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Tesla 100MW battery flexes muscles early this morning – delivers 70MWh of ‘stored wind power’, shows off fast switching

The 100MW/129MWh Tesla battery delivered in 100 days has begun testing. And – for the first time – on Thursday at 4:30 PM in Australia, early this morning in the US, the power plant delivered 70MW of ‘stored wind power’ during the peak electricity demand period.

Elon Musk, on March 9th of this year, promised via a tweet that he could deliver this battery within 100 days – or it’d be free.

The facility, which is called the Hornsdale Power Reserve, will be the largest li-ion battery ever deployed at 100MW/129MWh. The plant is located next to Neoen’s ‘Hornsdale Windfarm.’ It was commissioned by the South Australian government, though the total price of it has not been revealed. It was part of a $390 million energy project. Tesla beat 90 other competitive bids for this process.

The 70MW of electricity was delivered for one hour from 4:30 PM until 5:30 PM on Thursday. The Australian Energy Market Operator, noted via a tweet, that it was delivered ahead of schedule and during the peak demand period of the day. The battery was due to turn on December 1st.

The below Twitter account showed off the actual charging/discharging of the battery:

The unit also got to show off its ability to switch quickly from charging to pushing electrons onto the power grid. According to the below image from RenewEconomy, it looks like during a 4 hour period the battery was able to switch state at least 14 times.

Bloomberg suggested that South Australia would need more than 600MW of batteries to fix its grid woes. Australia has been closing coal power plants and expects power shortages through this summer. This project’s completion is good timing since it will allow power to be stored when it’s cheap and expended when it’s not. In Musk’s own words the benefits will:

Help solve power outages, reduce intermittencies and manage summertime peak load to support the reliability of South Australia’s electrical infrastructure, providing enough power for more than 30,000 homes.

Australia looking to Tesla to solve their woes is nothing new, in the past Electrek has reported on – a single Tesla Powerpack that saved an Australian town over $1.5 million in grid connection costs, PowerPacks used as demand response grid stabilization tools and a 73-year-old Tesla Powerwall owner getting through a South Australia’s state-wide blackout without even knowing.

Electrek’s Take

Australia has some of the most expensive electricity – for a decently sized country – in the world. Last year they had serious blackouts that increased demand in Tesla products by ‘30 times.’ They’re going through some serious energy challenges – and some of these are politically created.

Whether and when battery storage can be profitable is going to be a challenge – not because of technology – but because of the historical structuring of the power grid. Already, the power grid commission has recommended a change in what’s called ‘settlement periods’ – but this change won’t occur until, at the earliest, the middle of 2021. In the old world, responsibility to deliver electricity in 30 minute settlement periods was acceptable because old technology – gas/coal – needed that long to react.

Tesla’s battery can react nearly instantly. The coal and gas people know they’ll lose out to batteries in the most expensive, most profitable settlement periods because they’re slow. This will become more obvious every single day now that the data will be so clear to see.

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