Tesla and power producer Neoen will expand by 50 percent the world’s largest lithium-ion battery in South Australia to ensure additional grid stability, the French company said on Tuesday.
Neoen will expand the Hornsdale Power Reserve battery, also known as the Tesla Big Battery, which Tesla started to build two years ago. At the time, Tesla was selected through a competitive bidding process to provide a 100 MW/129 MWh Powerpack system to be paired with Neoen’s Hornsdale Wind Farm near Jamestown.
Now Neoen, supported by Tesla, will expand the battery with 50 MW/64.5 MWh to offer additional grid stability and cut electricity costs for consumers.
The expansion is expected to be completed in the first half next year, the French renewable power provider said in a statement.
In its first year of operation, the Tesla Big Battery has saved consumers more than US$34 million (AU$50 million), Neoen says, noting that the expansion will lead to additional savings for consumers.
The project is supported by the South Australian Government, which is giving grants from its Grid Scale Storage Fund. The battery expansion project will also be the first battery project in Australia to benefit from debt financing support from the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC).
“Large scale batteries are playing an important role in providing short term, large scale energy storage to help firm and balance the grid,” said Darren Miller, chief executive of Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA).
Soaring investments in battery technologies, advancement in technology, and rapid cost reduction are set to speed up the global energy transition, Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI) said in a ‘Breakthrough Batteries’ report at the end of October.
Total manufacturing investment, both previous and planned until 2023, is some US$150 billion, and analysts expect the capital cost for new planned battery manufacturing capacity to drop by more than half from 2018 to 2023, RMI said.
“This is opening new markets—as performance and costs improve—and will push both lithium-ion (Li-ion) and new battery technologies across competitive thresholds faster than anticipated,” according to the report.