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Tesla to deliver 100MW battery to SA government

Delivery man: Tesla founder Elon Musk took to Twitter in March with an offer to resolve South Australia’s energy issues, and now a plan is in place to make this a reality.

Agreement between Tesla, SA government, Neoen reached for world’s largest battery

7 Jul 2017

ENTREPRENEUR Elon Musk has followed through with his promise to help address South Australia’s energy woes, announcing that Tesla has reached an agreement with the state to install the world’s largest lithium-ion battery.

Holding a press conference at Adelaide Oval, Mr Musk was joined by SA premier Jay Weatherill to reveal the official plan, which will see the two parties work alongside French renewable company Neoen.

The battery will store energy produced by Neoen’s Hornsdale Wind Farm near Jamestown, which remains under construction.

Once the grid interconnection agreement has been signed, Mr Musk will have 100 days to deliver the battery or it is free to taxpayers, as per his original tweet to fellow billionaire Mike Cannon-Brookes – an Australian citizen – in March.

“If South Australia is willing to take a big risk, then so are we,” Mr Musk said.

Scheduled to be installed by December, the 100-megaWatt Powerpack system is estimated to cost $33 million, assuming Mr Musk meets his proposed target and the SA government is charged.

Upon its installation, the battery will place the state at the forefront of global energy storage technology, according to Mr Weatherill.

“It will completely transform the way in which renewable energy is stored, and also stabilise the South Australian network, as well as putting downward pressure on prices,” he said.

“It opens up new opportunities for renewable energy in this state, in this nation, and around the world.’’Specifically, it will be operational at all times to provide stability services for renewable energy, as well as an emergency back-up power source if an issue is imminent.

Mr Musk described the project as “not a minor foray into the frontier,” claiming that it is “three times further than anyone has gone before” and that it would “stabilise the grid and buffer power”.

“You can essentially charge up the battery packs when you have excess power when the cost of production is very low ... and then discharge it when the cost of power production is high, and this effectively lowers the average cost to the end customer,” he said.

Following SA’s widespread blackout in February, its state government revealed a $500m power plan that included owning and operating a $350m gas-fired plant, as well as the 100MW battery.

There were 91 international bidders for the battery project, with Tesla eventually winning the contract thanks to Mr Musk’s back-and-forth Twitter exchange.

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