All The Details On Tesla's Giant Australian Battery

Tesla's 80MW PowerPack substation in Mira Loma, California. Image: Tesla

Tesla is building the world's largest lithium-ion battery in South Australia -- an installation 60 per cent larger than any other large-scale battery energy storage system on the planet.

In partnership with the SA government and French renewables company Neoen, alongside the third stage of the Hornsdale Wind Farm, the PowerPack battery farm will top 100 megawatts of capacity and provide 129 megawatt-hours of energy generation to the region -- load balancing the state's renewable energy generation and allowing emergency back-up power if a shortfall in energy production is predicted.

The battery pack's 100MW/129MWh capacity will top the world in terms of its size, solidly beating out the world's current largest installation -- a 80 megawatt-hour substation at Mira Loma in Ontario, California also built using Tesla batteries. The 129MWh project in SA will also use Tesla's PowerPack 2 commercial/utility-grade battery systems, and will be 60 per cent larger than the California installation, with the capacity to power 4000 homes in the region for an entire day in case of blackout. It will be installed at the Hornsdale Wind Farm, a string of wind turbines stretching 8km and 24km north of Jamestown in South Australia.

The batteries will keep the lights on in South Australia, in a time where the state has struggled with reliable energy generation and suffered from a statewide blackout caused by a 50-year storm. Tesla has detailed its planned development in a blog post: "Tesla Powerpack will charge using renewable energy from the Hornsdale Wind Farm and then deliver electricity during peak hours to help maintain the reliable operation of South Australia's electrical infrastructure. The Tesla Powerpack system will further transform the state’s movement towards renewable energy and see an advancement of a resilient and modern grid.

"Upon completion by December 2017, this system will be the largest lithium-ion battery storage project in the world and will provide enough power for more than 30,000 homes, approximately equal to the amount of homes that lost power during the blackout period."

Tesla CEO Elon Musk famously promised that Tesla would get a battery system installed and up and running within 100 days of contract signature or it would be free, and SA's government has taken him up on that -- from the signature of the grid interconnection agreement, Tesla will have a little over three months to set up the PowerPack substation. SolarCity co-founder and cousin of Musk, Lyndon Rive, previously said at an event in SA that between 100 and 300 megawatts of storage would solve South Australia's energy issues, which included a widespread blackout in the state in September of last year. Other bidders included Australia's Carnegie Clean Energy.

The consortium of Tesla and Neoen will be known as the Hornsdale Power Reserve, with the company name registered with ASIC six weeks ago. The Power Reserve will be the largest renewable generator in the state as well as home to the largest lithium ion battery in the world. Neoen deputy CEO Romain Desrousseaux believes that it will be a watershed moment for batteries and renewables in Australia and around the world: "South Australian customers will be the first to benefit from this technology which will demonstrate that large-scale battery storage is both possible and now, commercially viable. Together, the South Australian Government, Neoen and Tesla will demonstrate that renewables can provide dependable, distributable power that will turn a new page in Australia’s energy future."

This move is one of the first in South Australia's $550m plan announced in March to secure its own means of energy production -- a move that enraged the federal government. The total dollar cost of the installation has not been disclosed.

According to the South Australian government, Tesla and Neoen's proposal was "the best value for money" of the 90 responses it received. Tesla has succeed in driving down the cost of lithium-ion batteries significantly -- by over 30 per cent, according to internal figures -- since the company was founded with the construction of its Gigafactory in Nevada, soon to celebrate its first year of production.

What Experts Have To Say About Tesla's Giant Australian Battery

Last week South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill announced he would take Elon Musk up on his offer to power the state, with the world's largest lithium ion battery set to be installed in collaboration with French renewable company Neoen and the State Government. But will it solve the state's power woes? Australian experts weigh in below.

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At roughly five PowerPacks per MWh of energy generation, South Australia's Tesla battery setup will comprise several hundred PowerPack towers -- each containing 16 individual battery pods that balance charge. The 129MWh of batteries to be installed at Hornsdale is roughly equivalent to the capacity installed into Tesla's new electric cars during five days of Model S and Model X production at its plant in Fremont, California.

Being a failover system in case of energy shortages in the region, the Tesla battery will provide emergency power -- at least for a short time, in the context of South Australia's power demands -- and has the side benefit of lowering the chance of brownout events. Horndale already exports its excess energy production into the national grid, and is part of an AEMO trial into demonstrating that wind power can supply a baseload level of energy, known as frequency control and ancillary services or FCAS, to compete with traditional baseload sources like coal and gas.

