Musk, Tesla Win Big Battery Bet

November 25, 2017



Elon Musk made a bet to build the world’s biggest battery in 100 days or he’d pay for it.

And he’s done.

Tesla has completed installing its colossal lithium ion battery in South Australia, a Powerpack system with 100 megawatts of capacity. But now comes the test.

Regulatory testing will begin in the next few days to ensure the battery is optimised and meets AEMO and South Australian Government requirements, before operation commences on Dec. 1.

Representatives from Tesla, French renewable energy company Neoen and Adelaide engineering firm Consolidated Power Projects will join South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill next week to officially launch the battery.

Connected to Neoen’s Hornsdale Wind Farm near Jamestown, three hours’ drive from Adelaide, the Powerpack system is an attempt to alleviate some of the state’s severe energy issues.

Musk’s involvement came from a now famous bet derived from light Tesla bragging and Twitter banter in March. Musk said that if he didn’t get it done in 100 days, he’d foot the bill, which could have been up to US$50 million (A$65 million).

Business Insider:

Elon Musk will get paid for building the world’s largest lithium-ion battery in South Australia, as the 100-megawatt project is about to begin testing ahead of a December 1 deadline to complete building it or make it free.

State premier Jay Weatherill announced on Thursday that regulatory testing at the site — which is paired with the French energy business Neoen’s Hornsdale wind farm, 230 kilometres north of Australia’s capital, Adelaide — would begin within days.

When fully charged, the battery, Tesla’s Powerpack, is expected to hold enough power for 8,000 homes for 24 hours, or more than 30,000 houses for an hour during a blackout.

The project is part of a $550 million plan by the state to guarantee energy supply following a statewide blackout last year that turned into a national political debate over energy security and costs. A 250-megawatt gas-fired generator, expected to cost $360 million, is also due to come online this summer to provide extra power.

The battery is the result of a Twitter bet between the Tesla founder and Atlassian’s Mike Cannon-Brookes in March that he would supply the battery within 100 days or it was free. The clock began ticking when Musk visited Adelaide in September to sign off on the deal — though work was already underway on the plant after the government gave the contract to Musk in July.

Musk had said that if he failed to meet the deadline, it would have cost him “probably $50 million or more.”

The Tesla plant will be called upon during periods of “load shedding,” when excess demand would otherwise result in blackouts.

Weatherill said that the battery was now complete and that the testing would ensure it is optimised and meets energy market regulatory requirements.

“It sends the clearest message that South Australia will be a leader in renewable energy with battery storage,” he said. “An enormous amount of work has gone into delivering this project in such a short time, and I look forward to visiting Jamestown next week to personally thank those who have worked on this project.”

Lazard – Leveled Cost of Storage 2017:

  • Among commercially deployed technologies, lithium-ion continues to provide the most economical solution across use cases analyzed in the LCOS, although competing flow battery technologies claim to offer lower costs for certain applications.
  • Although energy storage technology has created a platform for discussions related to certain transformational scenarios, such as consumers and businesses “going off the grid”, it is not currently cost competitive in most applications. However, under some scenarios, certain applications of energy storage technologies are attractive; these uses relate primarily to strengthening the power grid and accessing cost savings and other sources of value for commercial and industrial energy users through reducing utility bills and/or participating in demand response programs.
  • Industry participants expect costs to decrease significantly over the next five years, driven by scale and related cost savings, improved standardization and technological improvements, supported in turn by increased demand as a result of regulatory/pricing innovation, increased renewables penetration and the needs of an aging and changing power grid in the context of a modern society. The majority of future cost declines are expected to occur as a result of manufacturing and engineering improvements in batteries. Cost declines projected by Industry participants vary widely among energy storage technologies, but lithium-ion capital costs are expected to decline as much as 36% over the next five years.
  • As the energy storage market continues to evolve, several potential sources of revenue streams available to energy storage systems have emerged. However, the ultimate mix of available revenue streams for a particular energy storage system varies significantly across geographies.




13 Responses to “Musk, Tesla Win Big Battery Bet”

  1. grindupbaker Says:

    megawatts isn’t a measure of capacity (energy). It’s a measure of power. It’s either a measure of its maximum throughput (charge/drain rate) or it needs a -hours somewhere. Nice battery though.

    • The facility is rated at 100MW / 129MWh

    • The battery has a capacity of 129 MWH with presumably 100 mw output. This state has a big shortage of GENERATING capacity and requires backup from a interstate connector from the lignite fields in the state of Victoria. When this was offline industry suffered $millions in loses, good for a chuckle once. When a 50 year storm flattened it, a cascading shutdown had the entire 1.5m population powerless for many hours to days. Have doubts those problems would be covered, and the fact that the state government is involved, with it’s technically moronic layperson lawyer dominated membership, does not engender confidence. Lovely lovely battery though.

      • grindupbaker Says:

        1.5m population so 1,725 megawatts so the wind farm could source 6% indefinitely if the wind was blowing and 6% for 77 minutes with a flat calm. Need 17 wind farms then. It’s a start.

      • toby52 Says:

        Give me South Australia and its technically moronic government over the USA’s technically moronic equivalent any day. Lawyers’ wind farms beat plutocrats’ poisonous coal.

        • Do appreciate all aspects of your comments, quite right.
          Australia’s federal gov is also pushing coal, beggars belief. Don’t know if that makes you feel better or worse? SA has the most wind farms and by far the most PV at over 25% of buildings, in Oz. Also the most expensive power in in the most expensive (so we are told, not arguing ) country in the world. This is not due to the high level of renewable’s as the wankasphere maintains, but mainly the lack of generating power, and other factors. The moral is, actually do it right and logically, not make silly pompas claims.

  2. indy222 Says:

    Not tested? Does he still “win” if he plugs it in and there’s a massive explosion and humongous crater?

  3. Glenn Martin Says:

    OK. He won and now everyone in Australia has to take turns mowing his lawn.

  4. […] I’ve posted on Tesla’s big win for Elon Musk, who bet a 100 MW battery pack for a South Australia wind farm could be completed in 100 days. Here’s more. […]

  5. Just a update on the usefulness of such a storage system. Don’t actually know how to attach links, so hope this works.

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