TESLA FOUNDER Elon Musk has announced plans to build the world's largest lithium-ion battery to store renewable energy in South Australia.
Musk's Tesla, which focuses on electric cars, will work with French utility company Neoen to build the 129MWh battery. It will be paired with a wind farm and is designed to give South Australia better access to renewable energy supplies after repeated blackouts.
Back in March of this year, Musk exchanged tweets with Mike Cannon-Brookes, the Australian entrepreneur behind the American tech company Atlassian. In the tweets, Cannon-Brookes questioned how serious Musk was in regards to building a battery this size.
In response, Musk said Tesla would get the system installed and working 100 days from contract signature or it would come at no cost to the Australian government - he later revealed that if his team were to take longer than 100 days, it could the company about $50m.
That deal has now been signed as part of the Australian government's $550m energy plan.
The plan is for the battery to be built near Jamestown, and paired with Neoen's Hornsdale windfarm. Musk admitted to reporters in Australia that the project had its risks, as it was the largest battery installation in the world "by a significant margin".
He also suggested that the new battery would bring down prices for consumers, while also stabilising the grid.
"You can essentially charge up the battery packs when you have excess power when the cost of production is very low ... and then discharge it when the cost of power production is high, and this effectively lowers the average cost to the end customer," Musk said.
"It's a fundamental efficiency improvement for the grid," he added.
Tesla recently completed an installation of a battery farm in California which has a capacity of 20 megawatts and is designed to discharge 80-megawatt hours of electricity in four-hour periods. µ
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