Images: Tesla

South Australian premier Jay Weatherill is understandably chuffed: "South Australia has been leading the nation in renewable energy – now we are leading the world in battery storage. I’m thrilled with the selection of Neoen and Tesla, whose experience and world-leadership in energy security and renewables will help South Australia take charge of its own energy future. Battery storage is the future of our national energy market, and the eyes of the world will be following our leadership in this space. This historic agreement does more than bring a global energy giant in Tesla to South Australia, it will also have some significant economic spin-offs."

The third partner in the Hornsdale renewable and battery consortium, French company Neoen, is fast-tracking the development of renewable power sources across Australia and is aiming for 1GW in wind and solar before 2020, including the third 109MW stage of the 315MW Hornsdale Wind Farm that the Tesla PowerPack will be installed alongside. Neoen was one of 5 shortlisted responses to SA's wind tender, and the companies will work together to deliver the project by December 1.

The partnership between Tesla, Neoen and the SA government also extends further than the initial battery energy storage and Hornsdale project -- without elaborating on any further detail, the state's government said that "other investments" with the partners would be announced in the future. The Finkel Review into Australia's energy networks recommended background wind power with battery storage, and also recommended that incentives be made available to consumers that invest in batteries and solar for their own houses and businesses.

Beyond Batteries: How Energy Storage Can Make Australia's Renewables Reliable

With the price of energy from new wind or solar rapidly dropping below that of traditional fossil fuels, renewable energy seems like a clear way forward. Yet despite massive strides in efficiency and affordability, the nature of renewable resources means you can't generate solar while the sun isn't shining, or wind while the wind isn't blowing. What you can do, however, is store that energy while conditions are good, and save it for a rainy day.

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The Australian Home Battery Storage Buying Guide

In sunny Australia, household rooftop solar can be a great way to generate some of your own power, and potentially save money off your electrical bill. Thanks to recent technology improvements and price reductions, home battery storage makes it possible to store the sun’s energy and use it again at night. But as more and more players enter the market, which option is right for you?

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    capacity to power 4000 homes in the region for an entire day

    So, for some context, SA has roughly 750,000 homes.

    So, does that mean this "historic agreement" will service about 0.5% of SA's homes?

      You're right they just shouldn't build anything at all. Go home, Elon, your batteries aren't big enough to power the whole country.

        I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that you haven't got a Tesla power wall fed by solar panels all over your house. What you probably do have is regular, dirty brown coal power coming into your house like most of us? (I apologise if I'm wrong.)

        The reason: Because the Power wall and solar panels are too expensive for what they are, so you haven't done it.....which is the point I'm trying to make

          Just to clarify this is for "load balancing the state's renewable energy generation and allowing emergency back-up power if a shortfall in energy production is predicted" It provides instant power, something even Gas can't do so it's an important part of the mix.
          In ten years time most Aussie homes will be load balancing the grid.

            What makes SA the only state to have this problem?

              Good question Qlda- the fact that it's a complete monopoly owned by Li Ka-Shing a filthy rich billionaire from Hong Kong, who has short changed the ATO by about $700 million- I think he paid only 10% of what was owed, he was also mentioned in the Panama papers leak- may have something to do with it. Just have a look at the overall energy cost rises, soon as China get involved. They manipulated the aluminium sector and saturated the global market, causing mass layoffs here.

          You make valid points which shouldnt be downvoted but responded to with maturity. I know nothing about power so wont bother.

          The "historic agreement" will not service only 0.5% of peoples homes.
          Aside from providing a limited emergency backup supply, the battery storage will be operating all the time to balance electricity supply and demand, benefiting the entire grid by:
          - Storing excess energy (renewable or conventional) for use when needed, cutting down on waste.
          - Reacting immediately to demand spikes, maintaining power quality and grid stability while conventional generators take time to react.
          - Allowing conventional generators to forecast energy requirements with greater certainty and then generate electricity at a pace that maximises their specific generating technology's efficiency.

          Here is a simple image by the US Energy Information Administration that helps illustrate the supply demand balancing concept:

            Thanks for the explanation, makes a lot of sense and it's the best I've seen here today.

            Do you think it's economically viable for SA?

              Summer is coming and Jay has to do something to stop the blackouts. He has to do this now, as well as firing up Gas, there are no other options possible that could be completed in 3 months.
              Is it Economically Viable? Please do read this:

                He has, I believe he's ordered 180 million dollars worth of diesel generators already.. no coatings provided for the fuel they'll use yet.

