Tesla founder and CEO Elon Musk flipped the switch last week on the first half of his company’s 100-megawatt battery in South Australia, with a couple of months to run on his audacious promise to complete the installation within 100 days or deliver it for free.
Musk noted the initial installation of 30 megawatts/65 megawatt-hours was complete in two months, less time than it takes to complete a kitchen renovation.
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“Talk is cheap, action is difficult,” he said at a ceremony outside the neighbouring Hornsdale wind farm, which is supplying power to the battery. “This is not just talk, it is reality.”
“This shows how much has been done in an incredibly short period of time,” said South Australia Premier Jay Weatherill. “There were lots of people making jokes about South Australia and making fun of our leadership in renewable energy. They are now laughing on the other side of their face, because South Australia is leading the world on renewable energy technologies.”
“Welcome to the 21st century,” added Energy Minister Tom Koutsantonis.
Tesla is under contract to supply the battery by December 1, the beginning of the Australian summer. The array “will be used partially to ‘time shift’ the delivery of wind power from Hornsdale, but most of it is dedicated to helping stabilize the grid and keeping the lights on in case of a major disruption like last year’s storm that led to the ‘system black,’” RenewEconomy explains.
With a contract now in place between Tesla and the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO), the battery “will help solve power outages, reduce intermittencies, and manage summertime peak load to support the reliability of South Australia’s electrical infrastructure, providing enough power for more than 30,000 homes—approximately equal to the amount of homes that lost power during the blackout period last year,” Tesla said in a statement.
While the big installation is expected to meet its deadline, or possibly come in a bit ahead of schedule, a previous RenewEconomy report noted that smaller home and commercial users will have to wait until February or March for delivery of their 14-kWh PowerWall 2 batteries.
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