Tesla’s Big Battery in South Australia just had its most impressive quarter yet

Tesla's 100 MW/129 MWh Powerpack system dubbed as the 'World's largest battery' in Jamestown, Australia.

Revenues for Tesla’s big battery in South Australia, officially known as the Hornsdale Power Reserve, spiked 56% in the final quarter of 2019, thanks to an increase in the value of frequency and ancillary services in the region. This marks yet another milestone for Telsa’s Powerpack farm, emphasizing once more that grid-scale batteries are feasible.

French renewable energy developer Neoen’s 2019 revenue statement was recently released on February 19, and it showed a 14% rise in battery storage revenues for the entire year. Nearly all of the rise in Neoen’s revenues came from the 100MW/129MWh Hornsdale Power Reserve.

The big battery’s revenue jump in Q4 was somewhat expected, according to Renew Economy. The Tesla battery at Hornsdale pocketed $4 million of revenue in the fourth quarter according to the Australian Energy Market Operator’s most recent Quarterly Dynamics report. The report also highlighted a shift in focus toward energy storage, time-shifting, and energy arbitrage.

Neoen CEO Xavier Barbaro stated that the Hornsdale facility has been a “wonderful” success for his company and the South Australian grid as its power has provided a “valuable service” to those who are in need of energy.

“We keep proving that what we do with lithium-ion batteries is the right solution and a competitive one for the grid. We are asked often to inject electricity for FCAS. It has proven to be well placed in terms of merit order in Australia, and has dramatically reduced costs,” he added.

However, the impressive performance of the Big Battery in Q4 2019 may be overshadowed by its performance in Q1 2020. A series of wind farms are currently out of commission after a tornado pulled down main power lines in Victoria, Australia. This will effectively cause South Australia to become an “energy island” that will be responsible for supplying power to residents in the region for two weeks.

Allan O’Neil of Watt Clarity expects the two weeks of dependence on Victoria’s big batteries to result in an additional $45 million of revenue. At least half of this amount will likely be captured by Tesla’s Hornsdale battery.

Tesla’s 100MW battery in Hornsdale was installed in less than 100 days in 2017 after a public Twitter conversation between Elon Musk and Australian software tycoon Mike Cannon-Brookes. The Twitter conversation revealed the Tesla CEO’s willingness to put his money where his mouth is. “Tesla will get the system installed and working 100 days from contract signature or it is free. That serious enough for you,” Musk said. True to his words, the Powerpack Farm was established in less than 100 working days, and it was promptly deployed to help support the region’s grid.


Tesla’s Big Battery in South Australia just had its most impressive quarter yet
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