                I think the battery is a great idea inasmuch as it'll provide downstream protection from any frequency imbalance that might occur upstream. Not knowing the cost though is not really an ideal form of transparent governance since the SA public will be paying for it.. personally I hope they install a webcam at a safe distance for posterity

              Introduction of energy storage in the grid (lithium batteries, pumped hydro etc.) should be good for grid stability (i.e. an immediate solution to the stability issues SA has been facing).

              I'm not sure about the overall economic/financial value (obviously none of us know how much this is going to cost so it is hard to analyse just yet). What is the cost of the batteries? How many blackout/brownouts will they prevent, what are the economic gains made by preventing said blackout/brownouts?

                whats the life span of the batteries, and what do you do with them when their dead?

          Too expensive for what they are? How much should they be, then?

          We would all love solar power and battery storage to be cheaper, but unless you provide us with figures that declare how much you think that it should be, then your declaration is meaningless.

          Your miniker says it all - my grandson at ages 3, 4 and 5 when he knew or knows he is wrong.

          You're right. Tesla home batteries are slightly too expensive right now.

          The price for this utility grade system is way below that for the home system.

          The state is not in need of a battery replacement of 100% of capacity.

          The state is in need of enough storage to carry it through the shortfalls.

          So you are right on a totally irrelevant point to what this article is about.

          And the price for the home system will drop soon to the point where it's a no brainer, rather than an early-adopter product.

          Do not confuse utility grade systems with domestic systems to make silly points!

      I don't think it's being used to power homes, it's use is relieve strain on the power network like summer where everyone is using their AC's and minimise rolling blackouts.

      Are all of those 750,000 homes in the same region?
      Probably not, so its not relevant.
      There are distribution limits to electricity.

        line lose from transmission will reduce the 100MW to far less, depending on distance and line carrying capacity.

      It's not being used to power homes in the region. It's a last-resort thing.

      For a bit of extra context, the September blackout -- once in 50 years -- knocked out the entire state, and service was restored to the majority within 10 hours.

        Yep, so it's being purchased for a once in 50 years, 10 hour blackout?

        .....and it's only capable of servicing 4000 homes for a day

        .....and the cost is?

          It's not for a blackout. It would HELP in a blackout, but it's not for a blackout. In a blackout, it would serve *as much power as it could* until it ran out. It's not like SA Power would, or would even have the ability to, pick 4000 houses and go "Yep, here's your electricity for 24 hours while the rest of the state is blacked out."

          It's for stabilising the output of fluctuating renewables like wind -- turning them into baseload-ready sources.

          I doubt whether you live in SA. If you did, you would know this Electricity Storage Centre is being purchase because the mismanagement of the NEM on the East Coast of Australia is out of control. The end result for SA is at least threefold.

          1. A State Wide Blackout of the SA Region of the NEM on Wednesday 28th September 2016.
          2. Rolling blackouts on the SA Region of the NEM on Wednesday 8th February 2017.
          3. The highest retail Electricity Prices in the world introduced into SA on July 1st 2017 (yep only 6 days ago).

          The Federal Government is hamstrung by the Coal Lobby on the East Coast of Australia and is doing nothing to regulate the NEM. SA is taking rapid action to fix the SA Region Region of the NEM's issues before summer 2017/18 because the Federal Government is doing nothing about the problems in the SA Region of the NEM for the coming summer.

          This is extremely good value for money as it will be constructed and become operational within 100 days. Once this system demonstrates success, it will certainly bring the demise of the Coal Fired Power Stations Life Cycle on the East Coast of Australia to a rapid conclusion.

          Coal Fired Power Stations are just no longer commercially viable to operate and maintain without massive subsidies .

          Part 2.3 The Megaproject Paradox: Failure of a National Electricity Market

            good value for how much money?

            the article says that hasn't been revealed.

              they are afraid to reveal the cost. They are also afraid to reveal that the batteries have a limited life and will need replacing in a number of year, depending on the demand placed on them. Also they are afraid to reveal that there could be significant line lose in transmission of power to where it is needed.
              So at the end of the batteries life I hope they dump them in the gardens of those who voted this in.

                Not true.

                The life of the batteries has been clearly stated to be 15-20 years and the electronics about another 10 years on top of that. The lithium is recyclable and by then technology will have moved on yet again, hopefully to have seen the back of Dirty Coal forever.

