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

Image: Tesla

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.

Dr Christopher Jones, National Secretary of the Australian Electric Vehicle Association

The awarding of a 129 MWh battery contract to Tesla is big news for South Australia, as it will be able to instantly provide power to the grid when needed, as well as taking out any fluctuations in generating capacity from surrounding wind farms and PV installations. The battery will supply close to 10 per cent of the state's energy needs for almost an hour.

It might seem like a drop in the energy demand ocean, but it's the first of many drops. Storage has long been the missing link for renewable energy, and coupled with developments such as pumped hydro in the Snowy Mountains scheme, will make a significant contribution to Australia's greenhouse gas reduction commitments.

Professor Peter Murphy, David Klingberg Chair in Energy and Advanced Manufacturing at the University of South Australia's Future Industries Institute

It is fabulous news for the state of SA because the Tesla battery is exactly the type of technology we need to complement our existing renewable energy generating capacity.

This is indeed an insight into the future of energy.

Having an exemplar of this technology in SA may enable and foster local innovation, research and ultimately manufacturing of advanced technologies such as these by industry in SA.

Professor Hugh Saddler, Honorary Associate Professor of the Crawford School of Public Policy at Australian National University

The battery installation will make an important contribution to increasing the security and reliability of electricity supply in South Australia. It should also help to keep a lid on wholesale electricity prices, by making it more difficult for gas generators in the state to drive prices up to extreme levels by what is called strategic re-bidding behaviour.

Frequent, very short lived extreme price spikes are a major cause of the super high average wholesale prices, for which all South Australian electricity consumers are now paying.

The project is indirectly underwritten by electricity consumers in the ACT, who are paying for all the output of the Hornsdale windfarm, as part of the ACT's move to 100 per cent renewably sourced electricity by 2020. In that sense, it represents a partnership between the governments of South Australia and the ACT.

Dr Geoff James, Research Principal at he Institute for Sustainable Futures, University of Technology Sydney

The Tesla 100 MW battery is of world significance both because of its size and its impact. The urgent need to keep South Australia's grid frequency stable was demonstrated by the September blackout. The Tesla battery is an important part of the solution and is available quickly enough to provide support during the coming summer.

Co–locating the battery with a wind farm highlights another key characteristic of battery energy storage: its value is being able to do multiple things at once, and to do them quickly. The Tesla battery farm, like a modern Stonehenge aligned with the surrounding turbines, will shift wind energy production to make it more dispatchable and therefore more profitable.

At the same time, its high power capacity will be available in quick bursts to keep frequency in the right range. In just the same way, batteries at residential and commercial premises can support both the owner and the grid, and it won’t be very long before South Australia can aggregate another 100 MW of battery capacity in this way.

David Dawson, Economics Leader for Victoria and South Australia at Arup

Further integration of renewables into the Australian national electricity mix will require the deployment of both large-scale and distributed electricity storage. In particular, continued connection of wind and solar photovoltaic farms at grid scale greater than around 100MW will require addition of electricity storage technologies of comparable size to stabilise the intermittency of generation resulting from these renewable technologies.

The most potent application of storage technology to help stabilise the grid of the future will see the deployment of battery technologies (eg. Li-ion, flow) providing fast frequency response over short time intervals in the order of seconds to minutes, alongside pumped hydro energy storage technologies, which can respond within minutes and deliver significant power output over periods up to between six to eight hours, once battery technologies tail off delivery and need re-charging.

The combination of fast-response high-cost Li-ion battery technology with hour-long lower-cost PHES technology will be a potent combination which will allow the Australian electricity market operator and ElectraNET to better manage the stability and reliability of the South Australian grid.

It's a combination of different storage technologies which will help integrate more renewables into the Australian grid.

Arup is working with Consortium members, EnergyAustralia and Melbourne Energy Institute of the University of Melbourne, on a seawater PHES project, under joint funding with ARENA.

