This week, Tesla won the competitive bid to manage South Australia’s entire energy storage system. Sustainable energy has become a bigger deal than ever before for the Land Down Under. Just last year, disaster struck and left thousands in the country without power. Earlier this year, Tesla CEO Elon Musk made a public company bid and promised that the Tesla energy storage system could deliver over 100 MWh in 100 days, or it would be free.
It looks like Australia will take up Musk on his promise – Tesla was selected to provide their advertised 100 MW/129 MWh Powerpack system to store energy. The energy will be produced by renewable energy provider Neoen’s Hornsdale Wind Farm near Jamestown, South Australia. This will afford South Australia a significant advancement in the direction of a stable, modern power grid.
This will be the highest power battery system in the world by a factor of 3. Australia rocks!!
– Elon Musk, Tesla CEO
State of Energy Emergency
Last October, inclement weather hit South Australia, destroying power lines and energy structures and leaving almost 30,000 homes powerless.
Earlier this year, Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull declared a state of energy emergency. He pleaded with gas chiefs to add more energy to the domestic market, as predictions state a gas shortage will occur by 2018 or 2019. Political tensions surrounding Australia’s energy market are rising. Turnbull is under pressure to commit to a new coal-fired power station in Queensland to provide secure and cheap power. On the other hand, Labor, the main opposition party, has already committed to a 50% renewable and sustainable energy target by 2030.
The new system won’t solve all of Australia’s energy problems. However, it will start with South Australia and look to model the deployment of sustainable energy across the rest of Australia and the world.
Tired of the frequent blackouts, many homes in South Australia are now using residential Tesla Powerwalls. With the new battery system, South Australia may not need any more energy allocated to their residents. Homeowners are already collecting and storing their own energy during the day so it is available 24/7, even if the grid goes down.
Tesla’s Expanding Rapidly, But Can It Sustain The Momentum?
Musk quoted the Powerpack price of $250 per kWh for 100+ MWh projects, but that’s just for the batteries. Adding inverters, transport, installation, and all other expenses would quickly increase the system’s total cost.
A large majority of the energy storage project’s 100 days will be for shipping the Powerpacks and other equipment from the $5 billion Tesla Gigafactory in Nevada to Australia. Installing the new Powerpacks will take up some more of that time. This could imply that Tesla and Panasonic already have a capacity of over 100 MWh per month at the Gigafactory. That’s an impressive 1.2 GWh annualized rate.
That’s a significant achievement. However, compared to the capacity Tesla plans to have during the second half of the year in order to support Model 3 production, it’s minuscule.
Tesla plans to produce 80,000 vehicles during the second half of 2017 under a perfect execution. However, Musk himself has said that, “if only 1% of parts are not available in time, it could significantly slow down the [production]”. Tesla’s early production is expected to be focused on the higher capacity version of the Model 3, which adds up to close to 6 GWh of battery capacity at an average of 70 kWh per car.
In addition to all-electric cars, Tesla recently released their solar roof, which works in conjunction with the homeowner’s Powerwall. Tesla is an unstoppable force in energy, from their innovations in the automotive and battery industries, to their hand in transforming roofs and regional power grids, like their upcoming project in South Australia.
Tesla Energy Storage Breaking Records
Expected to launch December 2017, the Tesla storage system will be the world’s largest lithium-ion battery. It will store enough energy to power all of South Australia’s energy needs. The battery system will charge using electricity generated by wind power and deliver it to the grid during peak hours.
This is Tesla’s largest contract to date. It exceeds their solar and Powerpacks project powering Kauai and the 80 MWh Powerpack station with Southern California Edison. If Elon Musk can make good on his word, he will make sustainable energy history yet again.