Tesla has revealed plans to build the largest lithium-ion battery storage system in the world. On Thursday, the company revealed it had been selected by the government of South Australia to build a system capable of storing and delivering renewable energy. The state is the largest user of renewable energy in Australia, but a storm last September left 1.7 million residents without power. Tesla’s solution will ensure the state is protected against future energy shortages by providing a dependable source of stored power.
The company will provide the state with a 100 megawatt (or 129 megawatt-hour) Powerpack system, which is enough to provide energy to 30,000 homes. That’s around the same number of homes that lost power after September’s storm, and Tesla will work closely with the South Australian government and renewable energy provider Neoen to ensure the solution will help avoid a similar blackout.
Tesla will now work with Neoen to pair up the battery pack to the Hornsdale Wind Farm near Jamestown. The system will charge the batteries using the wind farm, then during peak hours, it will deliver the electricity through the grid. The project will be completed by December this year.
The announcement comes just four months after CEO Elon Musk told Australian billionaire Mike Cannon-Brookes on Twitter that he could solve the state’s energy woes in 100 days from signing the contract “or it is free.” Days after Musk’s claim, the state government announced plans to spend $113.3 million on 100 megawatts worth of battery storage facilities, opening up the proposal to others through a bidding process. In the end, Tesla was awarded the entire energy storage system part of the project.
Although Tesla is known to many as a car manufacturer, renewable energy is a key component of its business. The company merged with solar panel maker SolarCity last year and recently announced detailed plans for a range of solar panel roof tiles that rival traditional tiles in terms of cost. Tesla also produces the Powerpack and Powerwall, which serve a similar purpose to the South Australian project by storing renewable energy for use in an individual’s home or a company building.
The South Australia project is impressive, but Tesla is not stopping there. The Gigafactory, a 5.8-million square foot factory under construction in the Nevada desert, will produce batteries at a rate faster than that of bullets leaving a machine gun. The battery output from the Gigafactory is expected to be so high that if Tesla built 99 more factories to the same specification, it would be enough to transition the whole world onto renewable energy sources.