most mainstream media).

The company has also been an aggressive bidder in Australia, winning contracts for all three stages of its Hornsdale wind farm from the ACT government, under its 100 per cent renewable energy target, and three solar farms in NSW in the ARENA large scale solar tender.

Desrousseaux said the battery storage technology will demonstrate that large-scale battery storage is both possible and now, commercially viable.

“Together, the South Australian Government, Neoen and Tesla will demonstrate that renewables can provide dependable, distributable power that will turn a new page in Australia’s energy future.”


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  1. DJR96 3 years ago

    Really curious of the details and cost……

    • David leitch 3 years ago

      I doubt you are Robinson Crusoe in that.

    • frostyoz 3 years ago

      Powerpack 2 pricing has been “said” to be about US$400/kwh. At that rate, would be around A$70M for the 129MWh battery, plus connection and other infrastructure. Plus postage (express).

      • Charles Hunter 3 years ago

        Don’t forget the GST!

        • trackdaze 3 years ago

          Get it back at the end of the quarter.

      • Brunel 3 years ago

        It would be U$250/kWh for the Powerpack.

        • Trent Deverell 3 years ago

          Which is in the ball-park of the minimum cost base for keeping additional gas generators running to cover a couple periods on some days.

        • Trent Deverell 3 years ago

          and further under the NEM rules allowing $14,000MWh for supply during crunch periods it doesn’t take too many hours averaged over 365 days to take the matters from sensible 99.9% of the time to insane as demonstrated last summer…

          In any case now that South Australia is maxing out on wind, having the battery provides a place to stash the excess power and then provide ancillary and instant response services to the NEM.

      • David leitch 3 years ago

        That’s per kWh. Powerwall 2 has max continuous power rating of 5kw. Based on A$8000 that’s say A$1600 Kw. My guess is A$80-a$100 m

        • DJR96 3 years ago

          Can’t correlate the price between the the Powerwall and the PowerPack, different economies of scale.

          Some time ago it was said that the cells in Tesla batteries cost under US$190/kWh, so US$250/kWh for the whole unit would be about right. Plus shipping, plus taxes, plus stupid high mark up by any Aussie company that deals with it just because it’s government funds…..

          • David leitch 3 years ago

            Hmm I was one of the ones talking about the cell costs,which closely match numbers projected by the excellent Argonne labs Batpac C.

            However I’ve done some research on costs, at least late last year, for utility scale lithium packs. Still think my number is a fair guess. I expect we will find out in time.

          • john 3 years ago

            Figures quoted on Radio National this evening were $50 million for the 100 mW and 129 mWh output.

          • DJR96 3 years ago

            That would make it about A$250/kWh then. Certainly getting better.

          • itdoesntaddup 3 years ago

            Plus all the sophisticated electronics in the inverters that handle not only the conversions between DC and AC but also adjust the frequency and phase of the supply to help with grid stability.

          • DJR96 3 years ago

            Most of the commercial inverters from the big companies like ABB, SMA etc can do all this. That’s par for the course in this field. It’s just that the national networks seem to have no clue of the benefits of this technology. 20th century thinking will fail when 21st century solutions are required.

          • itdoesntaddup 3 years ago

            The point is the electronics are not free – they’re quite expensive, and will add significantly to the installed cost.

          • DJR96 3 years ago

            In almost all cases, unless specified otherwise, a grid connected energy storage system includes the electronics (inverters) to convert AC to DC and DC to AC. Certainly the case with Tesla. So when Elon Musk quotes a price for a given size system it will include the electronics to make it work.

            For any given project, there is what is known as balance of system. Meaning all the other components needed to be operational. In this case there will be the civil works in preparing the site, concrete slabs to mount everything on, cables and conduits to connect everything together, and perhaps the most expensive part, the transformers to adjust the AC voltage from the LV (415Vac) of the ESS to the MV or even HV available at the site. Then there’s security, monitoring/control systems, and metering.

          • itdoesntaddup 3 years ago

            Just wrong. Tesla prices quoted for their powerwalls exclude the inverters and installation. If Musk says batteries at $250/kWh (as he did) that is what he meant.

            He quoted a price of $250 per kilowatt hour for
            100 megawatt hour systems, which would imply a price of $25 million for
            the battery packs.


          • DJR96 3 years ago

            Mate, how about you interpret both those articles correctly. Neither contradict anything I’ve written.
            The Reuters article said Musk quoted $250/kWh for systems over 100MWh in size. That is US dollars.
            The Forbes article clarified exactly what I said about balance of system components.

            Elon Musk and Tesla stated prices are for the components that they supply – the batteries and the inverters. It is always like that.

      • neroden 3 years ago

        It’s about US$400/kwh fully installed based on Musk’s “we’d lose about US$50 million if we missed the deadline” statement. (With one significant digit.)

        I think $250/kwh is the price for the parts, delivered on pallets, buyer pays shipping. The installation labor and transport makes up the difference.

    • WR 3 years ago

      Musk has tweeted that he would be $50 million out of pocket if he doesn’t install the batteries within 100 days. So the total cost of the project must be more than that.

      The price that Musk quoted sounds like the production cost. From what he has said, he is offering the batteries at a ‘close to cost’ price because this project has drawn such huge publicity he sees at as a good promotional opportunity for Tesla. If true, that will be good value for SA.

    • Ren Stimpy 3 years ago

      I’m really interested in the difference between the cost of this project and the cost of the next large scale battery project. Hopefully more of these projects will follow quickly after the hype around this one – and the costs will be headed in the right direction i.e. downwards.

      • DJR96 3 years ago

        Likewise. This is the sort of project that will demonstrate the usefulness of having storage on the network, increasing the likelyhood of more following. And getting a decent volume on the market will all help bring the price down.
        All the losing tenderers now know they were too expensive and will have to drop prices for any future tenders. Bodes well for Victoria.

  2. WR 3 years ago

    For context, in SA demand on typical days is in the range of 1-2 GW, while peak demand during summer heatwaves can go up to 2.5-3 GW.

    • Steve159 3 years ago


      Your post is what they call “disingenuous” insofar as the blackout last September was due to high voltage transmission towers being blown over. Any power system, including that in NSW and Vic and everywhere else on the planet would experience blackouts under similar circumstances.

      Also “in context” the demand in SA and elsewhere is largely met by existing supply sources (gas, solar, wind, and coal-based power via the interconnect). However, the gas peaking plants are switched on to meet peak demand (that’s why they’re called “peaking” plants.). Tesla’s battery bank will be like a gas peaking plant, used on those infrequent occasions when required.

      • WR 3 years ago

        The blackout was due to the response of the generators along the transmission lines to the voltage changes. The point of the inquiry was that the wind generators probably would not have had to shutdown if their settings were different.

        Now , assuming that the 100 MW battery had been in place at the time and that its response settings were different to the wind generators, then it might have been able to supply 100 MW of power when the wind generators went down. Would this have made enough difference to keep the whole system from going down?

        Note that the battery is going to be at Hornsdale, so it is on the same transmission lines of most of the wind generators. So, maybe, it would also have been out of action. You would have to look at what transmission lines were still available.

        • Ray Miller 3 years ago

          Did they rebuild the transmission towers with the same wind loading specifications? I would hope their wind specifications were somewhat increased?

          • trackdaze 3 years ago

            Survey says nope.

        • Steve159 3 years ago


          You mean, like, “let’s see, worst case scenario”, if North Korea lobs a nuke on SA, and blow out all their wind farms, will batteries be enough? Clearly not. Okay, let’s not install the batteries.

          • WR 3 years ago

            Lol. You are over reacting to my posts.

            I’m all in favour of adding storage. For a 100% renewable supply in the state, based on current demand the state will need storage that can supply about 2.5 GW of power and about 15-25 GWh of energy, depending on the mix of small-scale and utility-scale storage.

            I was not making a judgement in posts, just providing context.

          • Giles 3 years ago

            Suggest you read CSIRO report, might help you get a grip on storage needs.

          • WR 3 years ago

            The CSIRO model is fairly similar to what I have suggested. For a 100% renewable supply you would expect to have storage capacity of about 50% of daily energy use if the system was designed to work as efficiently as possible. For SA, that would be about 15 GWh of storage based on current demand.

            However, I’m anticipating that the current demand profile will change with better electrical energy efficiency for current uses but an increased use for charging electrical vehicles. Of course, the EVs would have a large amount of storage.

            That is why I’m anticipating that total storage will end up being somewhere between 50%-80% of average daily demand.

          • Mike Westerman 3 years ago

            WR your 50% figure is probably true if you wanted SA to operate without the Heywood link. As long as it is available, SA still has room for more solar and wind – more will be built as long as the revenue from certificates is higher than the cost of construction, as long as it can be reliably dispatched. Already we are seeing curtailment of wind, which will start to hurt and soon limit finance for additional capacity. Storage enables not only dispatch to take advantage of arbitrage in the evenings, but creation of certificates. I can’t see that being done by batteries except at the fringe, altho’ these guys have first mover advantage: they are effectively buying at $0 and selling against OCGT at $150-200 – even $400/kWh works at those prices! SA will need to get on with 500-1,000MW of pumped hydro on the numerous sites available.

          • WR 3 years ago

            Storage would need to be much higher than the figure I gave if there were no interstate inteconnectors.

            The amount of storage will be determined by the relative costs of adding new supply that is needed to meet demand, whether that be wind, solar (PV and other), biomass, hydro, etc., compared to the cost of new storage. If adding more storage is cheaper than adding more supply from other sources, you will get more storage.

            Read some of the models by the CSIRO, Blakers, Mark Diesendorf, and the AEMO and you will see that the figures I have given are pretty realistic.

            With regard to cost of energy purchase for the battery, the price would only be zero if the output was going to be curtailed. Otherwise, it is the opportunity cost of the current market value.

          • neroden 3 years ago

            It’ll be done by batteries. I predicted the financial dynamics a year or two ago. Buy at $0, sell at $150…. Batteries are a highly-profitable, quick-return industry until there are so many that there’s no curtailment of wind (they get quick payback).

            And once there’s no curtailment, at that point more wind and solar start gettting built. Rinse and repeat.

            In the time it takes to build one pumped hydro station, we’ll have dozens, nay hundreds, of battery installs

          • itdoesntaddup 3 years ago

            How do you handle seasonal demand variations? How much power has to be curtailed, and how much storage do you need?

          • WR 3 years ago

            See the model that I linked above.

            The model is fairly simple but it’s probably quite accurate because the current distributions of PV and wind in the region that I used for my data sources is probably quite indicative of the future distributions of these sources for the region. The main uncertainties in the model would be the future distribution and capacity factors of solar in the region. The daily demand profile would probably also change with much higher daytime demand to take advantage of any significant amount of solar generation.

