The Tesla-powered Hornsdale Power Reserve (HPR) in South Australia has saved businesses and local residents from three wide-scale blackouts, proving how big batteries can play a key role in maintaining a region’s power grid.
The Hornsdale Power Reserve, owned by French renewable energy producer Neoen, uses Tesla’s utility-scale Powerpack system. Based on an impact study from consulting firm Aurecon, it appears that the big battery has saved consumers AUD 116 million or roughly $76 million in 2019. The same report detailed how the HPR responded to three separate major events since it went online in 2018. The said events occurred in August 2018, November 2019, and January 2020.
“On each occasion, HPR responded by closely tracking the changing frequency and accurately changing its power dispatch as required,” the Hornsdale Power Reserve Year 2 Technical and Market Impact Case Study read.
The Hornsdale Power Reserve provides Fast Frequency Response using its fast dispatch capability to ensure power is supplied quickly, avoiding major power outages.
During the August 2018 event, the grids in South Australia and Queensland were cut off from the main grid following lighting strikes that resulted in major blackouts in New South Wales and Victoria. NSW shed 724MW of load while Victoria shed 280MW. Victoria and South Australia did not go in the dark. Tesla’s big battery was quickest to respond during the said event and has proven itself as a critical asset where power security is needed.
“The large-scale battery storage in SA was valuable in this event, assisting in containing the initial decline in system frequency, and then rapidly changing output from generation back to load, to limit the over-frequency condition in SA following separation from VIC,” the Australian Energy Market Operator report about the Aug. 2018 event reads.
On November 16, 2019, another event caused the islanding of the grid in South Australia. In the early evening on the said date, the Heywood interconnector, the main link between South Australia and Victoria, tripped. Despite this, the lights in SA did not go dark, thanks to solar, wind, and big batteries. The Tesla Big Battery responded as required and helped return the supply to in a matter of minutes after the islanding event. As it maintained the supply in normal range, other energy producers that charge higher during such events were not able to perform as well.
On January 31, 2020, South Australia was once again separated from the National Electric Market due to a storm that broke a massive transmission line. The cut transmission lines actually meant there was an oversupply in SA and just like in undersupply events, the Hornsdale Power Reserve, together with South Australia’s other big batteries and windfarms, promptly responded to correct the fluttering frequency. SA effectively operated like an “island” until power was resynchronized on February 17.
The three events in South Australia highlight the vital role of how Tesla big battery-supplied Hornsdale Power Reserve can help maintain grid security and ensure that lights are kept on even when the state is “islanded.” These are only the beginning too, especially since Neoen has announced that it will be expanding its Tesla Powerpack Farm by 50%.