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Hornsdale Tesla Big Battery and wind farm, courtesy of Tesla.

Batteries

Batteries Batteries — It’s All About The Batteries

It’s about the batteries, stupid!

Hardly a week goes by without a story about new battery developments, new battery chemistries, and the building of new battery factories (or gigafactories). Meanwhile, in the Land Down Under, our stories are about size. Big, bigger, and biggerest. 

Hornsdale Tesla Big Battery and wind farm behind, courtesy of Tesla.

South Australia is home to the Hornsdale power reserve, known locally as the Tesla Big Battery. It was born from the power failures in that state in 2016 and a challenge from Mike Cannon-Brookes (of Atlassian fame) to his mate Elon to fix the problem. Musk said Tesla would build it in 100 days or less or it would be free. And build it they did. This battery has been a great success at stabilizing the grid and saving the good citizens of South Australia a lot of money on their power bills.

Our esteemed prime minister, of course, says it is as much use as the Big Banana. He loves his coal too much.

Currently, Australia has six big batteries in service throughout the country, with 6 more under construction and many more in the pipeline. One of these is a 300-megawatt behemoth planned for Melbourne. The big news for this battery is that it will be built without any government subsidies or contracts. We are now in the situation where the government is offering to subsidize new gas and coal power plants because private investors are unwilling to do so, and yet a battery can be financed through the market. Strange times indeed. 

Reneweconomy.com.au has recently released a map of battery storage projects — the list and reach is impressive.  

At the other end of the scale, the artist colony town of Yakandandah (yes, that’s its real name) has decided to be independent and install its own 274-kW battery. Situated halfway between Melbourne and Sydney, Yakandandah is a picturesque ex gold mining town nestled in the foothills of the Great Dividing Range.

Yakandandah downtown. Photo by Chris Fithall, via Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

It looks like Australia has a bright future where the lights will stay on even when the wind doesn’t blow and the sun doesn’t shine, thanks to forward thinkers installing batteries against the wishes of their own federal government.

 
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Written By

David Waterworth is a retired teacher who divides his time between looking after his grandchildren and trying to make sure they have a planet to live on. He is long on Tesla [NASDAQ:TSLA].

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