            The cost formula used to optimise the model inputs are based around some hypothetical average relative costs of the different technologies over the next couple decades. The formula assumes that wind and solar will have approximately the same LCOE based on their relative capacity factors for the region. The relative cost of storage assumes that 2.5 kWh of storage has the same cost as each kW of installed solar. ie. If solar costs $1000/kWh than storage would have an average cost of $400/kWh. These are installed costs. The cast assumptions can be easily changed to model different scenarios.

          • daroiD8ungais7 3 years ago

            Hi Giles, please link.

          • Steve159 3 years ago

            100% renewables?

            I wasn’t aware SA were scheduling 100% any time soon.

            In any case, within the NEM (SA, Vic, NSW, Qld) with sufficient scattered wind farms (even before we consider hydro and solar), the grid supply gets to look like “base load” 24/7 (with flat supply) as was found by Stanford University a few years back in regards to the USA network.

            Arguably with sufficient wind farms across Qld, down the East coast, and SA, batteries would be unnecessary.

          • Rod 3 years ago

            I’m an optimist but not that optimistic!
            Hydro will have to be used as back up with or without pumping.

          • WR 3 years ago

            That’s incredibly optimistic. I’ve never seen a model for Australia that shows anything like that.

            You can check my model for SA-Vic if you want some context.

          • Tom 3 years ago

            We’ll have to have 100% renewables at some stage or otherwise we will eventually run out of non-renewables. That’s why they’re called “non-renewable”.

            Might as well start now.

          • juxx0r 3 years ago

            words of wisdom Tom, actually, knowing their definition, but some need to be told a few times for it to sink in.

          • solarguy 3 years ago

            In an 100% Renewable grid some form of storage will always be needed and even if 50% RE storage makes things more reliant.

          • itdoesntaddup 3 years ago

            I think you might want to check up on that with some real data. You might also want to consider how much costly long distance grid connection might be required even to begin to make it feasible to get some benefit in the cases where there is potentially some surplus in one area that could go towards a deficiency in another.

          • Trent Deverell 3 years ago

            Stop wasting everyones time with your off-track and negative woffle…

            South Australia has a peaking capacity problem and the battery proposal will likely cover that for next Summer…

      • Kevan Daly 3 years ago

        Sorry Steve150. You need to read the AEMO final report on the Black System Event. The system had already gone black when the towers were blown over.

        • Steve159 3 years ago

          Nope, don’t need to read the AEMO, other than to recognise they’re way behind the Europeans who have oodles more wind (percentage wise) and they don’t have the problems we saw in SA.

          System settings, being inadequate, is no reason to demonise wind, or renewables.

          We should just transport all of AEMO personnel off to Europe with the caveat “you can’t come back till you get yourselves up to speed”. You know, for them to earn the dollars we’re paying them.

          • itdoesntaddup 3 years ago

            Where do you get that myth from? Most of Europe operates as one synchronous grid, in which wind is a rather small element. It benefits from all the grid stability and backup provided by fossil fuels, hydro and nuclear generation.

            EU wide electricity generation was 3,247TWh last year, of which 300TWh was wind and 112TWh was solar.

            SA is right in the forefront of the experiment with high penetration of renewables, especially every time its interconnects with Victoria trip out.

        • David Osmond 3 years ago

          care to point where in the final report it mentions that the system was black before the the towers blew over?

    • trackdaze 3 years ago

      So it will be able to absorb 10% of wind generation in SA for use when the wind doesnt blow or a gas plant fails to start or just fails.

      Nice, pretty good for the first of many infront and behind the meter.

      • harryrsnape 3 years ago

        Nope, Tesla systems produce 1/4 of their total storage for 4 hours.
        i.e. a 100MWh system can produce a peak amount of 25MW for 4 hours. They are based on the Tesla utility grade PowerPack system.
        So 2.5%, not 10%.

        • itdoesntaddup 3 years ago

          Tesla have specified the system as 129MWH of storage, with a peak output capacity of 100MW. Most of its use will actually be to supply or absorb power for a few seconds at a time to help stabilise the grid. Occasionally, that might extend to 10-15 minutes while a gas generator gets up to speed.

        • neroden 3 years ago

          OK, still trying to figure out this mismatch.

          I think Tesla can up the peak power simply by changing the way the packs are wired together. 50MW for 2 hours should be as easy as 25 MW for 4 hours. 100MW for 1 hour should be viable with a 100MWh system.

    • Trent Deverell 3 years ago

      In respect to the big storm event, nothing economically practical would have likely covered the initial brown-out from major/multiple network failures.

      However, when during LOR1/2 events as my previous comment highlights a 100MW of instanteously available capacity buys time to get other capacity on-line and/or run the network in a more efficient manner overall.

      • itdoesntaddup 3 years ago

        Well, if you exclude using fossil fuels and hydro instead of solar and wind renewables. A zero renewables grid would have had no trouble at all. It would probably have coped with the loss of the blown over transmission lines as well.

        • neroden 3 years ago

          Bullshit. An all-fossil centralized-power-plant grid would have crashed completely, immediately, and the transmission line losses would have kept it down for WEEKS.

          You forget that some of us have actually dealt with such things in other countries.

          Distributed power is more robust than centralized power.

          • itdoesntaddup 3 years ago

            A sensible grid for SA would have something like 3.5-4GW of capacity (assuming no power imports), split across at least 10 gensets and multiple locations. There is no reason for any of them to have crashed in 80kph winds of your little “big storm”. Even if one did, the others would have easily taken up the slack. The grid would be decentralised sufficiently to provide a robust supply, with alternative routing available between generators and demand for much of it.

            As it was, it was the thermal plants that were last to trip out in the big blackout: they proved their reliability while windfarms were shutting left, right and centre. The thermal stations only tripped when the load was entirely thrust on their inadequate capacity.

            So in short your idea that wind is more robust is fair bunkum.

          • BushAxe 3 years ago

            I think you need to read the AEMO report and get some actual facts on the events leading in the september system black, several points you have stated are incorrect. Then go and read the report on the march substation fire at TIPS where 500MW of gas generation tripped out almost blacking out the state again.

          • itdoesntaddup 3 years ago

            I have read the report. You’ll find it here:


            Perhaps you should give it a go yourself?

            As the number of faults on the transmission network grew, nine wind farms in the mid-north of SA exhibited a sustained reduction in power as a protection feature activated. For eight of these wind farms, the protection settings of their wind turbines allowed them to withstand a pre-set number of voltage dips within a two-minute period. Activation of this protection feature resulted in a significant
            sustained power reduction for these wind farms. A sustained generation reduction of 456 megawatts (MW) occurred over a period of less than seven seconds.
            The reduction in wind farm output caused a significant increase in imported power flowing through the Heywood Interconnector. Approximately 700 milliseconds (ms) after the reduction of output from the last of the wind farms, the flow on the Victoria–SA Heywood Interconnector reached such a level that it activated a special protection scheme that tripped the interconnector offline. The SA power system then became separated (“islanded”) from the rest of the NEM. Without any substantial load shedding following the system separation, the remaining generation was much less than the connected load and unable to maintain the islanded system frequency. As a result, all supply to the SA region was lost at 4.18 pm (the Black System). AEMO’s analysis shows that following system separation, frequency collapse and the consequent Black System was inevitable.

          • itdoesntaddup 3 years ago

            You make the point by referring to the TIPS fire. Because there was no alternative spinning reserve, the blackout risk was very real. Wind can’t provide spinning reserve. Musk’s battery can only offer a limited alternative. The SA system should be robust to the loss of its largest power sources – the Heywood Connector – but it is a long way from that.

          • neroden 3 years ago

            I actually lived through the Great Northeast US blackout, where all the fossil fuel plants tripped and made a mess. Hydro, wind, and solar came back early (at the time there was very little wind and solar).

            I know what I’m talking about and you’re full of shit.

            As BushAxe points out, you’re also full of shit on the South Australia case, where the fossil fuel plants tripped and shut down quickly. And one never started at all.

            I don’t talk to people who are full of shit. So after pointing out your shittiness to the general public, I am reporting and blocking you.

          • BushAxe 3 years ago

            Chill, he’s a FF troll.

          • itdoesntaddup 3 years ago

            Temper, temper! I suggest you read tha AEMO final report which states quite clearly that the conventional generators stayed up after the wind shut down. It’s here:


  3. trackdaze 3 years ago

    Double what was installed in australia last year @52Mwh.

  4. juxx0r 3 years ago

    Thank you Giles, best news I’ve heard all year.

  5. Blind Freddy 3 years ago

    IMO 100MW is a drop in the power ocean and if that 129MWH storage puts out its max power it lasts…at best….about 80 minutes. We use GWs and GWHs of electricity. So basically it makes no measurable difference in either power output or duration in the case of a power outage. It’s a step in the right direction, but VERY small.

    • Paul 3 years ago

      I think your numbers are out….on the generous side. No way 80 minutes of SA demand.

      • Blind Freddy 3 years ago

        Given that the unit cannot provide anywhere near the SA demand anyway, I think….no I said…that it would be 80 min at 100MW.

    • Chris Jones 3 years ago

      You’re right – it is a drop in the energy demand ocean, but it’s the first of many drops. In a place like SA where mountains and rainfall don’t allow for much in the way of pumped Hydro, batteries are a very good option, even if they’re expensive. If Snowy 2.0 gets a wriggle on, we’re well on our way to a renewable energy future.

      • Ren Stimpy 3 years ago

        This will open up a pretty good supply chain, and spur the competition on to better offerings in future i.e. grid battery installs here of similar magnitude will quickly get less expensive from here forwards.

      • Blind Freddy 3 years ago

        I live in WA so yeah I know about non0-hydro capabilities :). I think my concern is mainly that people will not realise how small this thing is and expect it to answer everything.

        • Chris Jones 3 years ago

          Sandgroper here too. And yes it will want to get cheaper for the next one too; this is a billion dollar project!

          • Cooma Doug 3 years ago

            Where did you get the billion dollars from?
            It only costs 250 million to put that much battery storage on houses.

          • Chris Jones 3 years ago

            Sorry, I was referring to the total SA energy spend, including the extra generation and infrastructure being added to the system.

      • Blind Freddy 3 years ago

        Sorry, butr another comment. I realised why I am so concerned about all the hype. The power wall has triggered a lot of stuff about going off grid and for the average household that is just not on at 10KWH,…….think 4 days of heavy cloud and rain etc.

        • neroden 3 years ago

          I am pretty sure I can go off grid in a couple of years and I have a high-usage household with a small roof.

          On some days I’ll have to turn off most of my discretionary electricity-guzzling equipment. But I think I can cover heat and lights, which is all that really matters…. around here we get grid outages sufficiently often I’m used to dealing with having the rest of the stuff out, you see.

          I am also pretty sure it’s not going to be cost-effective to go off grid. But it seems technically feasible.

          • Blind Freddy 3 years ago

            You are pretty sure. Show figures.