                Power from anywhere to anywhere is lost due to line resistance. The current Interstate Connector spans a huge distance compared with the batteries, which are right next to a large wind farm, the source of the electricity it stores. Batteries have a huge potential to actually be distributed amongst the many consumer/producers of clean energy. They can for example store the overproduction of rooftop solar in the actual suburbs themselves.

                You do not seem to have the same concerns about Dirty Fossil Fuel alternatives.


            Coal Fired Power Stations are just no longer commercially viable to operate and maintain without massive subsidies .

            Actually, I think you'll find that it's renewnable energy that can't be maintained without massive subsidies... Coal and electricity from coal is cheap. Coal requires constant production to be cheap though. However, since wind farms can underbid coal on the NEM (because they're massively subsidised), coal fired plants can't keep up.

              Wind power bids zero because that's the incremental cost of production. They don't have to buy any fuel.

              If you look into the subsidies, I'm quite sure you'll find fossil fuels get way subsidies more than renewables (they also don't have to pay for their negative externalities, but that's another story). Feel free to post details if you find them.

              I have always found it odd that whilst Anti-Environmentalists are so concerned about their fudged "cost" and "efficiency", they never account for the transportation and disposal of the massive amounts of the Dirty Coal they so love. Nor the inevitable enormous cost of the cumulative damage that Dirty Coal is creating.

              Wait till they feel the full impact of the loss of arable land and looming climate refugees. They are enormously unhappy with the comparatively minor population movement we are so far experiencing.

              Coal is NOT cheap when you take the cost to the environment into consideration.

          Yeah he said it's not being bought for that reason. Your comprehension skills need some tuning.

          Exactly - knee jerk reaction. Everyone thinks it's green too, pity about all the fuels used to manufacture, transport, maintain it. Then you have the degradation of the battery output, combined with lithium waste, and then it's going to be conrolled via software- totally reliable and secure technology (not).

        To expand on this, SA had a stronger than normal storm blow through, strong enough to cause a tornado that knocked 20 transmission lines down, somehow that turned into a political football that kicked progress back 50 years.

        The power network did what it was designed to do in that scenario otherwise it could have sent a huge power surge that could have destroyed multi power sub-stations and cause SA to be blacked out for weeks instead of hours.

          Yeah, the "blame renewables!" argument was pretty much made up for the sake of politics.
          The storm literally ripped towers out of the ground; that's what blacked out the state, not reliance on wind farms or whatever.
          But hey, cool battery storage. That's a better win from the situation than idiots starting up coal plants again.

            Even the wind turbines did what they were designed to do, they shut down in high winds, i have seen the aftermath first hand of what the wind does to a turbine that has a broken regulator, they destroy themselves.

            ten you most realise that batteries will not stop the towers from toppling. Big waste of money

        That 'once in 50 year' event in September knocked out power at our house (3.2km from Adelaide GPO) for 50hrs, then another 'once in 50 year' event occurred late December and we were out for close to 3 full days during a rather hot spell after Christmas. Fun times!

        Then had another power failure (not the one in 50 style) in mid January that left us without power for 30hrs.

        I'm not very bright, but as I understand these 'events' could not be solved by having more power available, they were due to storms bringing down trees etc onto above ground power lines. The 30hr outage in January was the only time it was an electricity capacity issue as far as I know.

      No one has explicitly said this yet but I think the '4000 homes for a day' thing was just an example of the capacity it has. As others have said that's not it's intended use.

      Let me give you a simplified answer. This answer is correct, but it will be detail light.
      The purpose of the batteries is not to power homes. So that 4000 homes thing is an "In an emergency situation it can".
      So why are they there?
      Let's talk about a traditional powerplant (nuclear/coal/gas). You create heat, boil water, generate steam, turn a turbine and voila! POWER! But there is more. There is one other component a powerplant has that wind/solar don't. A flywheel.
      You have whopping great flywheels which spin. If there is a surge? Draw some energy from the flywheel as you ramp up! If there is a drop in consumption? Put some power back into the flywheel and wind your turbines down.
      This is critically important. This allows you to regulate the frequency at which power is put out at. (50Hz). Too much variation in frequency generation will cause a blackout. (Read: South Australia. Know that 50 year storm? There was *HEAPS* of power still in the grid, but the frequency shifted too much and system went into failsafe).
      So you have a traditional powerplant with a whopping great flywheel that helps to keep things on even keel.
      What wind/solar didn't have was a flywheel. Before..
      A battery is a digital flywheel (It isn't really. But why not! It sounds cool. It's a lie).
      You have a battery. You keep it at 80% charge. Too much power generated? Dump it into the battery. Not enough power, then fire up the gas power plant and draw from battery as it spins up.
      Thus you get stability in the grid.
      It doesn't have to be batteries either. Pumped Hydro can also do this. Pump water uphill during peak generation, and let water flow down through turbines during generation slumps.
      Germany have actually started reusing old coal mines for pump hydro. Great big hole in the ground that you can pump water backwards and forwards in. Not a bad idea really.

