Tesla’s South Australian battery solution goes above (or rather, down under) and beyond
Last summer, Tesla CEO Elon Musk made yet another bold claim. Following energy shortages in South Australia, Musk resolved to fix the region’s problems using a scalable Tesla Powerpack. It would be installed at the Hornsdale Power Reserve, and become the biggest battery in the world. He also stated that if the battery was not built within 100 days, it would be installed for free. Not only was the battery built ahead of schedule, but has already surpassed expectations. Figures presented at the Australian Energy Week conference suggested that, after just four months, it had reduced costs by 90 per cent.
Prior to Tesla’s lithium ion venture, faults in the South Australian power grid were handled by costly, fossil fuel based Frequency Control and Ancillary Services (FCAS). Now, 55 per cent of the work previously carried out by FCAS is reportedly undertaken by Tesla’s battery. In other words, renewable solutions are quickly replacing non renewable options, and at a much lower financial and environmental cost.
The success of the Hornsdale Power Reserve battery, which is connected to a wind farm, stands as testament to the capabilities of renewable power. Governments are finally appearing to give disruptive energy companies a chance to prove that innovative concepts can deliver in the real world. It also suggests that the reign of lithium ion is far from over, which is just as well given the ongoing search for a feasible alternative. Musk has since hinted that another, even larger project could be underway. Which country will be next to benefit from the behemoth batteries?
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