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article imageTesla's big battery in Australia has defied all expectations

By Karen Graham     Oct 4, 2018 in Technology
Jamestown - Nearly a year ago, Elon Musk promised to build the world's biggest lithium-ion battery in South Australia within 100 days. He delivered, and now the battery has defied skeptics, making waves in the industry thanks to its performance.
Billionaire Musk tweeted an offer to help build a battery farm in March last year after South Australia was hit with a total blackout when an "unprecedented" storm wrecked power transmission towers in 2016. The big battery, called the Hornsdale Power Reserve, is connected to the Hornsdale wind farm right next door, run by French company Neoen.
The wind farm is a 315MW renewable electricity project and consists of 99 wind turbines. The whole purpose for Tesla's big battery was to run at all times providing stability services for renewable energy while being available to provide emergency backup power if a shortfall in energy comes to pass.
Resources Minister Matt Canavan supposedly dismissed the big battery as "the Kim Kardashian of the energy world: it's famous for being famous [but] doesn't do very much". But the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) disagrees. "Its ability to respond very, very quickly to the different types of conditions that we see on the power system has been very encouraging for us," AEMO's executive general manager of operations Damien Sanford told the ABC.
And with the news coming out of South Australia now, the state and Jamestown are now on the map as a world leader in renewable energy with battery storage. Energy Post is reporting the battery has not only defied skeptics but even the experts, in almost every conceivable way.
The power of the big battery is misunderstood
Australia's electrical grid needs constant tweaking in order to keep everything humming along at the required frequency — a tight band around 50 Hertz. Tesla's battery just happens to be registered to provide these "frequency control ancillary services" or FCAS.
And according to AEMO, "{the speed, precision, and agility of the battery are unprecedented in dealing with these regular, small frequency variations as well as major power disturbances." And major power disturbances have given the big battery plenty of chances to prove its worth.
On numerous occasions in recent times, particularly during hot weather, coal-fired power stations suddenly and unexpectedly tripped, causing the Tesla battery to step in and stabilize the grid. The latest incident occurred last month, when two lines connecting Queensland and New South Wales tripped simultaneously after twin lightning strikes, causing widespread outages in three states, and the grids in Queensland and South Australia ended up being islanded, or cut off.
In South Australia, AEMO acknowledged that the Tesla big battery kept the lights on and no generators were tripped and no load was lost by sudden swings in frequency. South Australia was the only state to emerge from the “emergency event” unscathed.
The efficiency and success of the Tesla battery has created a surge in new battery projects in Australia. There is Tesla's Ganawarra battery, directly tied to a massive solar farm, And next to the Wattle Point wind farm, the Dalrymple North battery will be coming online soon. Other battery installations are being launched in Ballarat, Whyalla, and in Queensland, according to Teslarati.
More about big battery, South australia, Hornsdale Power Reserve, Tesla, Skeptics
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