In September last year, Australia was hit by an extreme storm, which managed to knock the power out for the entirety of South Australia. As an idea of how big South Australia is, it’s 40 percent larger than Texas and home to 1.7 million people.
The reason for the power outage was the storm’s mix of thunderstorm activity, heavy rain and twin tornadoes that saw wind speeds reach 120km/h. Since then, South Australia has experienced repeated blackouts, which grabbed Elon Musk’s attention followed by him offering to solve the state’s power problem.
The solution Musk proposed was of course a rechargeable battery. His offer also came with a guarantee: if it wasn’t up-and-running within 100 days of the contract being signed it would be free.
According to the BBC, Australia accepted Musk’s offer and now the world’s largest lithium-ion battery will be manufactured and installed in South Australia. And it’s the largest by some margin.
Currently the record holder is a 30 megawatts battery. Tesla is joining forces with energy company Neoen to install a 100 megawatts battery. The battery will be hooked up to a Neoen wind farm and be available 24/7 to kick in when there’s a power emergency.
According to Jay Weatherill, current Premier of South Australia, “It will completely transform the way in which renewable energy is stored, and also stabilise the South Australian network as well as putting downward pressure on prices.”
If he’s right, then this is great publicity for Tesla and could trigger other governments around the world to more quickly embrace huge batteries to support their power networks.