      Last edited 07/07/17 9:11 pm

        Only one minor flaw with your argument, the flywheels spin at constant speed equal to 3000RPM divided by the number of pole pairs, as the steam generators use synchronous generators, they do have a lot of reserve power in stored steam pressure, so the governor valve only has to crack open a bit more to make more power. What "spinning reserve" means is that the turbines are already spinning, but with minimal steam throughput, and every thing is warmed up.
        Most modern wind turbines use doubly fed induction generators, so they can actually be used as flywheels, as the power can be extracted over a wide range of speeds. So modern wind generators can, and do, provide active and reactive support to the grid.

      The grid has to be in perfect balance all the time. not just supply pretty much exactly meeting demand, but frequency too. This is what caused issues in the SA blackout (along with transmission lines falling over), Solar and especially wind have very unpredictable output compared to conventional generators (a solar farm has recently gone as far as installing cloud detecting cameras so they can get a prediction minuets in advance of supply, which even that apparently helps). When the storm came through, some of the wind turbines failed to shut down and actually over generated to the point it overloaded the grid.

      This grid balancing, and the difficulty that the volatility of wind and solar add, is one of the key issues with transitioning our grid to cleaner energy.

      Batteries have the useful ability to both charge and discharge at an instant. One of their primary purposes will be to act as a buffer, smoothing out the volatility of renewables and thus helping to solve this problem. It will also be used to supply during a shortfall for the period from when a shortfall occurs, until a backup generator (like the government owned gas one that they are planning on building) comes online and takes over, it will also buy them time to figure out if firing up the backup generators (which has high fixed costs) is necessary. I'm not sure how long it takes a gas generator to come online, but I believe its a matter of minutes, not a whole day. So the 4000 homes for a day statement has nothing to do with what the batteries will actually be used for.

      Furthermore it is clear that the current way the grid is *run* is also a major problem. privatisation has been a massive fail for energy supply, driving up costs as well as reducing security (for example, when a blackout happened in SA because a private power plant refused to supply more generation because it was more profitable for them to reap the extreme prices for the current supply they were giving at the time - if they had supplied more generation to actually prevent the blackout, they would have ended up with less money overall).

      But that's beside the point at hand.

      unless you work in the energy supply industry, it is very difficult to present an analogy that a layman can grasp regarding black/brown out capacity .. one analogy could be comparing the output available from the battery in your petrol powered car to the power output of the petrol engine.. Elons battery is like your starter battery and the petrol engine is the energy usually available from the grid.. you don't need a starter battery so large that it can propel the vehicle on its own indefinitely.. you just need it to have the capacity to run the control systems while the main engine is off ... and to restart the engine when required .. an alternative analogy would be the petrol engine in an electric hybrid doesn't have to be able to power the vehicle on its own .. the real problem with the Australian grid is not the system capacity is the fact that the assets have been sold off by corrupt politicians to mates that don't have continuity of supply to Aussies as their prime objective.. it will ultimately go the way of the oil industry .. availability & price will decided by the cartel


    And, for a change, instead of a brain drain Australia will be getting a brain boost.


      The total dollar cost of the installation has not been disclosed

      Why? Because you can bet it's stupidly expensive and is a tiny piece of the puzzle. Gives the premier something to beat his chest about though.

        Maybe we should have a new coal power station, just so long as it's not built next door to you?

          i wouldn't mind if it was a clean coal plant

            ...or a Perpetual Motion Unicorn Treadmill...

        You're like a greengrocer that knows the cost of everything and the value of nothing.

          LOL! a greengrocer. I've been called many things, but never a greengrocer....that's gold.

          Please, enlighten us all on the value that I apparently know nothing about.

          So far I've heard, helping with the once-in-50-year blackouts, less brownouts, stabilising the output of fluctuating renewables, are these things a serious chuck of SA's problems? I'm seriously trying to understand the value!