Ian Lowe, Emeritus professor of science, technology and society at Griffith University, Qld and former President of the Australian Conservation Foundation

Cost-effective storage of electrical energy is the only problem holding us back from getting all of our power from wind and solar. This project is a significant innovation to demonstrate the feasibility of large-scale storage. It will not, by itself, enable South Australia to have reliable energy just from wind and solar, but it is an important step forward.

Dr Ariel Liebman, Deputy Director of the Monash Energy Materials and Systems Institute at Monash University

The announcement about the Neoen and Tesla investment in a 100MW/129MWh battery adjacent to the Hornsdale wind-farm in South Australia is groundbreaking and clearly foreshadows the shape of the Australian energy future. I welcome this exciting announcement which will be remembered as the first large scale proof-of-concept on the National Energy Market transformation path.

However, we shouldn't get too complacent because there are still significant challenges in turning this kind of activity into business-as-usual. We still don’t have a National Planning Framework, as pointed out by last month's Finkel Review. We need a new paradigm in system planning, where we are able to make efficient investment decisions in a nationally coordinated fashion over at least a 20-30 year horizon.

These are decisions regarding where we should build batteries, versus off-river pumped hydro storage, as well as where and how much additional transmission capacity we should build. This requires an expansion of AEMO/AER's RIT-T and SENE transmission cost-benefit assessment processes to include cross-state investment that will take place over the next 20-30 years, as we will be connecting unprecedented quantities of new wind and solar farms often far from existing grid locations.

Failing to take such a national approach will likely result in billions of dollars of stranded assets as different technologies unexpectedly emerge as competitive at various locations at different points in the future. The current NEM market design cannot efficiently incentivise investment over the required horizons.

We are working on the analysis and design of such a framework at MEMSI at Monash University and I’m looking forward to modelling the impacts of this announcement and supporting Australia's enhanced planning and policy making needs.

Professor Sankar Bhattacharya, Acting Head of the Department of Chemical Engineering at Monash University

This is a substantial development in the deployment of battery technology; its operation will shed light on the techno-economics and identify opportunities for improvements as the batteries are scaled up in the near future.

All The Details On Tesla's Giant Australian Battery

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.

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    Though this is very expensive, this is the most wonderful step forward, let this be the model that each state government follows into the future.
    Let us put an end to our the stupid fossil fuel dependence.
    Let us use Wind, Tidal & Solar for generation with battery & kinetic for storage.
    Let us mandate battery and green systems for all new apartment developments and all new homes. Let us all generate energy and stop carbon generation now.

      This is arguably the stupidest idea we've seen in SA and there have been many - complete waste of money on a problem that wouldn't created by a problem (i.e. man made global warming myth) that doesn't exist.

        Hard to believe. You're from SA aren't you?

        Ok, so take global warming out of the equation. If you doubt it, I'm happy to not include it in a discussion about power.

        Do you accept that fossil fuels are a finite resource? If so, what do we do when it's more expensive to rip out of the ground and burn to make electricity than it is to use renewables? What do we do when the black stuff runs out?

        There's a common future for all of us here. Our agreement with science and statistics that we may or may not understand does not change the reality of that future. And that reality does not include fossil fuels, whether we burn it or leave it burried.

    This article seems to be clearly in favour of the BFB, but I would like to point out that the quoted statements are all from intelligent, highly educated people with expertise in the field, and the article is therefore blatantly biased. Where are the counter-balancing objections from those who are free of such constraints, such as Joe 'Don Quixote' Hockey, or the perenially entertaining fly-swatting Barnaby Joyce?

      Theres no doubting they are intelligent, but when you are paid as a professional to believe in a hypothesis then its amazing how dumb your reasoning processes become.

      Would any of these institutions continue to receive funding if they were out there advocating clean coal, nuclear or gas as the most promising source of energy today ?

