Tesla is partnering with French renewable energy company Neoen to build a lithium-ion battery in Australia, which is set to be one of the world’s largest. It will be a 300MW/450MWh Big Battery will now be double the size of the 150MW/194MWh Hornsdale Power Reserve, which was also built by Tesla and Neoen in 2017 and at the time, it was the world’s biggest battery. The new Victorian facility will have the new 3MWh Megapacks, which Tesla says can deliver a major peaking plant four times quicker than traditional fossil fuel projects.
Based in Geelong, situated south-west of Melbourne, the new Victorian Big Battery will be built and sited next to the Moorabool Terminal Station and has been designed to have a capacity of 450 megawatt-hours, which will play a key part in getting Australia to transition from its generated coal-fired electricity to renewable energy.
Australia’s energy system has been conventionally dominated by coal, and coal is the most polluting energy form. However, Australia is committed to changing this and over the last few years, numerous coal plants were closed down and coal consumption decreased considerably. The latest second Big Battery built Down Under will have enough energy to power up half a million homes for an hour. The facility will also help reform and stabilize the energy grid in Victoria, where the local government has set objectives to deliver at least half of the state’s energy requirements through renewable sources by 2030.
Victoria’s environment minister, Lily D’Ambrosio has said of the new venture:
“By securing one of the biggest batteries in the world, Victoria is taking a decisive step away from coal-fired power and embracing new technologies that will unlock more renewable energy than ever before.”
An independent analysis showed that for every dollar invested, the battery delivers more than $2 in benefits to households and businesses in the state. The new Big Battery will help surmount the sporadic nature of wind and solar power through providing reserve capacity to the grid whenever the sun or wind energy elements cannot be relied on. Neoen and Tesla were awarded the contract to provide system integrity services to the power grid using Tesla’s megapack technology by the end of next year.
When the dual energy first built the Hornsdale Power Reserve, it had an output of 100MW and in 2019, it was upgraded to produce an output of 150MW. Tesla boss, Elon Musk, managed to clinch the Hornsdale contract by offering to build enough battery technology in 100 days to resolve an energy crisis that was causing statewide blackouts.
Musk has delivered and the South Australian government was full of praise regarding the Hornsdale installation, and in its first year of operation, the energy production brought a saving to consumers of AUD 50 million, which equates to USD 35.7 million.
Hornsdale was Australia’s first large-scale battery to provide inertia and fast frequency services that are critical to maintain grid stability to a nationwide electricity network.
Tim Buckley who works for the Australian Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis, has said this is significant for Australia’s momentum to transition its energy sources. He added, “This is not a slow, orderly, incremental change under way. This is great to see. This technology driven energy transition is inevitable and accelerating.”
Neoen chairman, Xavier Barbaro is another delighted party in the mix, saying:
“We are fiercely proud to be at the forefront of this vital element of the energy transition. We will continue to build on this experience to deliver world-leading solutions that help to shape and transform the grid of the future for the benefit of industry and consumers across Australia and around the globe.”