          • neroden 3 years ago

            I am under no obligation to provide my personal analytical spreadsheets to you. They add up.

            Buying a Powerpack for personal use is kind of expensive, though. Definitely in “hobby for the rich” price levels right now.

          • Blind Freddy 3 years ago

            Well I guess we are under no obligation to take any notice of statements made without any visible foundation……

          • neroden 3 years ago

            Well, you’re under no obligation to, if you’re a complete idiot.

            I mean, it’s easy enough for you to do the math, but I don’t feel like disclosing the specs of my house, which is a private matter.

            I should note that my house is superinsulated so the heating and cooling costs are rock-bottom cheap to start with. That’s important.

          • Tom 3 years ago

            There’s an alternative to installing more batteries – install a small generator. Have this going for a couple of days twice a year during those said periods. It might cost a few thousand to buy and hook up, and it might be a pain having Jerry cans around the place, but it would be much cheaper than expanding your 10kWh battery to 40 or 60 kWh.

            PS – a personal PowerPack would be awesome though. No more problems charging your car.

          • juxx0r 3 years ago

            My figures show it’s cheaper with a 5kW solar system and a powerwall than what we pay for power, let alone the $1/day to be connected. Your mileage may vary, but as soon as they release the off grid powerwall, I’m off.


      • solarguy 3 years ago

        Plenty of water in the sea though Chris. Are you aware of Energy Australia’s plan for sea water PHES?

        • Chris Jones 3 years ago

          Yes, and it certainly looks very feasible, however there are some very high conservation value areas which would be negatively affected by seawater storage if the reservoir were to leak. One way around that may be to desalinate the water going into the upper reservoir and have a suitably sized lower reservoir to contain the outflow. Adds to the already substantial costs though…

          • solarguy 3 years ago

            Highly unlikely it would leak. When was the last time you heard of a dam failing? Depending on the height above sea level this dam will be built, it could be dug out of the ground or partly so. The most pressure is at the bottom of any dam, so if all or most is under ground level and engineered correctly, I doubt there will be problems.

          • Chris Jones 3 years ago

            Of course it’s unlikely, but the result if it did would be catastrophic. The dams would have to be lined completely as the salt would leach its way into the surrounding landscape. The dam may not be breached, but the salinity will kill all plant life around it. Moreover, the land around Commissariat Point is quite stunning, and I doubt people will take kindly to a bunch of concrete reservoirs on the hills. Wind turbines can be enough trouble as it is!

          • solarguy 3 years ago

            I’m sure the geo techs and engineers will make sure it was lined.

    • Trent Deverell 3 years ago

      The battery is meant to buy enough time to get a gas unit up to speed and improve overall system efficiency by filling in the capacity increments on large gas units and momentary wobbles from wind and solar.

      Makes perfect cents..

    • Tom 3 years ago

      True from a MWh point of view, but its FCAS potential is huge. The rule that 4 gas generators need to be generating if wind is generating over 1200MW must surely be abandoned once this battery is up and running.

      This year so far there has been an almost continuously high wholesale energy price in all states, but soon in SA there will be times when the price of energy goes very low as more wind generation is being produced than demand for it. These ultra-low-price periods will become longer, more frequent, and more widespread as time goes on.

      Arbitrage (buying cheap energy and re-selling it when expensive) has been a nightmare so far this year – nobody knows what “cheap” is as many days it is over $80/MWh for days on end. However, once these ultra-low-price periods start appearing, arbitrage will become easy, and very valuable. Grid-scale batteries will absolutely take off once this happens – no subsidies required.

      • AllanO 3 years ago

        The “4 gas generators” protocol is not about FCAS but fault current (system strength) Tom. I doubt that the battery installation by itself will change things on that front. But it will presumably be set up to provide FCAS regulation and perhaps even Fast Frequency Response so may make a difference to the price of FCAS and some impact on inertia requirements.

        • BushAxe 3 years ago

          I think it will as normally they will run a few TIPS units at 20% during high wind generation, so the battery will easily provide the same level of fault response.

    • Cooma Doug 3 years ago

      Blind Freddy
      Working as a grid controller for 30 plus years I say the following. This system, if available in my experiance would have averted almost all of the critical system disturbances I had to deal with on shift.
      It would not have solved the problems we had after the Newcastle earthquake in 1989. It would have prevented a state separation I experianced in 2001.
      Out of about 100 serious frequency disturbances I experianced from 1982 to 2015, almost all were caused by failure of coal base load generators. I believe that a system as described in this article, if available in each state, would have averted all these situations at a fraction of the cost of the methods we did use.

      Apart from this, the system as described, will sit in the market in an optimum way and scrape in top value from the wholsale market.

      • PeteDisqus321 3 years ago

        Could you elucidate a little more on this? I’d be interested to hear some numbers. I’m no expert, but it seems like having 100 MW on tap for about an hour wouldn’t have much impact.

        • harryrsnape 3 years ago

          It’s 30MW, the limit on Tesla batteries is 1/4 of the total capacity delivered across 4 hours. You can use lower peak capacity and extend the lifetime but you cannot extract it any faster than over 4 hours.

          • itdoesntaddup 3 years ago

            No, the maximum output is 100MW as specified by Tesla: that’s their design for this installation.

          • harryrsnape 3 years ago

            They also said they are using their Powerpack2 systems, and the datasheets for those systems say they store 210kWh per unit and have a peak output of 50kW. I doubt they plan to redesign these systems in the 100 days they have to produce a solution. Using those systems a 100MW system would store 420MWhr of energy. So somethings amiss in the info we have on the system.

          • neroden 3 years ago

            Yeah, it looks like we don’t have proper specs available.

            You know what? I suspect it does have 420 MWh of storage capacity. The reported 129 MWh is probably the spec requirement. I betcha it’s actually overbuilt, and that Neoen knows this.

            If the cycling is kept shallow the batteries will last much longer. So instead of a 10-year warranty they may be running with a 25 or 30 year lifetime by shallow cycling…

          • itdoesntaddup 3 years ago

            Tesla have designed and specified the system. Why do you doubt their information? Remember, they have been working on this for months already. When did Musk first make his offer? Back in March. Do you think he did it without any prior study? How long ago now is the big storm blackout? Last September.

          • WR 3 years ago

            The power output depends on the inverter, not the battery. You can think of the specs as consisting of a 129 MWh battery with a 100 MW inverter. Undoubtedly they can modify their inverters to provide those stated specs.

          • Michael James 3 years ago

            A full spec has not been given. Here is a description of Tesla’s installation in San Diego which opened in February:

            Largest grid-tied lithium ion battery system deployed today in San Diego
            Megan Geuss, 25 Feb 2017

            “On Friday, Southern California utility San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) held a small press conference in Escondido to show off its brand new energy storage facility, a 30MW battery system capable of storing 120MWh of energy, which can serve 20,000 customers for four hours. ”

            So clearly the “30MW” is not nameplate capacity, but what is delivered for 4 hours, while the SA system is 100MW for 80 mins.(?) Like harrysnape suggests, the battery installation must have a considerably higher nameplate capacity to deliver that. But it is what is delivered that the customer pays for and which contracts specify.

            The San Diego system began construction in December and opened 25 Feb 2017, so this is why Musk is confident he can deliver. Presumably the SA system is more or less three times the SDG&E system?

            But note that this “world’s greatest” only applies to Lithium-ion as there are bigger installations: Kyushu Electric Power Co., installed a 50 MW, 300 MWh sodium-sulfur battery facility that went into service in March 2016.

        • Cooma Doug 3 years ago

          As a matter of interest.
          In the coming sumer we have peaks of about 2800 MWs on the SA grid.
          If the largest generation site (Pelican Point) tripped , ie. 487 mws, the battery could instanly respond. The frequency would otherwise fall to 49.7 hz but the battery response would maintain the frequency above 49.85 hz. Doesnt sound like much but it is a significant difference and
          changes the nature of the response. Minor alterations in the VIC interconection flow would quickly restore to 50 hz.

          This would then require market response to prepare for the next worst case possibility. The battery would not need to provide more than 5 or 10 minutes of 100mw and could be placed back to zero output for further problems that may happen.
          SA is also leading the way now in load side response. The contribution will be very significant as it will be targetted effectively for security across the whole day and not like the old hot water functions, same time same place every day achieving nothing for security.

          • neroden 3 years ago

            I appreciate the detail, Cooma Doug.

          • Tom 3 years ago

            Me too. Thanks.

  6. Ray Miller 3 years ago

    By making 100MW available at milliseconds notice should reduce the need for the current high gas usage with renewables curtailed?

    Giles it might be worth an article or two on the comparisons of the different technologies, i.e. wind, hydro, gas for the grid support services they all provide relative to their generating capacity?

    • Giles 3 years ago

      Yep, good idea. I think it generally agreed that 100MW of battery storage would have arrested those voltage swings experienced before the system black, and given AEMO time to Think of Something. The gas generators were so slow the horse had bolted before they could react. after 6 seconds they were still going in the opposite direction to where needed. their blushes were saved by settings on wind farms.

  7. michael 3 years ago

    do we know on what basis revenue is derived by the batteries? is it simply inside the gate of the wind farm and their sales of power to the grid, or is it paid to provide services other than straight MWh to the grid and if so, what are these items/rate?

    • Giles 3 years ago

      no we don’t. there is some support from s.a. government and some nature of a contract, but the details have not yet been released

      • michael 3 years ago

        hopefully they release details would be interesting to see; far easier to value a battery behind the meter for a user, than to quantify and determine a remuneration scheme for the value it provides to a wider network, some of which would be subjective as to which element of the network was providing said function until an emergency situation when it could be determined

    • itdoesntaddup 3 years ago

      Pricing for the services it is likely to offer is simply undeveloped on any detailed metering basis. Grid batteries installed elsewhere mainly have an agreed annual revenue, and an agreed level of service in terms of speed, capacity provided and duration of response (per incident, and obviously some limits on the total call on the batteries in a series of closely spaced incidents). There may be a penalty for failure to meet agreed response.

  8. Brunel 3 years ago

    464.4 GJ battery!

  9. JIm 3 years ago

    So what will happen to that plan to invest in more gas generation?

    • Miles Harding 3 years ago

      Nothing, I would assume.
      The battery isn’t a generator so the two fulfill differing roles.

      • Ren Stimpy 3 years ago

        Ah but the battery is a generator. It is collecting energy that would otherwise go to waste due to low demand or non-“firmed” generation, for later/batched supply. It’s output is an addition to the current generation that makes it to the grid.

        • DJR96 3 years ago

          See this is the problem here. Currently there is no category for storage in the network.
          The NEM really needs a new category – “Network Storage Service Provider”, for energy storage. Then it doesn’t have to pretend to be something it is not to be able to participate in the NEM. And when storage is correctly identified and treat as such, it will be able to fully realise all the benefits it can provide.

