Tesla’s Powerpack farm expansion in South Australia takes a big step forward

Tesla big batteries at Hornsdale Power Reserve (Source: Neoen | Twitter)

It appears that the upgrades to Tesla’s Powerpack farm in South Australia, widely considered as one of the largest battery installations in the world, has just reached a new milestone. In an update, Neoen Australia managing director Louis de Sambucy stated that the network connections for the upgraded Hornsdale Power Reserve had recently been completed. 

Even before its expansion, the 100MW/129MWh South Australia big battery was already a game-changer. Since being deployed, the Powerpack farm has played a crucial role in enhancing the region’s grid reliability and security. It has also delivered an estimated $150 million in savings to residents in the area, thanks to reduced costs of frequency control and ancillary services, a type of service that was once dominated by coal plants.

With its 50% expansion, the Hornsdale Power Reserve is poised to grow into a 150MW/194MWh system. This was highlighted by the Neoen Australia managing director in a LinkedIn post, where he noted that the upgraded battery will now be able to provide more services to residents in the area. 

“Hornsdale Battery Extension: network connection works completed! The world’s biggest battery to provide extra reliability soon to the grid in those extremely challenging times (very low demand, increased risks of outages, …). Congrats to the CCP, Tesla, and Neoen teams,” de Sambucy wrote. 

Renew Economy report has stated that the upgraded Tesla Powerpack farm will be providing new services to the grid, such as digital or “virtual” inertia. Neoen has stated that inertia benefits, which Tesla dubs as the upgraded system’s Virtual Machine Mode (VMM), would help facilitate South Australia’s transition to a fully sustainable grid. Prior to the big battery’s expansion, virtual inertia delivered only by synchronous machines, which are usually powered by coal, gas, or hydro.

The upgraded big battery is still waiting for final approval from South Australia energy regulators before it can be deployed. Estimates for the completion of the regulators’ approvals point to the big battery’s upgrades to be switched on before the end of June. 

It should be noted that the Hornsdale Power Reserve’s expansion is not the only high-profile Tesla Energy project in South Australia. Apart from the Powerpack farm, Neoen Australia is also looking to establish a 600 MW battery that would be built in Victoria. Details for the proposed project are slim for now, though planning documents show that Neoen may be utilizing Tesla’s Megapack batteries for the proposed system. Once completed, the Victoria Megapack installation could boast a size of 600MW/1200MWh, dwarfing the Hornsdale Power Reserve. 

Tesla’s Powerpack farm expansion in South Australia takes a big step forward
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