Renew Economy reports that Neoen, a French renewable energy developer, is hoping to have the additional capacity at Tesla’s big battery in South Australia online in March. This is already the largest lithium-ion battery on the planet and Neon has already planned to add more capacity to the battery that will focus on new grid services such as “inertia.” It could also supply up to 50% of the state’s inertia needs while it moves forward with its goal of net 100% renewables by 2030.
For those who don’t understand what inertia is, it is a service that stabilizes the grid when the electricity supply and demand fluctuate. Neoen says that this battery will be upgraded with Tesla’s Virtual Machine Mode, which will allow the advanced power inverters to emulate existing inertia services that are currently being supplied by an aging fleet of fossil fuel power plants. “The level of inertia that would be provided by HPR (Hornsdale Power Reserve) could match half of the total needs of South Australia.”
The world’s biggest lithium-ion battery, the big Tesla battery in SA, is about to get even bigger!
— Solar Citizens (@solarcitizens) January 16, 2020
Neoen submitted an application for approval in December 2019, requesting approval “as soon as possible and in any event by no later than 02/28/2020 in order to be able to finalize the AEMO registration process and be ready to participate in the National Electricity Market by early March 2020.”
More info from the application showed that the mission was to “support the stability of the grid, reducing the risk and severity of grid events such as blackouts and to maximize returns to equity.” Also, the battery is expected to bring in revenues of around $30 million in 2020 and should be operational for around 15 years. If the expansion comes online in time, those numbers could end up being higher.
It will be good a good thing for Australia to move completely from fossil fuels to batteries, especially in light of the record heat and natural disasters hitting the country, such as the ongoing bush fires. I can’t even begin to imagine dealing with record heat with no air conditioning (if there were a blackout, people would not be able to stay cool enough). The Hornsdale battery and others in Australia could prevent a lot of heat-related deaths.