          • Ren Stimpy 3 years ago

            Yes “Service Provider” aka supplier. Without getting too caught up in semantics, isn’t ‘supplying’ the only type of interaction this thing will have with the NEM? Adding energy that would otherwise have been wasted(unavailable) to the available pool of supply?

            For all intents and purposes it seems just like a generator.

          • DJR96 3 years ago

            No. Yes it can “supply” power. But it can “absorb” power at the same rate too. And this is important because not only can it absorb and store excess energy from the adjoining windfarm when it might otherwise have to be curtailed like we saw a couple of weeks ago. But it can also absorb some from a gas plant when it could be the difference between having to shut down for a few hours or not. Generally they would rather keep going at low prices than shut down and re-start, loss in efficiency doing that. And the other thing is they could absorb energy from the inter-connector from Victoria and put it back in when a gas plant might otherwise have to start. It is entirely possible that it can prevent some gas from having to run sometimes. That can be a big saving.

            So being able to absorb as well as supply are just as equally beneficial traits.

          • Tom 3 years ago

            You’d think that AEMO would already have something in place that would cover the function of Tumut 3 and Wivenhoe. I wouldn’t be surprised if they don’t though.

          • DJR96 3 years ago

            Good point. At that is exactly why these plants aren’t utilised anywhere near as well as they should. Because they are only treated as a generator.
            I’m glad you brought that up because it highlights my point nicely. Thank you.

      • WR 3 years ago

        It’s not a generator but it is supply … and demand, as well, but not at the same time.

    • Giles 3 years ago

      good question. it was always going to be the case that 100MW of battery storage was going to be needed and the gas plant, but i wouldn’t be surprised if they cancel the gas plant. they already reviewing the energy security target. time will tell.

      • solarguy 3 years ago

        Although a 100MW battery is a good start, it won’t be enough for a prolonged high demand scenario. More storage will be needed and I’m sure this will occur in time.

        • john 3 years ago

          Exactly and that is why they are going to build pumped hydro using sea water.

        • Alastair Leith 3 years ago

          More storage or more capacity in form of a mix of renewables. There’s certainly room in SA for more energy from RE and capacity, until the Heywood is permanently shipping in the export direction for SA they have room for more.

      • BushAxe 3 years ago

        Unless they are looking at those GT/battery hybrid units you wrote about earlier this year, which would tie in with the concept of improving grid stability by having them located at strategic points across the state.

    • David leitch 3 years ago

      In the short term (this summer) pelican point will have gas to run at full capacity. There is also more wind (horncastle). In a year or two agl’s reciprocating engines will add additional felexible on demand supply plus there is more wind and solar. I expect there is additional behind the meter storage.

      • brucelee 3 years ago

        What are the chances they’ll cancel the gas generation and build another $360M in battery storage, that would be the ultimate outcome wouldn’t it?

  10. Patrick Comerford 3 years ago

    Congrats to Jay Elon and Neoen. Kind of leaves Turnbull and Joshy left like two shags on a rock.

    • RobSa 3 years ago

      It leaves the idea of conservatism out to dry. It is conservatives and followers of hard right ideology that oppose renewable energy. They have held back renewable power generation in Australia. Soon we will have same sex marriage in Australia and that will be another major blow to the movement. This news is emblematic of the failure of conservatism.

      Renewable energy debate

      “Public policies can be developed and implemented that put our international commitments on climate change first, climate science first, and public health first, by moving to energy efficiency and renewable energy sources.” – David Suzuki

      “What we truly need is to start spending much greater sums of public
      money, that is, energy allocated for public purposes, to jump start the
      creation of a sustainable, renewable energy society. We don’t have much
      time to prepare.” – Kurt Cobb

      “A sustainable energy policy must be based upon a dramatic reduction in the use of fossil fuels and a search for alternative, renewable energy sources such as solar energy, wind and wave power. These are by their very nature
      sustainable and can be treated as ‘income’ rather than ‘natural capital’.” – Andrew Heywood

      “We need bottom up democracy. We need small-scale economies, and small-scale technologies powered by renewable energy. We need smaller communities, structured to be self-sufficient, all tied together by high speed monorails. We need gardens and parks in our cities instead of cars. We need social halls, not shopping malls. And we have enough energy remaining to do
      this, if we act now.” – Dale Allen Pfeiffer

      “True individual and family security will come only with community
      solidarity and interdependence. Living in a community that is weathering
      the downslope well will enhance personal chances of surviving and
      prospering far more than will individual efforts at stockpiling tools or
      growing food. Meanwhile, nations must adopt radical energy
      conservation measures, invest in renewable energy research, support
      sustainable local food systems instead of giant biotech agribusiness,
      adopt no-growth economic and population policies, and strive for
      international resource cooperation agreements.” – Richard Heinberg


      • Ren Stimpy 3 years ago

        “I found a moonrock in my nose.” – Ralph Wiggum

      • michael 3 years ago

        as much as renewables have a role to play, i wouldn’t go to David Suzuki to get power network policy, that’s not his area of expertise is it? and Pfieffer is a geologist, again not a great reference point for how to supply power to a society

        And equating renewables as a hard connection to left/right idealogy whilst simple/easy is not always that straight forward, as attractive as that attack point is to some on the left

        • neroden 3 years ago

          The best description of right-wing ideology is that they want a return to aristocracy: those who are currently in power should remain in power forever. They think that the current incumbents who are rich and powerful were put there by God and should be kept there forever regardless of any facts. This has been the meaning of “right wing” since the term “right-wing” was coined during the French Revolution, and it hasn’t changed one bit.

          As part of this, right-wing ideology is fundamentally opposed to science, opposed to reason, opposed to rational thought, opposed to evidence, and opposed to reality, because all these things might challenge the dogma that those who are in power now should be in power forever.

          There is a hard connection between right-wing ideology and opposition to renewables. And there will be until the fossil fuel incumbents are all dead or powerless, at which point suddenly the right-wingers will back the *new* powerful/rich people.

          (Left-wing ideology, on the other hand, can either support or oppose renewables or be indifferent. Same with “centrist” ideology.)

          I should note that I do not believe that right-wingers deserve to be called “conservative” — they are not conserving anything. They are radical extremist reactionaries trying to disrupt things. I guess when aristocracy was the status quo, they were conservatives, but democracy has been the status quo for 100 years, and they haven’t been conservative for 100 years.

          All true conservatives are now found on in “left wing” politics.

          • itdoesntaddup 3 years ago

            Seems to me that it has been the green ideology that has steadfastly refused to recognise that a grid that relies heavily on wind and solar is subject to high levels of blackout risk. Or maybe that’s the idea?

            Even hydro power requires careful harvesting of the resource, so as not to be caught out by several years of relative drought.

          • Brian Tehan 3 years ago

            I think you’re missing the point on renewables. The energy market operator thinks that we can have up to 40% renewables in our existing grid without thinking about complementary technologies. This article is about the recent installation and contracting of complementary technology which will increase the percentage significantly. I expect that we’ll see a lot more storage of various kinds coming online fairly quickly. As far as hydro and pumped hydro is concerned, it’s the perfect complementary technology for renewables, where you can actually build up capacity when renewables are generating excess power.

          • michael 3 years ago

            wow, if you say so… your bias shines through strongly. Left can do no wrong and can have differing thoughts on matters, right is a singularity of thought. I wonder if you realize that what came before renewables for power generation was based on scientific principles, maybe some rational exploration basis and some sound rational business building principles…. hmmm back to the drawing board

            You should keep your far left views out of conversations about real life things like power supply

          • neroden 3 years ago

            You just showed your idiotic, tribal bias. Did I even say anything good about “left wing” politics? I didn’t.

          • michael 3 years ago

            it was a fully balanced comment with no hue cast on either side of the political spectrum now that i re-read it… oh no it wasn’t, it listed a whole bunch of negative stereotypes against the ‘right’ of the spectrum and a few positives about the ‘left’ and also mentioned very distinct political themes like the aristocracy and the french revolution

            seeing as you know the ENTIRE history of the energy business, i’ll leave you to your post doctorate research. Hint, probably don’t propose generalisations such as right wing people are anti-science or anti-logic, it’s simply not true… that is what shows your tribal bias

  11. Les Johnston 3 years ago

    Now it is time for the regulator to price the short term supply response of batteries. So much faster than coal fired power.

    • David leitch 3 years ago


    • itdoesntaddup 3 years ago

      Depends what you mean by supply response. If coal fired generation is already spinning, and operating at say 500MW out of 600MW capacity, the extra 100MW can be there pretty fast. If you want to start the boilers from cold, that is a very different matter.

  12. Michael Murray 3 years ago

    Would this be enough power to restart the network if we had the whole thing fall over again ? Assuming the infrastructure connecting it to the grid was up of course.

    • metro70 3 years ago

      Powering 50000 to 60000 homes for an hour or so?

      • Michael Murray 3 years ago

        No I mean would it be enough power to get the other gas generators online. Black starts are quite tricky apparently. You need power to get the generators started. A bit like how my gas stove, heater and water heater need electricity to run. According to AEMO we had systems in place called System Restart Ancillary Services that are supposed to do this job but fell over when called upon last year.

        • BushAxe 3 years ago

          I would have thought it will be an excellent restart source with it’s ability to inject a large amount of power into the transmission network very quickly as well as providing FCAS and then absorb/supply power as you bring generation/load online.

          • Michael Murray 3 years ago


        • James Stracey 3 years ago

          What? They can’t just use an idustralised sized match?

          • Michael Murray 3 years ago

            Ah I can just see 100 guys with something like a giant battering ram lit at one end marching towards the generator.

        • neroden 3 years ago

          Yes, this is plenty of power to “black start” the gas power plants (assuming the grid connection is up to the task). Batteries are ideal for black starts, actually.

  13. Robert Westinghouse 3 years ago

    At last some sensibility – Well DONE S.A…. go and tell Turnbull to get back here and fix his mess.

  14. Ben Dixon 3 years ago

    What a great weekend we have now. Up yours, our right wing climate denying leaders.

  15. Robert Comerford 3 years ago

    Finally, a sensible move. Now we need to see the end of the gas nonsense.
    Either pumped hydro or solar thermal can take up that role.
    Natural gas is just another highly polluting fossil fuel which like coal and oil needs to be kept in the ground.
    When we have more renewable generation than can be used by the grid or
    storage then time to crack water into hydrogen for use where it makes

    • Webber Depor 3 years ago

      lng is living its golden years what r u talki’ bout bud?

  16. WR 3 years ago

    I’ve been reading some of the news about this on the ABC website.

    It looks like Tesla is supplying and installing most of the hardware and that Neoen will be running the system and trying to make money from the frequency control and ancillary market, and also from arbitrage.

    In addition, the SA government appears to have bought rights to using at least 70% of capacity (70MW) to help meet peak demand during exceptional events such as summer heat waves.

    I guess we’ll find out more next week.