        If they were out there advocating clean coal, nuclear or gas, then they would be definition not be intelligent. The first and third options have around 50-60% the emissions of existing coal-fired stations. We need to bring in energy generation with zero emissions to get anywhere near our overall goals. Nuclear - it's already more expensive than renewables. In 10-15 years time when a plant commissioned now could realistically come online, renewables will be a fraction of the cost. It may have made economic sense a few decades ago but at this point in history, nuclear makes no economic sense whatsoever.

          What goals are those?
          My goal would be to keep a steady and reliable cost effective power source for the base load.

          How do you know that renewables will be cheaper in the future ? Maybe you make the same predictions about commodities, foreign currencies or other assets but the idea that renewables get cheaper as demand increases goes against the basic laws of supply and demand.

          Gas may be an old technology but new innovations in mining and extraction have increased the output and efficiency heaps whilst driving down costs.

            "My goal would be to keep a steady and reliable cost effective power source for the base load"

            There are 3 stated goals in the Finkel report: energy security, low cost and environmentally sustainability. 2 out of 3 ain't bad, but the third one is very important and you've ignored it.

            "How do you know that renewables will be cheaper in the future ?

            Because it's been decreasing at an incredible rate every year, for several years. There's a massive amount of research and industry around development of more sophisticated renewables, and the scientific progress has been staggering. We've only seen the tip of the iceberg so far; there are heaps of optimisations still in the pipeline.

            "the idea that renewables get cheaper as demand increases goes against the basic laws of supply and demand"

            Economies of scale, combined with a highly competitive marketplace and well-funded R&D, are easily overcoming the supply-side issues at present. This used to be a niche market with a small customer base, but it's a huge growth industry these days.

            "new innovations in mining and extraction have increased the output and efficiency heaps whilst driving down costs"

            Great theory, but have you seen the gas price lately? It's going through the roof! Unless the Federal Government has a major intervention in the gas market, gas generation is quickly pricing itself out of the market - especially while the cost of renewables and battery storage are dropping so quickly.

          Dazweeja, you may wish to update your definition of intelligence. In South Korea, nuclear power may be cheaper than coal.

          Refer: http://www.world-nuclear.org/information-library/country-profiles/countries-o-s/south-korea.aspx

          Not that Australia is South Korea, but we don't have any Australian nuclear pricing to compare to. Our first nuclear build will be expensive, sure. Obviously we've shunted the industry by making it a Federal law against generation nuclear power, so there's that to overcome before we can gear up for a competitive nuclear industry. You'd also need to provide the same financial hand-outs to compete with renewables.

          That said, I agree that if Australia were to build a nuclear power plant, it'll be more expensive than wind. But I don't agree that anyone is not intelligent for thinking or talking about it. You may not recall, but wind and solar were incredibly expensive once too. Until the government handouts began, then the big investors kicked in, and then the Australian renewables economy boomed. Let's not pretend that this didn't happen without Government hand outs and incentive schemes.

          Intelligence to me, as I see it, is allowing oneself to be open minded to all forms of technology, using all technologies to suit geographical constraints and locations of demand, and in the timeframe required to mitigate global warming. This obviously isn't just limited to Australia, but the entire world, including the 1 billion currently without any electricity but who deserve electricity. It's fine for them to burn coal and diesel for their first affordable electricity. But it would defeat the purpose of Australia being 100% renewable, if we start getting all smug and calling other's 'not intelligent' who have access to the internet to defend themselves because they can't afford any electricity. I think we need to be thinking larger than Australia alone. We need to think how we can decarbonise not just Australia in the next 20 years, but also the developing nations surrounding us. What large scale cheap bulk energy generation can we offer to build them at a reasonable price in 20 years time once we've conquered Australia's decarbonising?

        Ah it's good to see "strawman" still being used - invent a target and then attack it.

        Why you could/would expect any scientist to advocate for (fictitious) "clean" coal, the billions necessary for "safe" nuclear power, or using gas (when the incumbent gas providers are currently doing their best to screw us all) is not something you bother mentioning.