          One thing I do know, is that a bloke worth $16BillionUS doesn't make his way all the way to lil ole South Australia and tell us that we rock for pocket change

            The solution announced in SA today is a much greater value for money solution than continued operation of any coal fired Power Stations. If the Federal Government wanted to do something useful, they should regulate gas on the East Coast of Australia just as it is regulated in WA. That way SA's 2.3GWatts of Gas Fired Power Stations could be used at a price far cheaper than any coal fired options.

              this is poor value with batteries initial high costs, 7-10 year life and degrading capacity from the start, and an environmental nightmare at the end of the batteries life.

                What "environmental nightmare"? Or are you FINALLY conceding the results of burning billions of tons of fossil fuels?

            Can you guys get it clear which of the filthy rich bastards you hate and which you love. Musk seems to be on the love side. Apart from PayPal, Musk made most of his money from government hand outs from Obama. His cars have hardly made a cracker, I wonder if he will survive and get more billions in hand outs from Trump. Hope not the guys a user, still there are few left wingers who care about spending government money.

        Commercial in confidence is a pretty standard in all business. More so when you are talking about novel or emerging technologies.

      How will it keep the lights on all day when it's a one hour system? What happens when it goes into thermal runaway and burns? Finally what is the lifetime cost of energy from this system and how would that compare with a vanadium redox flow battery? Also
      Note there is an 800MwHr vanadium redox flow battery currently being installed in China. Li ion is great for mobility apps but The safety, lifetime cost and performance of these systems for grid level
      Apps is inferior to vanadium flow battery technology

    Considering its limitations, I wonder how reliable this new technology is and how expensive it is to repair.

      Considering the complexity, similar to the cars, a lot simpler and more reliable than combusting fossil fuels.

      I guess we'll find out in 7-10 years when the batteries reach end-of-life.

        7-10 year time frame is for electric cars and more than likely an out of date figure by now. This kind of battery storage will more than likely last much longer than 10 years and there are already talks of batteries that will last as long as 25 years and again this is for electric cars. So even if they need replacing in 10 years they will be replaced with longer lasting and cheaper batteries and the cost or replacement will be significant less than the initial installation cost.

          know of any w8650 packed laptop batteries that've ever lasted 7 years?

            A battery that has lasted 7 years would be at the very least 7 year old battery. Battery technology has advance significantly in the last 7+ years to such an extent that some batteries in modern laptops aren't even removable meaning they are designed to last the lifetime of the laptop. The first Tesla Model S' were released in June 22, 2012 that was 5 years ago and there has been no major news stories about the batteries in these cars coming to a usable end in 2 years. Tesla cars even have a 8 years/unlimited miles battery warranty and Tesla has said that even when they come to usable end in cars they could be recycled for home storage. The Batteries that are going into the Model 3 are a newer generation of battery than what is in the Model S and X with larger capacity and longevity and they are the same batteries that are already going into Powerwall 2 and more than likely into South Australia power storage system. The technology is continually improving with greater capacity, greater longevity and faster charge times and as I said there are already projections for batteries that will last for up to 25 years. Just because your old laptop battery only lasted for a few years it doesn't mean that the batteries that Tesla are using in there cars, Powerwalls and large scale storage facilities aren't significantly more advanced and have significantly greater longevity. Though longevity is more related to use than age. Higher usage will create a shorter life expectancy. Having 8 years/unlimited miles battery warranty show the amount of confidence Tesla has in there batteries and a facility like the one in South Australia might continue to use old batteries well past what a normal car or Powerwall would simply because they could simply install additional batteries to make up the short fall of older batteries and only replace the older batteries when they truly need replacement which could be 15 or 20 years down the track (only time will tell).

              Aside from new proposed casing and sizes, the Lithium Ion and LiPo batteries today are the same as those 7 years ago chemistry-wise.

              Here's my thinking - how long is a car designed to last now? Component wise, I read from the automotive paint manufacturers that automotive paints on cars are designed to last 5 years. They can easily make paints that last longer, but 5 years is the requirement. That annoyed me when I discovered that..

              Another thing re Lithium Ion is, turns out as far as recycling goes it's not quite what people think - most of the lithium it's self goes into cement manufacture with the casings and copper wire being the recycled bit. "According to its website, Tesla currently re-uses about ten percent of each battery – mostly the casing and electrical components. Then the company works with a partner—California-based Kinsbursky Brothers–to recycle metals like cobalt and nickel. They manage to divert some lithium waste to the construction industry where it’s used in cement, but so far no one is turning old lithium-ion batteries into new ones."