  17. Gabi Gerrie 3 years ago

    Interesting times… but how long will 100MW last if the wind doesn’t blow and the sun doesn’t shine?

    • Webber Depor 3 years ago

      look buddy, u can not feed all country with li-ions, gotta? they die….. and when temperatures goes up, they die much more quickly.

      on the other hand u have nuc. , lng, and coal. u can use all of that for 50 fucking years, 50 fucking YE-ARS!!!!! yo know wha i mean?

      have a nice day buddy

    • Calamity_Jean 3 years ago

      Long enough to get the gas generators up and running. This is only a first step, there will be more batteries installed in the future.

    • neroden 3 years ago

      If the sun never shines, you have a bigger problem. (The death of all life on earth, etc.) Don’t worry about it.

      • BushAxe 3 years ago

        Yeah my thoughts too lol!

  18. Tyger Tyger 3 years ago

    Hi Giles and fellow posters. There’s some discussion online with the naysayers saying this system can’t deliver 100MW from only 129MWh storage as Tesla’s Powerpack is designed to deliver only a quarter of its storage capacity for around 4 hours, which would amount to just over 30MW max. output in this instance. This despite all the publicity around this announcement, including Tesla’s own press release, saying this system will be able to deliver 100MW for around an hour. Is there anyone out there can help with the technical aspects? Can the existing Powerpacks be tweaked so’s they can deliver a higher output for a shorter time? Or are they not the same batteries as used in other Tesla products? I’ve searched and searched online but haven’t yet been able to find any technical details on the project. Cheers.

    • solarguy 3 years ago

      100MW is what the battery will deliver max, so if discharged at this rate for 1 hour, it will produce 100MWh and will be exhausted. However, if discharged at say a rate of 50MW, it will last 2hrs or more as the rate of discharge is less and so able to give up more energy.

      So if Tesla’s 100MW battery is discharged at a slightly lower rate it can produce more energy.

      • Tyger Tyger 3 years ago

        Cheers, solarguy. I understand that’s what is being claimed for the project, but there are several people objecting to those numbers online, saying Tesla Powerpacks can only deliver a maximum of one quarter of their capacity for up to four hours, that you can reduce the load and extend the battery life, but can’t increase the load beyond that one quarter capacity. That was also my understanding of how Tesla Powerpacks function prior to this announcement. That’s why I’m wondering whether the S.A. project is using a newly developed battery, or perhaps different software or anciliary equipment, to be able to extract roughly 75% of it’s storage capacity at a given moment, as distinct from the usual 25%.

        • neroden 3 years ago

          So Tesla’s Powerpacks have cells, assembled into modules, and the modules are assembled into Powerpacks, and then the Powerpacks are connected to an inverter.

          The limitation on peak power rate appears to be at the high levels: most likely the inverter and the wiring to the inverter, maybe the Powerpack level, or *possibly* the module level.

          The cells are definitely good for this power rate. I am guessing based on the South Australia announcement that the modules are also good for this power rate. They may have beefed up the wiring inside the Packs and from the pack to the inverter, and they have definitely beefed up the inverters.

          • Tyger Tyger 3 years ago

            Thanks so much for that, neroden. Exactly what I was after. Cheers!

      • itdoesntaddup 3 years ago

        100MW is peak output capacity. Most of the time, the battery will only supply power to the grid for a few seconds at a time to cope with sudden variations in wind output or in demand. Sometimes it will be used for a period of minutes while other generators are brought on line. It isn’t really designed to be run right down – full cycling of the capacity would lead to deterioration of the batteries.

    • neroden 3 years ago

      After investigating, the Powerpack battery cells technically capable of pushing out power at the rate stated. The standard commercial model is probably software-limited to a lower rate of output. I’m pretty sure they can deliver a higher output for a shorter time just by tweaking the wiring and the inverters.

    • BushAxe 3 years ago

      The systems are customised to suit the application, Tesla is a bit vague on details but if you look at the other big manufacturers like LG, Samsung, etc they will build the system for what is required ie short term grid stabilisation or longer term load shifting. This is why we will have to look at specs for each system when comparing costs as systems that have larger inverter capacity will obviously cost more for the same MWh capacity.

  19. itdoesntaddup 3 years ago

    Maximum demand in South Australia is about 2.9GW according to AEMO (and about 1.4GW on average). So the 100 MW maximum rate of discharge of the 129MWh storage capacity would fill just over 3% of that for 75 minutes if the batteries happened to be fully charged. Or about a fifth of the capacity of the Heywood link for the same period. It is not going to provide a magic storage solution to cover for periods when wind output falls away – or even if the Heywood connector trips out again.

    The best that this system will manage is to replace a small amount of the loss of grid inertia arising from the closure or non-availability of fossil fuel power stations with their rotational inertia that copes with very short term variations in supply and demand that lead to fluctuations in grid frequency absent inertia. It will reduce the amount of “flicker” on the grid, and thus lower local blackout risk at the margin. It won’t manage to stabilise the entire grid.

    Have fun finding out the realities!

    • neroden 3 years ago

      So, first of all, this can completely stabilize the frequency on the grid in the nearby area. (I think batteries at other locations must be installed to stabilize the frequency in areas far away, since frequency does change as you get further away.) That’s a big deal as it prevents a lot of the stupid faults which have troubled the grid in the past.

      It’s also large enough to ride out an hour-long failure of any one turbine at a gas power station in South Australia, except at Pelican Point or Torrens Island. All the other turbines appear to be significantly smaller than 100 MW.

      To ride out an hour-long failure at Torrens Island or Pelican Point, it looks like a second 100MW battery installation would be needed (it seems like the turbines at each of those are about 160 MW).

      There are a few much larger single-point-of-failure turbines in Victoria, so I guess they’ll need more batteries in the short term…

      • itdoesntaddup 3 years ago

        Your real problem is not the odd gas turbine tripping out, but systemic low levels of renewables output when the wind doesn’t blow (or blows too hard) and the sun doesn’t shine enough. You’ve just had a month with the lowest output from wind for 5 years – just 4.5TWh out of demand of 16TWh. The record month (April last year) saw wind production of 13TWh. You need enormous amounts of storage if you hope to even out that degree of variability in production without recourse to reliable, dispatchable fossil fuel or nuclear generation – 10TWh is nearly 80,000 Musk grid batteries. What happens if you get a couple of bad months in succession?

        • Ren Stimpy 3 years ago

          “80,000 Musk grid batteries”

          I’ve told you a billion times not to exaggerate that wildly.

          It’s not as if states will rely entirely on current wind output and grid scale batteries. There will also be
          – solar PV farms with their own storage
          – home and commercial solar PV with storage
          – interconnectors
          – constantly improving energy efficiency (rollout of LEDs etc)
          – demand response (voluntary and reimbursed)
          – more wind farms
          – possibly a biomass plant or a few
          – possibly a CST plant or a few
          – possibly a pumped hydro plant or a few

          There will be a need for more grid scale batteries, but let’s not get carried away with RIDICULOUS numbers.

          • itdoesntaddup 3 years ago

            Don’t think we’ve met before.

            What storage will there be for solar PV farms and some and commercial solar PV? Batteries? How many Musk powerwalls for the domestic stuff, and Musk grid scale batteries for the commercial? Where will you dump the solar midday surpluses? More curtailment?

            Good luck with demand response – unless you mean closing down industry. Demand response merely means the cost of private generation to replace grid supply otherwise.

            More wind farms soon means significant levels of curtailment, reducing revenue earning MWh. More subsidies needed.

            Interconnectors – fine so long as there’s something you can rely on the other end.

            Biomass – at least dispatchable, and eucalyptus burns well: not sure how long the forest survives once you start burning it in power stations as well as the natural fires. Lots of extra carbon produced for several decades. See Drax.

            Pumped hydro – also fine, but it really is only economic when storage is turned over close to daily, rather than covering longer scale intermittency or seasonality.

          • Ren Stimpy 3 years ago

            I’m sure we haven’t… it was just a variation on an old saying


            – Solar farms will add storage as storage costs continue to fall.
            – Commercial storage will probably be mainly powerwalls.
            – Industry will use the grid-sized storage modules.
            – Residential powerwalls can already save consumers money.


            – Residential powerwall costs are falling fast.


            – Midday surpluses will be dumped into the residential, commercial, industrial and grid storage. Also maybe pumped hydro. None of it will go to waste.
            – Demand response would be “voluntary and reimbursed” (quoting my comment). Only non-essential demand would be targeted, and the participants compensated in their power bill.
            – More wind and solar does not mean more curtailment with the appropriate amount of storage. Have you gone sour on the “80,000 Musk grid battery” potential for more storage so soon?
            – biomass usually only burns the wood waste from other industries that use the wood for building etc.
            – biomass has emissions of 230 g CO2eq/MWh, gas 490, coal 820.
            – agree on pumped hydro, and there will be plenty of cheap/excess power around midday for pumping which should make it economical.

          • itdoesntaddup 3 years ago

            The truth about biomass: https://notalotofpeopleknowthat.wordpress.com/2015/02/26/biomass-emits-double-the-co2-of-gas/

            I don’t think you begin to understand the economics of energy storage, nor the requirements for storage in a 100% renewables grid. Of course, we could go back to having to wait several weeks for there to be enough energy to run an industrial process or the aircon.

            It is a sad indictment of the failure of sensible investment in energy supply if powerwalls make economic sense anywhere. 20 years ago, Australia had plentiful, cheap power, as this history of electricity in Australia records (see p 11):


            As I have pointed out elsewhere in the thread, in June this year, wind generation was just 4.5TWh in Australia – way down on the maximum of 13 TWh recorded in April last year. You have to handle fluctuations on the order of a factor of three just at the monthly level, and then scale that up as you replace conventional power with wind and solar.

            At Adelaide’s 35 deg South, an optimally tilted solar panel

          • Ren Stimpy 3 years ago

            Your biomass reference is one lone study which made a number of assumptions and omissions (e.g. not accounting for the carbon retained in the ash). My numbers are the medians of vast ranges of studies, far more comprehensive.

            You seem to be under the misapprehension that we would switch to 100% renewables overnight. Then you make emotive statements based on that assumption, like “wait several weeks for there to be enough energy to run an industrial process or the aircon.” Sorry mate but that’s just plain hysteria. Fetch the smelling salts.

            If we ever do get to 100% renewables I guarantee it will be a SLOW process. Reliability won’t be sacrificed, because the transition will be judged by reliability at each tiny step along the way. The final amount of renewable energy on the grid will be the amount that can be put on the grid and see it remain reliable (excluding massive storms). Interconnectors, despatchable clean energy power plants, storage and grid management will be part of the mix to help us reach maximum clean energy penetration and still have a reliable grid.

