Tesla’s Giant Battery in Oz Bringing in Big $$

January 25, 2018

I didn’t get past Econ 101, but to my untrained eye, this looks like Catnip for Capitalists.


On December 1, Tesla’s 100MW battery system went online in South Australia after meeting founder Elon Musk’s self-imposed 100-day construction deadline. In the weeks since, the massive battery system has seemingly lived up to its potential as a reliable source of clean energy. When a coal plant tripped on December 14, Tesla’s Australian battery stepped up within milliseconds to keep the grid running.

Now, the giant Australian battery has begun to prove its financial worth. According to a report by Renew Economy, Tesla’s Australian battery system may have earned its owners, Neoen, around $1 million AUD ($800,000 USD) over the course of just a couple of days.

Currently, 70MW/39MWh of the battery’s capacity is reserved for the South Australian government to use when needed. Neoen has control over the remaining 30MW/90MWh, which they can choose to trade on the wholesale market. Based on the figures provided by Renew Economy, Neoen was able to sell electricity at around $14,000 AUD per MWh on January 18 and 19, while barely paying anything at all to generate electricity.

More good news. Recent data suggests new Tesla batteries have a very long active life.

15 Responses to “Tesla’s Giant Battery in Oz Bringing in Big $$”

  1. Sir Charles Says:

    Does Australia now impose a 30% import tax on US American products?

  2. Sir Charles Says:

    So 25 years equals to “forever” for this Tesla shill. Funny that he’s quickly contradicting himself in his video clip. I mean, I really appreciate what Elon Musk is all doing, but that video at the bottom is just plain crap.

    • greenman3610 Says:

      in tech years, 25 years is damn near forever.
      can you remember the world before the internet?
      I can’t.

      • grindupbaker Says:

        Some of us are old and cranky. We’re not all raphoppers like you. We consider this loss of short-term / long-term perspective to have an odd similarity to a cold snap as an Ice Age or End Time, and strangely ironic against a topic of millions of years being compressed into an astounding eye blink of a few thousand years. Difference between sciency-type and socio-politico.

      • Sir Charles Says:

        Well, I can remember the world before the internet, Peter, and I can also remember when electrical devices kept easily going for 25 years (which still isn’t “forever”). BTW, how do 500-800 cycles make up 25 years? You charge your E-car just once in a fortnight? And that’s enough for all you’re driving? Wanna see that 🙂

        • stephengn1 Says:

          I’m watching the old energy dinosaurs grind their teeth as the disruption asteroid hits 🤪

          • Sir Charles Says:

            My dad used to repair TVs in the 1950s, 60s and 70s. At that time, companies were still trying to extend the lifetime of their products. Polyester capacitors entered the market and saved the life of many valves. Nowadays, people look at you as you were an alien when you carry a mobile phone older than five years. That’s ridiculous! The “disruption asteroid” is the built-in obsoletion which the corporations have introduced to shorten the lifetime of our devices. Capitalism is already selling us the rope, and people desperately grab that rope as if we couldn’t live without that sh!t, without any kind of protest. Humans don’t need any “disruption asteroid”, stephen, they ARE the asteroid.

  3. mboli Says:

    Two really picky reactions to the battery failure video by a non-expert.

    — I think using straight line estimates for failure isn’t playing fair. An analogy is measuring the rate at which 20 year-old people die, and assuming that 30 year old people die at the same rate, and 40 and … and 100 year-old people will die at the same rate as 20 year olds. That’s not how old age failure rates work. If you calculate like that, Methuselah might not be such an outlier.

    Isn’t the standard statistical distribution for equipment failure something like Weibull? That’s the famous “bathtub”, where some parts fail early due to defects at time of manufacture (which declines with time), and some parts fail later due to senescence (which increases with time).

    Having learned to use some mathematical modeling tools (as this guy seems to be proud of) doesn’t mean you know very much.

    — Referring to what “Elon” says — first name only — strikes me as a bad sign. This guy is a cultist.

  4. Gingerbaker Says:

    Why is it good news that Australians are paying a million dollars a day extra for RE energy?

    • greenman3610 Says:

      I think what it says is that the availability of battery storage made it possible to ride out the sudden shut down of a coal plant, as the battery responded in milliseconds.
      This kind of service is extremely valuable to utilities, because it saves them blackouts, brownouts, and attendant costs to consumers at a reasonable price.
      Now this technology is coming to the US, if you saw my most recent post on Colorado’s adoption of big battery + wind.

      • Gingerbaker Says:

        I have nothing but praise for the value and sophistication of the battery tech.

        All I am saying is that it would have warmed the cockles of my socialistic heart if the column had said that the battery saved consumers a million dollars a day, instead of earning a corporation that amount.

      • grindupbaker Says:

        Saves them brownouts is something that’s good if it’s possible but milliseconds doesn’t do the job and is too short to create the safety of a blackout. I think it’s fraught with hazard for equipment. The A.C. half cycle is 8.333 ms. When a Ward-Leonard motor speed control is changed to silicon-control-rectifier or variable-voltage variable-frequency it’s necessary to provide ~15 seconds of blackout in the Emergency Power transfer switch else the attempt to switch instantly will cause an out-of-phase when the power switches, pop circuit breakers or blow the super-fast fuses in an SCR drive. Also, computers have capacitance in the circuit. If the switchover isn’t fast enough to keep the computer clocking & processing correctly but is too fast to cause a blackout Power On Reset (POR) then the computer program is in the weeds, locked up until someone turns it off & on again. When process control computers power up their programs have an initializing that gets it all going again.

        So, that all means if the battery system can indeed match phase with a power gap too small to interfere with a computer then that’s perfect. Otherwise, 2nd best is to intentionally black out for 15 seconds until all equipment’s capacitance is discharged, then power on. The intermediate state of almost-but-not-quite-fast-enough will have elevator technicians releasing trapped passengers for hours after the battery starts providing because the computers will not reset and resume.

  5. My 2 cents worth
    What hasn’t been covered is the perspective of how the Australian energy market works and what actually happened.
    The battery switched in as frequency started dropping due to Loy Yang B tripping, thus pulling frequency back , the contracted back up takes 6 seconds to fire up and carry the load, but as the freq and load had been maintained for those few seconds there wasn’t even an operational blip on the National Power Grid.
    That $14,000/MWHr is small potato’s , we in Vic and the rest of Aus paid peak costs of $36,000/MWHr at that time. In fact those peak spikes used to add $50Mill p.a to SA’s electricity costs, those costs spikes have been reduced by over 80% saving SA Millions a year.
    In fact the Hornsby battery has been enjoying charging up when the prices are negative, in other words instead of load shedding the network pays them to take energy which they sell back when the prices rise.
    It truly is a licence to print money and also save the State millions in electricity costs by smashing all those short small peak spikes ( The regulators graphs show it kicking in many time per day smoothing the spikes and stabilising frequency), so it is not full cycle charge and discharge most of the time so not the apparent degradation of lifespan.
    However many more are now planned and being built Aust Wide and there has been a boom in home solar and battery

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