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After announcing his goal to get to Mars by 2022 at the International Astronautical Conference in Adelaide, Australia, the Tesla founder headed three hours into the South Australian countryside to launch the building of the world’s largest lithium-ion battery installation and he’s about half done.
Attempting to alleviate some of the state’s severe energy issues, Musk now has 100 days to build a Powerpack system with 100 megawatts of capacity, a now famous bet derived from light Tesla bragging and Twitter banter in March.
If he doesn’t get it done in 100 days, he’s footing the bill, which could be up to $50 million. And now Musk has declared the beginning of the 100 days from Sept. 29, and that they’ll be done by Dec. 1, 2017. The project is sitting at 50MW of 100MW.
Musk gave a keynote speech at an entirely Powerpack-fuelled launch at the Hornsdale Wind Farm near Jamestown, three hours’ drive from Adelaide on Friday. The event coincided with the signing of an interconnection agreement, now approved by AEMO and just signed by Electranet.
It is to be mentioned that Adelaide engineering firm Consolidated Power Projects (CPP) has been contracted to build the Powerpack, so they’re under equal pressure.
Although the state gets most of its energy from renewables. South Australia’s in dire need of a demand-led, renewable energy solution, after the Sept. 2016 blackout that left residents in the dark.
In March 2017, the State Government announced a plan to create a $150 million fund made to support renewable energy projects. Tesla was selected from over 90 competitive bids to provide the entire energy storage component for Neoen’s Hornsdale Wind Farm.
So, how does the system work? It’s a grid-scale energy storage system, in this instance to be integrated into South Australia’s current set-up. Storing excess energy generated by the Hornsdale Wind Farm, the Powerpack 2 will enable the utility to firm up renewable generation by reconciling the intermittency of power from these sources and storing excess capacity to dispatch when it’s needed.
The Powerpack acts in an on-demand capacity, deploying power within seconds or milliseconds depending on peak requirement distribution like should allow South Australia to avoid future blackouts. Powerpacks can operate as a buffer when the power output from a large generation source is ramping up or down. Impressively, they also consume no water and don’t require detailed environmental reviews.
Each Powerpack 2, scalable from 200 kWh to 100+ MWh, is matched with a Tesla inverter, which is, according to Tesla, the lowest cost, highest efficiency and highest power density utility-scale inverter on the market.