          • itdoesntaddup 3 years ago

            You already have an unreliable grid. Load shedding is now assumed as a regular feature. Here’s what AEMO said about it last August:

            In the absence of new development, potential reductions in coal-powered generation capacity across the NEM would pose a risk to future supply reliability in South Australia. Under the 2016 National
            Electricity Forecasting Report (NEFR) neutral economic and consumer outlook, if 1,360 megawatt (MW) of coal-powered generation withdraws from the NEM in addition to the already announced 2,000 MW Liddell Power Station closure, reliability standard breaches are projected in South Australia from 2019−20 to 2020–21 and 2024–25 to 2025−26.

            In the rare event of the unexpected concurrent loss of both Heywood Interconnector lines, there is a high risk of a region-wide blackout in South Australia. South Australia has separated from the rest of the NEM due to such non-credible contingency events four times since 1999. The
            likelihood that a region-wide blackout would follow a non-credible islanding event has increased as the region has become more reliant on energy imports, and wind and rooftop photovoltaic (PV) generation, to meet demand.

            Of course, a month later you had your statewide blackout.

          • Ren Stimpy 3 years ago

            Nonsense. Grid reliability is deemed to be 99.998% supply. Show me how much lower than that the SA grid really is over the decade to now, then show me the NSW grid numbers for comparison – in which several large regions of coal-fired NSW were OUTSKI for week-long periods after massive storms during the past ten years.

            Massive bloody storms cause massive bloody damage. Only a political tool would not account for it.

            The blunt-instrument load shedding in SA for the Feb heatwave was really not necessary


            There is no doubt that SA needs to reduce the emphasis on its interconnector, and that it needs to increase its dispatchable generation which it can do with biomass, pumped hydro and CST, along with better targeting of its demand response (to scalpel level not broadsword level) and ramping up its storage capacity, both daily and seasonally. I’m convinced they’ll do what’s necessary to make it all work. There’s no valid counter-argument why they should give up, apart from some conservative mouth breathers making grunting noises.

          • itdoesntaddup 3 years ago

            Cost doesn’t matter?

            *Gets out popcorn*

          • Ren Stimpy 3 years ago

            Where exactly did I say “Cost doesn’t matter”?

            You are dreaming up your own right wing conservative scenario. Good luck but you won’t succeed, reality will intervene.

          • Ren Stimpy 3 years ago

            Show me where I actually said that, you cunt smacktard.

          • Ren Stimpy 3 years ago

            good rescue!

          • Ren Stimpy 3 years ago

            *Don’t choke on it*

          • itdoesntaddup 3 years ago

            When you and your mates resort to insults, it smacks of losing the argument.

            I suggest you start by doing some simple evaluations of the real data available to you. Take a look at the supply pattern from SA’s wind farms in June here:


            (You can set to SA only by clicking on the other states to remove them).

            You will see that wind output was truly intermittent, with periods of several days at a time when the output was negligible. There are also several supply spikes that go from zero to ~900MW and back again with fairly high ramp rates. It gives a flavour of the short term backup flexibility that is needed. 100MW of battery that lasts 75 minutes ain’t going to cut it.

            Next, take a look at the data in AEMO’s historical report – the Figure 19 sheet gives monthly wind
            outputs in MWh, and Figure 20 gives monthly average capacity factors, which vary between 24% and 50% over a whole month.


            There are periods of months where the capacity factor stays toward the lower end of the range, which would require extensive storage or backup or excess capacity. Peaks can be widely separated, making the use of storage much less economic.

            Now look at the monthly profile of solar output in Adelaide across a typical year:


            It varies by a factor of more than 3 between peak summer and winter. At grid scale that becomes another headache as the installation of solar increases from its current modest levels that only meet about 8% of demand. There is remarkably little seasonal variation in demand in SA, as the SAHMIR data reveals. However, days of peak demand require dispatchable energy of around twice the average. You have to ensure that 3GW+ is available to meet them. The extent to which fossil fuel is having to dance to back up and balance the system can be seen here:


            Cut the bravado and start doing the sums. They’re not pretty. They are pretty expensive.

          • Ren Stimpy 3 years ago

            Wind and solar generation are intermittent? Well knock me down with a feather. The thing is, they are also the cheapest forms of generation in the wholesale market.

            As I said, we need better types of dispatchable generation to compliment wind and solar.


            Currently our dispatchable generation is gas. The high price of gas is causing the high price of power.


            Gas prices will continue to trend upwards over the long term. So, let me repeat, we need more investment in dispatchable alternatives to gas fired power – i.e. pumped hydro, CST, biomass, etc. We also need better energy efficiency programs and targeted grid management programs to reduce demand peaks. We need more storage located at the large intermittent generators to ‘firm’ their output. We need more residential and commercial solar and storage to reduce demand peaks.

            If we continue with the status quo of using expensive gas fired power for most of our dispatchable generation, we’ll just be continuing on the highest cost pathway for our electricity system. Do the sums. What we need most of all is investment in alternatives to gas fired power.

          • itdoesntaddup 3 years ago

            An interesting chart on the history of the relative prices of gas and power, but I do not think that you have the direction of causation right. 60% of gas supply in SA is consumed in electricity generation, so it is the dominant customer. It is rather that electricity customers have bid up the price of power that allows gas to be sold at higher prices. The high prices were not necessary to cause the gas to be supplied in the past. However, the uncertain mess about the future plans for gas use has encouraged gas suppliers to develop other markets, leaving a potential shortfall in local supply according to AEMO projections. Australia produced over 91bcm in 2016, and exported 56bcm. The glut of gas in Asian markets caused LNG prices CIF Japan to fall from over 16 US$/MMBtu in 2012-14 (Fukushima inspired, it is true) to just under 7 US$/MMBtu in 2016. There is no real shortage of gas – only of common sense, which would have allowed you to tap into this supply and save the need to invest in other kinds of capacity.

            Still I’m sure you take comfort from Al Gore telling you that you are doing the right thing.

          • Ren Stimpy 3 years ago

            You say the high price of electricity causes the gas price to rise? Mate I think on that basis every comment you have ever made is nothing but bull shite. You have absolutely no idea.


            I mean, WTF could we ever expect from a Lord Monckton disciple whose DNA is to misinform and con the populace?

          • itdoesntaddup 3 years ago

            More abuse, more losing the argument. You know it’s true that a sensible government in South Australia would have ensured that the gas supply was going to be sufficient going forward, instead of assuming that renewables would cover it. Here’s AEMO again:

            “At a time when LNG export is dominating demand and supply of gas in eastern states, strategic national planning of gas development has never been more critical for maintaining domestic energy supply adequacy across both gas and electricity sectors,” said AEMO Chief Operating Officer Mike Cleary.

            This tightening of the domestic gas market will have flow-on effects to the electricity sector unless there is an increase in gas supplies and development. Without this development to support GPG, modelling
            suggests average electricity supply shortfalls of between approximately
            80 gigawatt hours (GWh) and 363 GWh may be experienced in 2018–19 and 2020–21. The scale of these shortfalls would breach the reliability
            standard which aims to supply at least 99.998% of electricity demand.

            So now you’re reduced to breaching export contracts to cover the gap.


            Why do you deny the facts? An inconvenient truth, perhaps?

          • Ren Stimpy 3 years ago

            A few quotes from your comment

            “LNG export is dominating demand and supply of gas”

            “tightening of the domestic gas market will have flow-on effects to the electricity sector”

            “export contracts”

            Do you still stand by your original opinion that high electricity prices ’cause’ high gas prices, and not vice versa?

            *….waiting for the backflip*

          • itdoesntaddup 3 years ago

            If LNG is selling for 7$/MMBtu cif Japan, amortization of the LNG facilities, energy costs of liquefaction, and shipping would take the value of the gas back to around 3US$/MMBtu at the LNG plant inlet flange. If you had signed up for supply, you would be paying that plus pipeline shipping – not having to bid for supply or get the government to pay up for compensation for breach of contract if there are shortfalls in supply to Japan and Korea.

            You bet I stand by what I said.

          • Ren Stimpy 3 years ago

            That’s a lot of ‘ifs’.

            *….still waiting for the backflip and eating popcorn*

          • itdoesntaddup 3 years ago

            If South Australia had a sensible energy policy it would not have these problems. That’s the only “if” that matters.

          • Ren Stimpy 3 years ago

            Sensible energy policy can only be built on the basis of fact.

            You have said that the high gas prices are caused by high electricity prices, when the opposite is the reality. A government minister last week has said renewables are killing people. Fossil fuel propagandists and right ring opinionistas are in denial not just of climate change but also the world’s investment response to climate change. You can hardly lecture South Australia on sensible policy when all we seem to get from you people is nonsensical misinformation, propaganda and downright hysteria, hmm?

          • itdoesntaddup 3 years ago

            Given the remarkable abundance of raw materials in Australia – uranium, gas and coal – it ranks with failing to organise a piss up in a brewery that South Australia doesn’t have cheap, reliable energy. You may start lecturing when you achieve that.

          • Ren Stimpy 3 years ago


            Yes I seem to remember an Australian state rich in uranium which, looking to capitalise on that, launched an independent Royal Commission to look further into the possibility of utilising that resource. From memory, that state, can’t recall its name yet, was the first truly open-minded, technology agnostic Australian government to formally consider such a step towards nuclear energy, and I’m trying to remember who they were, so just give me a minute………

            ….oh yeah, that’s right – it was Jay Weatherill’s SOUTH AUSTRALIA!

            That Royal Commission whose judgement was completely detatched from the government which instigated it, found that nuclear energy is NOWHERE NEAR viable in economic terms for energy generation in Australia.

          • itdoesntaddup 3 years ago

            It found that prohibitions prevented nuclear from being used, but recommended that they be lifted.


          • Ren Stimpy 3 years ago

            No, it found that nuclear energy generation was uneconomical.

            From the report:
            “Nuclear power generation would not be commercially viable in SA under current market rules.”

            The “prohibitions” were related to the import and storage of other countries’ nuclear waste.

          • itdoesntaddup 3 years ago

            “Current market rules” are designed to tilt the playing field towards expensive alternatives. They are not common sense.

          • Ren Stimpy 3 years ago

            Hear hear. Let’s go to the AEC and state our case shall we?

          • itdoesntaddup 3 years ago

            In case you hadn’t gathered, I’m not Australian. It’s for you to make your own mess. I can just look on and laugh.

          • Ren Stimpy 3 years ago

            I hadn’t gathered. I assumed you had some skin in the game here seeing the way you keep complaining.

          • Ren Stimpy 3 years ago

            You are yet another victim of the “cheap coal” myth.

            Why did Northern close in SA, and why did Hazelwood close in Vic? They were old, old girls, built back in the Soviet Era, designed for the Soviet Era when the state would look after them. But when market push came to profit shove, i.e. when they were privatised, their owners chose to run them into the ground then close them rather than maintain them properly.

            Most of our coal plant is in the same boat. No investor is putting money into new coal, mainly because of the investment uncertainty that Abbott created when he took a dump on good polity.

