World's biggest battery now ready, testing to begin in a few days

Andrew Cummings
November 23, 2017

When the grid connection deal was signed on 29 September, Tesla was already half way through installing the battery packs.The Tesla Powerpacks have now been fully installed at a wind farm in Hornsdale, 230km north of the capital, Adelaide.

It's a rare day when Tesla CEO Elon Musk actually finishes a job before the deadline, but that's what happened with the massive 100-megawatt battery bank that his company built in South Australia.

Lithium battery backup systems from companies like Tesla can charge up when such power plants are productive, however, and then provide backup energy when they're not.

The Hornsdale farm is now the largest battery backup installation in the world at 100 megawatts, but as solar and wind energy become increasingly popular, that record is likely to be shattered soon.

Musk had some wiggle room: By the time the agreement was actually signed on September 29, Tesla had already completed half the project.

For Musk, delivering the battery ahead of deadline would back up an earlier win where Tesla delivered a large battery project in Southern California in 90 days to alleviate the risk of winter blackouts. The South Australian government also reserves a right to pull power from the battery in dire circumstances.

"An enormous amount of work has gone in to delivering this project in such a short time", said South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill in a statement.

If successful, the Tesla-powered battery could bring much-needed security to the South Australian power grid.

South Australia started the project after a state-wide blackout during the Australian summer in 2016. Worldwide eyes will be watching the big battery goes live and as South Australia's grid comes under strain over the warmer months.

Despite Mr Morrison's concerns, the batteries are on track to be operational by December 1, according to Tom Koutsantonis, South Australia Energy Minister.

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