              Lithium is already expensive to manufacture from ore and apparently 5x more to recycle, it's also hard to get and extremely energy intense in refining the metal. Just a few pointers worth remembering down the track.

                There have definitely been advancements in the longevity of batteries as illustrated by the fact that many devices today no longer have removable batteries and as preciously mentioned there are talks of batteries that will last up to 25 years. Saying the that the chemistry in batteries hasn't changed over recent years is an obvious fallacy used by those with ulterior motives. The basics are the same but that is it.

                At the end of the day it really comes down to usage and if batteries have a higher capacity then they will last for a longer period of time. Also a battery in a vehicle that is being drained to almost zero and then recharged might not last as long as a battery in a a large scale facility which might spent most of it's life hovering around 90% charge. And even if batteries might viable in a car util the usable storage drops below 70% in a large scale facility they might keep using batteries until they drop below 50%.

                As far as longevity of electric cars go, Tesla's lofty goals are to eventually have an electric motor that will last for 1 million miles, a battery that will have 25 year warranty and get charge times down to below 5 min.

                Last edited 10/07/17 11:21 am

          talk is cheap and doesn't reflect reality. Yes current battery life is in the 7-10 years, but that is dependant upon useage. Battery technology is evolving, but I bet you that they installed batteries are of the older variety, not state-of-the-art

        In that time they’ll probably have better batteries making the system obsolete.

          'better' is a very subjective term. What's the best car? damn limbo is crap at carrying cement to job sites..

          Edison nickel iron's are fantastic, resistant to discharge abuse, rough charging and live for many many decades. They're also huge and heavy and intolerant of high density charging. Lithium has great current density but begin degenerating from the day of manufacture and can output massive current which can be a downside (I've heard it cited one 18650 has the same energy as a handgrenade). Other battery techs are in the pipe but as always the energy stored can only be a product of chemical energy limitations. 57Mj per liter - that's a lot of energy.. and the reason internal combustion overtook electric back at the dawn of automotive history.

        These aren't mobile phone batteries. Will last 15-20 years.

    I think this is a great step in the right direction. That said, I'm a little disappointed there are no Australian companies that are capable of doing this. IT seems all too often, we're turning to French companies to develop and build our new cutting edge infrastructure. We should be the ones getting called all around the world to build this infrastructure. I should be reading about new developments in other countries, relying on the expertise of Australian companies. Until we can get to that stage, we'll never fully get over our addiction to fossil fuel mining and crude manufacturing.

      Yeah no, No Australian companies will bother investing in such a thing when you have a current federal government like ours that can continually cut funding to the renewable sector and has a huge boner for coal.

      to be fair, there's not a whole lot of companies other than Tesla that are willing and capable. BP could probably do it. but why would they when they also have a stake in the oil and gas production?

      Actually a little known Aussie company based in WA called Carnegie Clean Energy in collaboration with Lend Lease (Another Aussie company ) put in a tender for the project.

      The suggestion that Aussies do not have expertise to do this is false. Just that the SA government elected to go with Tesla. Regardless still a bit disappointed that no Aussie company got to be involved.

        I worked for this guy ages back, he's brilliant and very hands on. not bad for a kid who left school at 16 and ended up owning many gold mines and oil wells. He's also a very (hate using the term) out of the box compulsive problem solver. As to blaming 'this' government, get realistic.. he sought aid from the other guys too but was told yeah no so he went it alone with $ from his own pocket. As with my own attempt to seek development grants, unless you're in mainstream production (solar, wind) or a big name elsewhere in the world, don't bother asking. My own developments are out of my own pocket too.. but way behind Alan's

        True enough, Carnegie bought EMC (another Australian company), who are in the business of supplying remote area power systems, and could have supplied the battery system to SA.
        Yet another smack in the face for Australian manufacturers.

      There are Aussie companies that could do it (ecoult, heliostat SA, etc). But they don't have legions of groupies like Elon does.

    Wouldnt it be better to subsidise the cost of a powerwall 2 for homes with/wanting solar?

    - Same overall storage capacity/output power
    - Infinitely expandable
    - No maintenance/repairs costs
    - No battery sitting there at 100% capacity doing nothing 95% of the time

      Eventually this will be how the power system works, however the system as it stands today isn't designed to have thousands of small generators everywhere. As this technology becomes more common and cheaper eventually the grid will be able to self balance itself with home batteries.