            Sun, wind and lithium has come to the rescue, matey! But we need to more pumped hydro, CST and biomass to lock it down.

          • itdoesntaddup 3 years ago

            Funny. I thought that the Heywood connector was enlarged to allow replacement coal fired power for the end of life power stations. I wonder what will happen as your wind farms start reaching end of life in a rather shorter span.

          • Ren Stimpy 3 years ago

            Wind farms have a life span of 20 to 25 years. Which is perfectly fine, given the cost of new wind energy plummets by 66% every 7 years.


            After 25 years a replacement windfarm will be incredibly cheaper than today’s cost, particularly if it reuses the site, the towers and the grid connection.

          • itdoesntaddup 3 years ago

            Good luck with that. What do you think will happen to the price of neodymium if wind keeps being built? Why do you exclude the cost of backup and storage that will be necessary as wind penetration increases? I’d forecast ever higher power prices.

          • Ren Stimpy 3 years ago

            “neodymium” ?

            I think what you’d forecast with any credibility is Jack Shit.

          • itdoesntaddup 3 years ago

            I thought you would have known that neodymium is an essential component of the magnets of wind turbine generators – with global supply dominated by China. Perhaps in your case it would be neodumbium.

          • Ren Stimpy 3 years ago

            Yeh good onya. I shouldn’t have thrown that jab so I guess neodumbium is about right. There are 120,000 metric tonnes of rare earth reserves in the world, with 44,000 metric tonnes in China. Large reserves in Brazil, Australia, India and the United States. If the price of rare earths goes up due to low supply, miners will get busy mining. And again, another great opportunity for Australia, because we’re pretty good at mining.

          • Ren Stimpy 3 years ago

            Plenty of rare earths are also recyclable.

      • itdoesntaddup 3 years ago

        Not sure you understand the concept of a grid running at a stable frequency. As soon as there is disparity in generation frequency, it won’t take many cycles before you get voltages operating in antiphase (try looking at a chart of sin(t)+sin(0.99t) ), which leads to pulsing lights and stuttering motors and generators that can easily get damaged by the stutter. To prevent that, either frequency must be restored rapidly, or the errant part of the system must be isolated and perhaps also shut down if the frequency excursion is too great and can’t be rectified.

  20. Scottish Scientist 3 years ago

    I don’t buy all the hype about battery storage or claims that it can be competitive with pumped-storage for large capacity energy storage applications.

    Musk’s battery is not a real stand alone or a renewable energy option.
    It’s a very expensive gimmicky add on to a fossil fuel option.

    Now natural gas works to supply power, but you don’t need to buy your gas with a bundled Tesla battery. However natural gas is a fossil fuel. It doesn’t work to lower carbon dioxide pollution and renewable energy, not the way solar and wind works.

    A fossil fuel natural gas power station – is not a good renewable energy solution.
    A gas-fired power station might be part of the solution if it was powered by hydrogen gas produced using surplus solar / wind power via electrolysis of water, but that’s not the plan Musk is selling SA.

    But if South Australia is being powered by gas-fired power stations, fossil or hydrogen renewable then you don’t need batteries, at all.

    Musk’s electrical batteries are an expensive gimmick for show, for spin that are actually doing nothing much for South Australia’s energy supply.

    Musk’s battery would be as useful as building a very large statue of Elon Musk in the city centre of Adelaide. That’s what Jay Weatherill is investing SA’s money in –
    buying an ego boost for Musk of no use to the people whatsoever.

    There are renewable solutions which use energy storage to store useful amounts of solar and wind energy but you need much capacity then that silly little battery Musk is selling you.

    The energy capacity required of the order of a day’s peak demand, which for South Australia is 24 hours x 3,000 MW or 72,000 MWh – if you have plenty of renewable energy back-up power, say from biomass-burning power stations you could manage with less energy storage capacity, maybe half that – only 36,000 MWh.

    Choose only from the real, renewable energy options not the false, fraudulent option Musk is conning South Australia with an irrelevant useless 129MWh which at least 200 times less energy storage capacity that SA needs for a renewable energy solution.

    Musk is throwing straws for drowning men to cling on to, and charging them a pretty penny for each straw. This is rapacious capitalism at its most odious. Musk’s only “strategic plan” is to get richer at SA’s expense.

    Pumped-storage hydro solutions are likely to be the cost effective and quickest solutions for large capacity energy storage problems.

    Beware the snake oil salesman who promises to save you time and money.

    I recommend for Australia instead the approach advocated by Professor Andrew Blakers of ANU – Hydro storage can secure 100% renewable electricity


    Roger Dargaville, the Deputy Director of the Melbourne Energy Institute, University of Melbourne – Snowy Hydro gets a boost, but seawater hydro could help South Australia

    With my best wishes to the people of Australia,
    Scottish Scientist
    Independent Scientific Adviser for Scotland
    * Double Tidal Lagoon Baseload Scheme
    * Off-Shore Electricity from Wind, Solar and Hydrogen Power
    * World’s biggest-ever pumped-storage hydro-scheme, for Scotland?
    * Modelling of wind and pumped-storage power
    * Scotland Electricity Generation – my plan for 2020
    * South America – GREAT for Renewable Energy

    • itdoesntaddup 3 years ago

      Go on, tell them they just need a grid link to your Strathdearn project!

    • Ren Stimpy 3 years ago

      Can pumped hydro pull these kinds of Gs on the cost curve?


      (thanks juxx0r)

      • Scottish Scientist 3 years ago

        No, can Lithium ion batteries? Or will their costs level out, as per those of other batteries?


        • Ren Stimpy 3 years ago

          Yes they obviously can, you battered dolt.

          • Ren Stimpy 3 years ago

            Do I have to apologise for that?

        • neroden 3 years ago

          Lithium ion batteries certainly can. The fully installed price is under $400/kwh *already*; the pack level price is down to $250/kwh; the cell level price is believed to be about half that. There is room for further cost reductions in the pack and installation, and probably even in the cells.

          Where did you get the unsourced graph you’re using?

          Now, I’m not going to say anything against pumped storage: it’s useful for a totally different application. Pump the water up, leave it for SIX MONTHS, and release it at the dead of winter when there’s a week of blizzard.

          Batteries are cost-effective for frequent cycling — they’re obviously superior for millisecond-scale and minute-scale stuff right now, and will probably win out for hour-scale stuff.

          But batteries are not nearly as cost-effective if they cycle extremely infrequently, so something else is desirable for those rare multiday shortages of wind and solar.

        • Ren Stimpy 3 years ago

          Putting it politely (this time) – yes.

          Why? Economies of scale. Production of li-on batteries is being ramped to meet booming demand in the electric car market as well as the residential, commercial, industrial and grid energy storage markets. There’s no end in sight, at least within the next decade, of this scaling up of li-on production, and the cost reductions that come with it.

          • itdoesntaddup 3 years ago

            What cost reductions would those be? Most of the cost reductions seem to be from improved electrode technology, not economies of scale. The assumption that these will continue ad infinitum at 16% p.a. is just that – an assumption.

          • Ren Stimpy 3 years ago

            Tesla’s gigafactory alone will reduce the cost of their batteries by 35% when it’s complete, due to its immensely higher volume of battery production – i.e. economies of scale. There are several more gigafactories both planned and proposed (by Tesla and others).

            These are the main types of questions that policy makers need to ask
            1. How much cheaper will batteries be by 2020/2030/2040?
            2. How much more expensive will gas be by 2020/2030/2040?

            It’s fairly easy to answer question 1, and impossible to answer question 2.

          • itdoesntaddup 3 years ago

            Given the massive global reserves of gas (that is, gas that is economic to produce at current prices), which have a R/P ratio of 38 for Australia and 52 for the world (almost the highest it has been at any time in the past 40 years, and probably a good deal longer), there is little prospect of a gas shortage by 2040. It is now an internationally traded commodity, which means that prices will be arbitraged wherever supply is linked in to that global market. South Australia has chosen to cut itself off from those links.

            Batteries of course do not produce energy – they merely store it, and they are not going to be economic at scale for anything other than very short duration, high frequency of use storage as in assisting with grid stabilisation in grids lacking inertia. Even with the kind of storage turnover in a regularly used EV, they will be vanity purchases dependent on subsidy for some years yet. They are certainly not going to provide storage to cover for weather deficiencies in renewables production. There remains considerable uncertainty over the price trends for battery raw materials as demand ramps up. Nickel, lithium and cobalt are particular risks.

          • Ren Stimpy 3 years ago

            Yet they have chosen to trade ‘where da money is’ as anyone would expect, in the LNG export market. Great for them, but Australia’s energy market connected to Australian consumers needs to fuck these opportunists off and create some real stability in the market.

          • Ren Stimpy 3 years ago

            Export your gas (without royalties), you fucking dipship dumb fucking mongoloid cunts.You anti-Aussies, you fucks.

          • itdoesntaddup 3 years ago

            Yes, South Australia is impoverishing itself so there’s no money there. It certainly needs to create some stability in the market, instead of hare-brained choices that lead to teetering on the brink of blackout and sky high prices.

          • Ren Stimpy 3 years ago

            The hare-brained choice is to rely on gas fired electricity from the private sector. South Australia is starting to do something about that, and the other states would be wise to start investing in dispatchable alternatives to private sector gas fired electricity too.

          • itdoesntaddup 3 years ago

            South Australia’s choices are pea-brained. I think the hare would win.

          • Ren Stimpy 3 years ago

            cost will win

          • itdoesntaddup 3 years ago

            Yes, it will all be horrendously expensive.

          • Ren Stimpy 3 years ago

            South Australia really hasn’t chosen to cut itself off from that market given they mainly use gas when cheaper forms of energy are not available.

          • itdoesntaddup 3 years ago

            We did the sums: export gas is at 3$/MMBtu at the flange of the LNG plant. That’s a little over 1 cent/kWh. What is cheaper than that?

          • Ren Stimpy 3 years ago

            “We did the sums”

            Who’s “we”?

            The LNG is for export to meet large overseas contracts, leaving shortages for electricity generation within Australia, therefore higher electricity prices because we rely on gas (as it stands) for peaking/dispatchable electricity generation.

          • Ren Stimpy 3 years ago

            Btw there’s no shortage of lithium, nickel and cobalt. This electric car and battery revolution which is happening could even give Australia another mining boom of sorts, if we play our cards right.

  21. Scottish Scientist 3 years ago

    His 129 MWh battery cannot even stabilize the output of the nearby 315MW wind farm it is paired with.

    To guarantee supply of a peak demand of 1/7 x 315 = 45 MW, from the wind farm / battery system, the battery would need 1.5 days x 45MW = 1620 MWh of energy storage capacity.

    The battery’s actual “129 MWh” is a mere 8% of the energy storage capacity needed to stabiize the wind farm’s output at 45MW on demand and his battery’s full power of “100MW” is an empty boast that cannot be supplied reliably by this wind farm / battery combination.

