WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF
The world’s thirst for renewable energy is increasing, almost exponentially, and dips in supply have to be met from battery storage systems like these.
Elon Musk started building a giant mega battery for the South Australian outback earlier this year with the aim of preventing the blackouts that have plagued the region throughout the years, and he bet that he could complete the project within 100 days or it would be free, an estimated $50 million.
Now though the good folks of South Australia have cause to both celebrate and sulk, because on the one hand they’ve got the new reliable, renewable power grid they craved, but because Musk completed in not just on time but ahead of time, they are the ones having to cough up $50 million. Still, at least they can sulk while watching the telly with the lights on… and the fact that Musk managed not only to deliver what he promised on time but ahead of time is an astonishing feat, and one that has to have traditional power companies quaking in their boots.
The massive lithium-ion Tesla battery, which is similar to the ones that Tesla deployed onto the island of Tau in the Pacific earlier this year, will even begin testing ahead of Musk’s December 1st deadline, which is good news for the region – just last year, the area was hit with major, state wide blackouts after storm winds literally ripped transmission towers out of the ground.
“South Australia is set to have backup power in place this summer through the world’s largest lithium-ion battery, which is set to be energized for the first time in the coming days as it enters a phase of regulatory testing,” said State Premier Jay Weatherill.
As renewable energy sources advance, battery capacity is becoming more and more important to ensuring energy availability, and in a place like the Southern Australian outback where blackouts are a relatively common, yet dangerous, occurrence, these sorts of batteries are increasingly essential.
The mega battery will be connected to a wind farm operated by French energy firm Neoen, and will be so large that it can hold enough energy to power thousands of homes in the event of a crisis. Not only will the battery allow the state to be prepared for emergencies, but it will also support Australia’s continued progress in switching from fossil fuels to renewable energy, and as the country takes steps towards this ultimate goal, efforts like the mega battery will let energy, like that created from the wind farm, to be stored efficiently. It’s a great day for Musk and Southern Australia.