Tesla to build ‘world’s biggest battery’ in South Australia

By Andrew Spence 

Tesla will build the world’s biggest lithium ion battery to be installed at a wind farm in South Australia before the end of the year.

Elon Musk announces the Tesla battery alongside South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill. Picture: Andre Castellucci/InDaily

Elon Musk announces the Tesla battery alongside South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill. Picture: Andre Castellucci/InDaily

The successful tender was announced as a partnership between Tesla and French renewable energy company Neoen for the 100MW/129MWh battery at Neoen’s Hornsdale Wind Farm in the state’s Mid North.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk was in Adelaide for the announcement following his claim in March that he could stabilise South Australia’s energy supply in 100 days.

The tech billionaire told reporters the Tesla Powerpack would be three times as powerful as the next largest lithium ion battery.

“I was made aware there was this opportunity to make this significant statement about renewable energy to the world,” Musk said.

“Coal does not have a long-term future.”

South Australia leads the nation in the uptake of wind energy and roof-top solar with renewable sources accounting for more than 40 per cent of the electricity generated in the state. However, the closure of two coal-fired power stations in recent years has increased South Australia’s reliance on energy supplies from the eastern Australian states, particularly in times of peak demand.

As part of the agreement, Tesla and the South Australian Government have set the starting date for the 100 days from when the grid interconnection agreement has been signed.

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. It is expected to be installed by the end of the year – in time for the next Australian summer.

Tesla beat 91 bidders for the battery, which South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill said would put downward pressure on electricity prices.

He said the experience and leadership of Tesla and Neoen would help the state take charge of its energy future.

“Battery storage is the future of our national energy market, and the eyes of the world will be following our leadership in this space,” he said.

“This historic agreement does more than bring a sustainable energy giant in Tesla to South Australia, it will also have some significant economic spin-offs.”

Neoen Deputy CEO, Romain Desrousseaux said the Hornsdale Power Reserve 200km north of Adelaide would not only be the largest renewable generator in the state but also home to the largest lithium ion battery 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,” he said.

“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.”