SYDNEY - The world's largest lithium ion battery will be installed in South Australia under an agreement between the American firm Tesla, the French company Neoen, and the state government. Officials have said Tesla boss Elon Musk has confirmed his promise to build the battery within 100 days or it would be delivered free.
The 100-megawatt battery will put South Australia at the forefront of global energy storage technology, according to the authorities. They hope hope the project will stabilize a shaky electricity network, which suffered a state-wide black-out last September. The system also couldn't cope with huge demand during a summer heatwave, and there were more power cuts.
“South Australia is already leading the nation," said Jay Weatherill, the South Australian state Premier. "Today we lead the world. We are announcing the world’s largest lithium ion battery. What it will do is completely transform the way in which renewable energy is stored, and also stabilize the South Australian network as well as putting downward pressure on prices,” said Weatherrill.
Tesla’s billionaire boss Elon Musk said that given its size the project in South Australia does come with risk, but he believes the effort will be ground-breaking.
“I am pretty darn impressed with South Australia willing to do a project of this magnitude. That takes a lot of gumption. I do see this as something that the world will look at as an example of being able to do large-scale battery applications that really take a large amount of load,” said Musk.
The huge lithium battery is expected to be built by the end of the year. Musk has said he would complete the project for free if it is not completed within 100 days from the start of construction. It will be connected to a large wind farm in South Australia, which will charge the battery units. Energy will then be discharged when customers need it the most.
Tesla says the project will produce enough electricity for 30,000 homes.