Tesla’s big battery in South Australia is about to bring more pain to coal and gas plants

Tesla big batteries at Hornsdale Power Reserve (Credit: Neoen/Twitter)

Tesla’s big battery in South Australia is about to deal an even more painful blow to the country’s coal and gas industry, with recent reports stating that the Powerpack farm’s 50 MWh addition is just about ready to be activated. With the upgrades in place, the South Australia battery, which is already one of the biggest in the world at 100MW/129MWh, will become even more formidable at 150MW/194MWh.

According to a recent report from ABC News, the 50 MWh addition to the already massive battery is already undergoing final tests. If successful, the upgraded big battery could be deployed fully, providing an even more robust set of services to the region’s residents. The upgrades to the system, known officially as the Hornsdale Power Reserve, have been met with optimism from officials, with Energy Minister Dan Van Holst Pelekaan noting that the upgrade would further stabilize the region’s grid. 

“We’re making the biggest battery in the world 50 percent bigger, but we’re also making it do more for consumers,” he said.

Previous reports have indicated that the upgraded Tesla Powerpack farm will be providing new services to the region’s grid, such as digital or “virtual” inertia. According to Neoen, virtual inertia would play a big role in the transition to a fully sustainable grid. Prior to the Hornsdale Power Reserve’s expansion, virtual inertia has been delivered only by synchronous machines, which are usually powered by coal or gas. 

With this in mind, the upgraded big battery could very well provide yet another blow to the fossil fuel industry in the country, while providing residents with significant power savings. In its first two years of operation alone, the Hornsdale Power Reserve delivered more than $150 million worth of savings to residents. And with the 50 MWh addition, Van Holst Pelekaan expects these savings to grow even more. 

“Upon successful completion of testing in the next few months, we expect these savings will continue to grow. The increase in storage power and capacity mean a faster response to disturbances such as network faults, so that within milliseconds the Hornsdale Power Reserve can help stabilize the grid. In demonstrating the benefits that batteries can provide, this will help inform the regulatory changes required to create new markets which attract new technologies to support renewable energy,” he said. 

The undeniable success of the South Australia Powerpack farm has inspired what could very well be dubbed as a battery storage movement in Australia. Apart from the Hornsdale Power Reserve’s expansion, for example, Neoen Australia is also poised to build a 600MW/1200MWh battery in Victoria. This massive system, which will dwarf Hornsdale by a wide margin, is speculated to utilize Tesla’s flagship Megapack batteries, which are specifically designed for grid-scale operations. 

Tesla’s big battery in South Australia is about to bring more pain to coal and gas plants
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