Hyundai’s Electric & Energy Systems business is on track to bring the latest ‘world’s largest’ energy storage system in the world online with a new 150 megawatt (MW) system in Ulsan, South Korea.
The new 150 MW system went live in April and it represents just how lucrative crashing lithium-ion battery prices are making stationary energy storage systems in new markets around the world. At the time, the largest system in the world was the 100 MW | 129 MWh energy storage system that Tesla installed in South Australia to tame the country’s rampant blackouts and high energy prices.
In the more than 1 year since it went into operation, the Tesla system has by all measures outperformed expectations and catalyzed the consideration of many similar installations around the world.
The lithium-ion battery-based system is being installed in the city that kickstarted Hyundai’s global expansion back in the ’60s and carried it forward to become the heart of the Korean automotive industry. In its heyday, Hyundai Heavy Industry workers were bringing in triple the average Korean salary, but that has all come to a screeching halt in recent years as Chinese companies have moved into the gap, eating away at Korea’s vast export industry.
The competition has severely impacted the viability of many jobs in Ulsan as the city rails from dwindling exports that have resulted in job cuts into the tens of thousands. At the heart of Ulsan is the world’s largest automotive factory in Hyundai’s Ulsan plant, making it a fitting home for the transitory title of the world’s largest stationary energy storage system.
Will the company that made Ulsan great be able to turn the page to the next chapter in automotive and energy industry manufacturing, or will it go down with the fossil fuel ship that has powered a country for so many decades? That is still to be determined, but the new energy installation in Ulsan has the potential to set the course for an industry and for a country as they seek to reorient their export ships towards a renewable future.
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