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Tesla completes massive expansion of its ‘world’s biggest battery’

Tesla and Neoen, the owner of the Tesla Powerpack farm in Australia that has been described as the “world’s biggest battery”, have completed a massive expansion of the big battery system.

The 100 MW/129 MWh Tesla Powerpack project in South Australia provides the same grid services as peaker plants, but cheaper, quicker, and with zero emissions through its battery system.

It has proven so efficient that it reportedly should have made around $1 million in just a few days in January of 2019, but Tesla later complained that they are not being paid correctly because the system doesn’t account for how fast Tesla’s Powerpacks start discharging their power into the grid.

The system is basically a victim of its own efficiency, which the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) confirmed is much more rapid, accurate, and valuable than a conventional steam turbine in a report published in 2018.

The energy storage project called ‘Hornsdale Battery’ is owned and managed by Neoen, a French energy company that also operates the adjacent wind farm.

In November of last year, they announced that Tesla would deploy more energy storage capacity at the site – expanding it by about 50%.

Earlier this month, Neoen announced that the expansion of the Tesla battery farm has been completed:

“Hornsdale Battery Extension: network connection works completed! The world’s biggest battery to provide soon extra reliability to the grid in those extremely challenging times (very low demand, increased risks of outages, …). Congrats to the CPP, Tesla and Neoen teams.”

The expansion is adding 50 MW/64.5 MWh of capacity at the site – bringing the total to 150 MW/193.5 MWh.

Neoen previously disclosed that the massive Tesla Powerpack system cost them only $66 million, meaning that it is quickly on its way to pay for itself.

On top of the income it brings Neoen, it also results in benefits to consumers, which were valued at $116 million for last year alone.

Electrek’s Take

The Hornsdale Battery project has been great for Tesla and to prove the usefulness of Li-ion energy storage systems.

To be fair, those incredible numbers are due to the very particular circumstances of the energy industry in Australia, which suffers from some of the world’s highest electricity rates.

Nevertheless, energy storage with Li-ion batteries can be financially viable in many other markets and that’s likely even more true now that Tesla is also offering the Megapack.

We have recently learned of Tesla’s massive 1 GWh Megapack battery project with PG&E in California and the company is also bidding on a project that could become one of the biggest batteries in the world with 244 Megapacks in Hawaii.

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