South Australia’s Tesla battery – the biggest in the world – is dispatching power a day ahead of schedule.
Premier Jay Weatherill visited the Tesla site today to mark its official opening on the first day of summer.
However the battery is already feeding stored wind power into the electricity grid a day ahead of its scheduled activation.
Located near the Hornsdale wind farm in the state’s mid-north, it dispatched a maximum of 59 MW of power yesterday.
Tesla battery bank is ‘history in the making’
Launching the battery, Premier Weatherill said South Australia is now leading the world in dispatchable renewable energy.
“This is history in the making,” he said. “Neoen and Tesla approached the state government with their bold plan to deliver this project, and they have met all of their commitments, ensuring South Australia has back up power this summer.
“I want to express my gratitude to the workers who have constructed this battery – they have every right to be proud of what they’ve constructed.”
Temperatures in South Australia have been hitting the mid-30s recently. As a result, the battery was called on a day early to help alleviate grid load.
The 100MW/129MWh battery is capable of powering about 30,000 homes for a little over an hour.
Made up of Powerpacks 2 batteries, the array is both the largest by storage and the most powerful of its type in the world.
South Australian taxpayers will subsidise its operation by up to $50 million over the next 10 years.
In return, the South Australian Government will have the right to use the battery to prevent load-shedding blackouts.
It will also be able to use a portion of the battery’s output to provide system security services to the grid in an effort to reduce prices.
Demand management program kicks in
The current hot weather down south has prompted the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) into paying power customers to reduce electricity usage during peak periods.
This “demand management” program is one way to reduce strain on the grid. The program is a key part of AEMO’s plan to prevent unexpected blackouts this summer.
The customers are likely to be heavy power users who volunteered to reduce power usage under the demand management program.
The program began after the closure of the Hazelwood coal-fired power station in Victoria. South Australia has a power sharing arrangement with its eastern neighbour, which was affected by Hazelwood’s closure.
Demand management gives the market operator about 1,000 MW of demand management and emergency generation to help balance demand in the grid.