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Tesla big battery goes the full discharge – 100MW – for first time

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The Tesla big battery remains the most watched aspect of Australia’s National Electricity Market – apart from the spate of Lack of Reserve notices in the current heatwave – and on Wednesday for the first time it discharged at its maximum capacity.

The injection of 100MW into the grid from what is known to the market as the Hornsdale Power Reserve,  occurred just before midday (NEM-time). It followed some charging overnight and a brief spurt of discharging and charging earlier in the morning.

hornsdale power reserve copy

For those looking for evidence of rhyme and reason in the various bursts of activity (i.e. taking advantage of price arbitrage), then it should be noted that this is still part of the shake-down for the new lithium-ion battery – the largest in the world at 100MW/129MWh.

Tesla and the plant owners and operators, French renewable energy developer Neoen, are still testing its range and potential, and seeing how it responds to real-world environment. The battery is located near Neoen’s Hornsdale wind farm, near Jamestown in South Australia.

The battery has already been called into active service on one occasion, a day before its official opening when it helped the grid ride through a big afternoon peak.

And, as we reported on Wednesday, it has also been providing network services through the multi-faceted FCAS (frequency control and ancillary services) market. See our story: What is the Tesla big battery selling: it is not just energy.

(Today’s graph courtesy of Dylan McConnell from the Melbourne Climate and Energy College).

P.S. The Australian Energy Market Operator has issued a spate of Lack of Reserve (LOR) notices in South Australia, Victoria and NSW in the past week, but all have been cancelled as the market responded by offering previously idle generation.

At the time of publication, one LOR notice remained open, in NSW, for Thursday afternoon as 40°C temperatures hit western Sydney and other parts of the state.  

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  • Rod

    Thanks for explaining the strange goings on are due to the “shake down”. Hopefully it will settle down soon and it will all become clear(er).

  • john

    What this points out is there is a need for heaps the similar types of storage batteries to augment the system plus PHES to further smooth power shortfalls.
    The sooner this is done and the sooner we move to a 5 minute bid system the better for all.
    Frankly build as much RE producers all over the Grid put in Battery or PHES in as many places as possible then you will see the wholesale price plummet to lowest price which will be I do not know; $30 to $70 MwH; after which the transmission costs come in.
    With distributed storage there is no reason for high transmission costs because it is near the end user.
    This is akin to you the consumer buying a 10 KwH storage battery, which may meet half or more of your usage over night, which you filled up during the day with RE from your PV.

    • solarguy

      Yeah, pretty well right. The next 5-6yrs are going to be very enjoyable for RE & storage. I can’t, can you!

  • DoRightThing

    “Full discharge” means 0% available energy left, (even if there may be a hidden 20% reserve to protect the lifespan of the cells).

    I glean from the graph that they didn’t run it flat, but instead discharged at maximum *power* capacity (100 MW) for about half an hour, this is not the same thing as a “full discharge” of maximum energy capacity (129 MWh).

    This needs some clarification.

    • Brunel

      Yep. MW is not capacity, MJ or MWh is capacity. 100 MW is full speed or full power.

    • John Norris

      Yes, 100 MW for 0.5 hours is 50 MWh or about 40% of capacity. Nowhere near full discharge.

    • Alastair Leith

      From Dylan McConnell’s article on the conversation earlier this month “Yes, SA’s battery is a massive battery, but it can do much more besides”

      The battery complex can be thought of as two systems. First there is a component with 70MW of output capacity that has been contracted to the SA government. This is reported to provide grid stability and system security, and designed only to have about 10 minutes of storage.

      The second part could be thought of as having 30MW of output capacity, but 3-4 hours of storage. Even though this component has a smaller capacity (MW), it has much more storage (MWh) and can provide energy for much longer. This component will participate in the competitive part of the market, and should firm up the wind power produced by the wind farm.

  • Brunel

    Given that the battery is taxpayer-funded, a graph should be provided daily by the operator.

    • Tamara Hazel

      That’s like asking for daily updates on tax-paid prisoners. What did they eat today? Did they stab anyone today?

      • Brunel

        So a battery is a person.

    • jeffhre

      Pretty sure I saw a 2 hour graph somewhere in the article?

  • remoteone

    So the statement ” but all have been cancelled as the market responded by offering previously idle generation” in regard to the LOR notices is an interesting one. Does this imply that because the battery is able to fill gaps and take profit, it is forcing competition in the market?

    • neroden

      Yep. The battery is forcing competition into the market — doing its job.

  • Alastair Leith

    I wonder if they are needing to run the cells in? Lithium Ion benefits from that, might have already been done prior to shipping, or prior to grid connection I guess.

  • Sir John Maga

    Can someone explain to me what effect a 100 MW battery has on a 560 MW coal
    plant outage?