    Modelling of wind and pumped-storage power

    • Scottish Scientist 3 years ago

      Graph 5. September 2014. Demand 52.5GW, Wind 370GW, Pumped-storage 1,900GWh. No back-up.
      store energy capacity = 1.5 days x peak demand power
      annual maximum wind power = 7 x peak demand power


    • Tyger Tyger 3 years ago

      “…his battery’s full power of “100MW” is an empty boast that cannot be supplied reliably by this wind farm / battery combination.”

      Serious question: why not?

      Also, I’m no scientist, but I am a qualified Linesman with 20 years experience in the industry, so I’m not utterly clueless, and it’s apparent from my research that battery storage is becoming something of a go-to technology for frequency response and grid regulation. It’s already widely used in the U.S. for that purpose and, after a recent UK auction, 200MW worth of battery projects won contracts as part of an Enhanced Frequency Response program. You seem unconvinced, but surely the people awarding these contracts have some idea what they’re doing?

      I agree with you that batteries are a long way from providing medium-term backup for intermittent sources of supply and that pumped hydro is one of several options much better suited to that purpose, but then I’m not sure anyone in the know is making such claims for batteries in any case. Rather they’re seen as a grid-stabilising technology thanks to their rapid response time.

      • Scottish Scientist 3 years ago

        “…his battery’s full power of “100MW” is an empty boast that cannot be supplied reliably by this wind farm / battery combination.”

        Serious question: why not?

        Because the battery will run flat following a period of low wind for several hours.

        Suppose for simplicity that the wind power from the wind farm drops to 50MW for a number of hours but demand from the grid is 100MW then the battery has to supply 50MW, which it can do (if it is fully charged at 129MWh) for only 129/50 = 2.58 hours (2 hours, 36 minutes) after which the battery is flat and only 50MW directly from the wind turbine is available for the grid. The demand of 100MW cannot be met and only 50MW can be supplied. Customers for the other 50MW have to get their power from somewhere else. 100MW could not be reliably supplied by the wind farm / turbine combination.

        When the battery is flat then no matter how low the wind goes, that’s all there is from the wind farm/ battery combination. If the wind drops to 10MW then that’s all there is available, just 10MW.

        • Giles 3 years ago

          Scott. Your comments are so breathtakingly ignorant about the role of batteries – generally and in this instance – that it is difficult to know where to start. we are publishing an explainer on Monday, so i suggest you read that.

          • Ren Stimpy 3 years ago

            I was going to say WhereTF is my previously established comment, but (unlike conservatives) I’m happy to wait until Monday.

        • Tyger Tyger 3 years ago

          As Giles points out, you’ve misunderstood the role the battery is intended to play. As I said in my original post, it’s not to provide medium-term backup for when the wind isn’t blowing, rather to provide grid stabilisation through helping to manage frequency response, regulation and the damping of wind and p.v. generation sources (the third of which reasons, no doubt, explaining why it’s being sited adjacent a wind farm). Its backup function is secondary and would only be required in the rare circumstances when demand spikes beyond what other generation sources online can provide and only for as long as it takes to switch in or ramp up extra generation. As such it will never be allowed to run flat.

          • Scottish Scientist 3 years ago

            Well let’s consider operating an energy store, recharged from this wind farm, as a peaker power plant.

            A 315MW wind power plant, if it had an appropriate 1,620MWh energy store could supply peak power of 45MW …..

            I’m applying my own recommendation for a wind power and energy store (but no back-up) system, a pair of formula

            * store energy capacity = 1.5 days x peak demand power
            * annual maximum wind power = 7 x peak demand power

            See –
            “Modelling of wind and pumped-storage power”

            …. average power of 45/1.6MW = 28MW or if operated as a peaker, every day fill energy peaks of at least 45/1.6 x 24 = 675MWh, whether as 675MW for one hour, 225MW for three hours or equivalent – performance which would be impossible for a 129MWh battery.

            So the selection of a 129MWh battery is inappropriately small for the peaker operation too.

            The reason they chose a 129MWh battery and not a bigger battery is that batteries are expensive and a 129MWh battery was all they could afford.

            My point is that pumped-storage hydro schemes are cheaper for the same energy storage – they needed a bigger energy storage capacity – so they should have considered building a pumped-storage hydro scheme as big as they need and then they wouldn’t have had to settle for such a small energy store of only 129MWh but could have got a bigger energy store, of the right size to match the wind power plant – I suggest about 1,620MWh would have been more like the size that would have got the best performance.

          • neroden 3 years ago

            You don’t understand how this works. You really don’t have a clue.

            This battery is NOT for hours-long or days-long power shortages. It is for minutes-long issues.

            — A gas power plant takes 10 minutes to ramp up. (Even hydro can be slow.) The battery can cover those ten minutes, easily.
            — The battery can respond in milliseconds and can stabilize the grid frequency.
            — As a final aspect, it can store curtailed wind (on days with really really high wind) and release the excess on low days, but this is a purely secondary function.

      • Scottish Scientist 3 years ago

        Also, I’m no scientist, but I am a qualified Linesman with 20 years experience in the industry, so I’m not utterly clueless, and it’s apparent from my research that battery storage is becoming something of a go-to technology for frequency response and grid regulation. It’s already widely used in the U.S. for that purpose and, after a recent UK auction, 200MW worth of battery projects won contracts as part of an Enhanced Frequency Response program. You seem unconvinced, but surely the people awarding these contracts have some idea what they’re doing?

        I agree with you that batteries are a long way from providing medium-term backup for intermittent sources of supply and that pumped hydro is one of several options much better suited to that purpose, but then I’m not sure anyone in the know is making such claims for batteries in any case. Rather they’re seen as a grid-stabilising technology thanks to their rapid response time.

        I presume there that there are other on-demand generators – gas turbines for example – which can be powered up when the wind drops – and the battery serves to equalise supply and demand.

        If Musk adds a 100MW gas-turbine generator to the 315MW wind farm and 100MW / 129MWh battery – then he can supply 100MW no problem, but the gas turbine would be providing a significant proportion of the power and energy at times of low wind.

  22. delphi23 3 years ago

    Musk was involved with Tesla early on, but he was not one of the two founders.

  23. Scottish Scientist 3 years ago

    I note that Jamestown (the site of the wind farm to power this 100MW battery) is about 34 miles to Port Pirie on the Spencer Gulf and 41 miles to Mount Remarkable National Park, again close to the coast but which does offers suitable geography where it would be possible to dam a reservoir, which could be paired with the sea as the lower reservoir, for pumped-storage operation, NIMBY’s allowing of course.

    It would be technically permissive if the wind farm was separated by 40 odd miles from the pumped-storage scheme because the two Jamestown – Mount Remarkable National Park – could be easily connected via improved power transmission line.

    Well there’s no reason that the state of South Australia would accept my suggestion after my initial survey.

    Still it would give opportunities for inland lake recreation, wind surfing, in between lake emptyings …


    • Alastair Leith 3 years ago

      Please don’t suggest PHES in National Parks in Australia, Scottish Scientist. We don’t need to use National Parks and doing so just gives PHES a bad name. Blakers et al have surveyed the topology around ground dividing range and elsewhere around Australia and there are is an oversupply of suitable locations using already cleared land.

      Also If you are suggesting 66 km of horizontal run for a few hundred meters head then you’re making a false assumption about the viability of PHES. You want as close to vertical fall as possible or the system begins to bleed energy, anything beyond 45º to the vertical really is sub-optimal.

      • Scottish Scientist 3 years ago

        Please don’t suggest PHES in National Parks in Australia, Scottish Scientist. We don’t need to use National Parks and doing so just gives PHES a bad name.

        I didn’t mean to suggest that there was any “need to use National Parks”.
        What’s useful is if you can find a natural topology which minimises the amount of work to be constructing dam walls to enclose a reservoir.

        Blakers et al have surveyed the topology around ground dividing range and elsewhere around Australia and there are is an oversupply of suitable locations using already cleared land.

        Yes, here’s the link.
        Pumped hydro power storage: 185 possible sites in SA, which could secure electricity supply

        Also If you are suggesting 66 km of horizontal run for a few hundred meters head then you’re making a false assumption about the viability of PHES. You want as close to vertical fall as possible or the system begins to bleed energy, anything beyond 45º to the vertical really is sub-optimal.

        What “66 km of horizontal run”?
        The sea looks to be no more than 10km from the basin I had identified.
        The only “66 km” I mentioned was the 41 miles between the basin and Jamestown, where the wind farm is and the only “run” between those two locations is an electrical power transmission “run”.

        • Alastair Leith 3 years ago

          Yeah, sorry about the 66km, i checked but forgot to update that. It’s10 km from the coast for ~600m head (1 in 17 grade or 3.4º flow angle if it ran all the way to the Gulf).

          A lower pond much closer to a mountain range could be filled from the ocean with sea water by a canal or pipe I suppose. Would much improve performance.

          There’s a closer hill with only ~200m head about 4.6km from the gulf outside the NP. Only 1 in 23 grade or 2.5º angle.

          >Yes, here’s the link.
          >”SA power: 185 pumped hydro sites identified across South Australia by ANU research”

          Same link I had 🙂 The papers themselves are available if you search, I’ve found before.

        • Alastair Leith 3 years ago

          I didn’t mean to suggest that there was any “need to use National Parks”.

          Well you did say ” NIMBY’s allowing of course.” which was kinda provocative and suggested you knew exactly what you were saying about a National Park. You may not realise but in Australia (unlike UK where there are farms inside some ‘cultural significance’ NPs I hear) NPs are free of commercial activities except for maybe the odd shop or something for campers. Of course every species in the UK was brought over from some place else so it’s a different situation in many ways.

          • Scottish Scientist 3 years ago

            I didn’t mean to suggest that there was any “need to use National Parks”.

            Well you did say ” NIMBY’s allowing of course.” which was kinda provocative and suggested you knew exactly what you were saying about a National Park.

            Well perhaps you will indulge me my playfulness a little further because I’ve noticed another “prime site” for pumped-storage hydro development. 😉
            Wilpena Pound
            is a practically ready-made reservoir basin, very little to do to dam it off. A basin floor at almost 600 metres, must be 50 square kilometers in area, walls rising to 700+ metres.

            One could dig a lower reservoir to the north-west and top it up every “wet season” from Lake Torrens.

            You may not realise but in Australia (unlike UK where there are farms inside some ‘cultural significance’ NPs I hear) NPs are free of commercial activities except for maybe the odd shop or something for campers.

            Well we are short of space here. We need to cram everything in somewhere.

            I assumed it would be a dawdle to find sites for pumped-storage in the vast spaces of Australia, but actually you need a computer to find the sites that are free, because all the dead obvious sites have been snapped up as “National Parks” already.

  24. Marg1 3 years ago

    Great news, well done Jay Weatherill

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