      Because the grid is still an integral part of power for the whole state, and investing in a few people to take up batteries at the expense of the rest isn’t overly beneficial. Not everything can run off a Powerwall and the state has to consider more than just households. Stabilising the grid that reaches far and wide is much more beneficial.

    This is another great initiative that will assist in the balancing of power requirements as move away from expensive fossil fuels. Also lithium batteries can be recycled to make other lithium batteries.

    While fossil fuels are cheap up front their long term costs far out weight wind, solar, geothermal or tidal.

    The Tesla Powerpack2 comes in cabinets that supply 210kWh of stored power, delivered at a peak of 50kW according to its datasheets. How do you build a 100MW system using these cabinets and only provide 129MWh of storage?
    Something doesn't quite add up in the numbers being quoted.

      Easy, you buy enough to deliver the 100MW but you specify that only ~25% of the batteries are fitted.

      Or you ask for a variant with higher rated inverters, or you bolt multiple inverters on to each battery unit, etc.

      When you buy 2 000 units of something like this, you don't have to stick with the configuration in the sales brochure.

        If you don't fit the full complement of batteries, its likely you won't be able to get the peak output out of the system. If you can underpopulate the cabinets, then you will be paying for 4 times as many cabinets as necessary, blowing out the price.
        Changing the inverter or adding inverters to a system that is supposed to be delivered in 100 days into an environment where the temperature can already exceed the operational temperatures of the Powerpack would seem to be a rather risky plan.

    the state with the most expensive power just got cheaper.....just kidding

    Another thing that people forget is that Li-ion batteries suffer from relatively large amounts of irreversible capacity fading with every cycle and with storage time. It's no illusion that an old phone dies quicker than when you first got it; after about a year you can expect 12-25% peak capacity loss. It is for this reason, and the risk of fire/explosion, that Li-ion batteries are rated for 3 years tops.

    This is a very temporary, partial solution to something that never should have been a problem in the first place.

    Tesla are getting in bed with governments and the stench of green cronyism and corporate welfare is hard to ignore. Everywhere Tesla go they end up getting fat subsidies to prop up their business model and they somehow manage to keep this clean reputation of an innovator when really they are scam artists.

    Tesla are probably milking the South Australian government dry and on this deal and taxpayers are none the wiser.

    found this bit of research which suggests that we are in for loads of maintenance with this battery solution.
    Temperature is an important factor that affects the health and safe operation of LiBs. In this study, we developed a non-destructive in-situ approach through ECBE model to detect and characterize the effect of temperature on cycling aging rate in LiB when it is operating in the temperature range of 25 to 55 °C. The performance degradation rate of each component inside the LiB due to cycling aging at different temperatures was determined.

    From our analysis, we can see that increasing the operating temperature increases the degradation rates of all components in the LiB which include maximum charge storage capacity, the effectiveness of the LCO electrode in storing Li-ions, charge transfer rate constant, effectiveness of the graphite electrode in providing its stored Li-ions, total resistance of electrode resistance and electrode/electrolyte resistance, Warburg element resistance, Warburg element capacitance and Warburg RC time constant. The increase in the degradation rates of the Warburg element and cell impedance are particularly sensitive to the operating temperature. We also showed that the increase in the degradation rate of irreversible capacity loss of LiB (i.e. SoH) with temperature is due mainly to the formation and modification of the surface films on the electrode and to the structural/phase changes of the LCO electrode.

    As low temperature operation below 25 °C can also be important, investigation on the low temperature on the aging rate could also shed light on the good design of LiB for low temperature operation. However, due to the unavailability of the test facility, such work can only be performed as future work.

    ECBE model is capable of comprehensively identify the various aging causes through in-situ real time characterization. With this information given to battery management system, online monitor the current health status of battery is possible, and one can then reduce the battery loads, namely the voltage, current and temperature according to its health, preventing it from overloading, and ensuring the safety and extend the life of a battery pack."
    that research article can be found at

    Why not use all this battery power and harness it into a laser for targeting any ICBM's coming our way?

    I'm guessing a laser is the only thing fast enough to target and heat up a missile travelling at that speed causing it to blowup in the sky rather than on the land.

    death star anyone? lol

    But seriously, is this not a stupid idea or what?

    waste of money on a problem that wouldn't exist with cheap coal powered energy which 31,000+ scientists have signed a petition to say CO2 has next to no effect on the climate and more than likely if it does it is a good thing (i.e. plant food).

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