          I would expect any private utility business that operates in a level playing field and has to make business decisions based on what customers are willing to pay for, would not need subsidies , targets or mandates to tell them which form of energy is required.

          So why not just stop paying billions in green subsidies so we can avoid the kind of Solyndra type scandals and let the market choose the form of electricity that people want ?

          The idea of politicians and 'expert' technocrats whose very funding depends on endorsing one narrow set of ideas, picking the winners and losers, has been proven wrong again and again throughout history and is why a centrally planned economy has never succeeded.

            Do you have any idea how many billions are given to mining companies each year for exploration and development of new coal and gas resources? It's way more than any "green subsidies" - so much for your level playing field.

          All the intelligent, highly educated people with expertise in the field obviously aren't that smart.

          If they were they would be simply making stuff up, like the old "Smoking is Safe Research", for the major Corporations, instead of making do with their lousy University salaries and having to do real science that takes effort.

        FFS you have got to be kidding. Are you seriously suggesting the fossil fuel industry dont spend billion on people advocating for their position?

        they bankroll the whole Federal Coalition!

        I got a really exciting email offering me exciting New Improved Clean Coal© at an unbelievable price, so I ordered heaps, but when the box finally arrived, it was empty and they had charged me double.

        That can't be right! Do you think I should have ordered all my New Improved Clean Coal© from your company jonogm? If so, when can you deliver and how much? And I can't thank you enough for spending all your free time on line for no personal gain, to tell us all about your wonderful products.

      Yes why didn't you allow the usual assortment of Coal lobby, shock jocks, and racists to throw in mindless, opinions without having anything to do with Energy. How refreshing. Well done Gizmodo

        Why didn't they mention the 31,000+ scientists who don't believe CO2 emissions are a problem?

          Reference for that?

            sobrien1234: ...cricket chirp...

              The old "say it with confidence and people will believe" gambit

          Because it's a Battery not an idological symbol.

    Surely experts are the ones worth listening to? Who knows how many 'neutral' folks have been bought off by fossil fuels?

    Existing businesses ALWAYS complain about change, but when it's forced on them, they usually find a solution. e.g. end of slavery, 40 hour week, environmental regulations, etc.

    So let's have a 5-10 year phase out of ALL fossil fuelsf in Australia.

    A tough call? Maybe. Is the planet worth it?

      Why not just start with yourself, instead of imposing your preference on the population ?

      We aren't guinea pigs for you to experiment with.

        I'll fix my atmosphere my way, you fix yours your way.

        Oh wait...

        @jonogm How's that experiment with burning billions of tons of dirty fossil fuel going?

        Still smoking like a chimney, sprinkling asbestos on your burgers and refusing to use seat belts because nobody can fool you?

          never better, standard of living way up, life expectancy up,

            Suppose that has nothing to do with that we actually DID something about the smoking and asbestos, brought in breathalysers and compulsory seat belts and built an extremely expensive health care system that keeps even the fattest stupidest lard-arse on life support for ever?

            BTW What's the life expectancy of the planet and everything on it, now that we are consuming the resources of several planets, and polluting the crap out of the only one we have?

              We didn't bring in compulsory seat belts to make the world safer, you've got it backwards.

              After car manufacturers invented it and found the public demand was there for safety, and it could save thousands of lives and prevent millions of injuries, cars were fitted with them.

              Then the regulators reacted by making them compulsory.

              Thats how the market work, its the opposite of green energy where regulators want to make them compulsory because they can't be as cost-effective on a free market.

                What revisionist nonsense.

                The car manufacturers fought tooth and nail against seat belts, the huge numbers of deaths and injuries they made clear they were trying to prevent, were not good for sales. Only when Governments, under pressure from evil consumer groups, forced them to install seat belts that we got them. The same with evil Greenies forcing manufacturers to remove lead from petrol and cut pollution.

                btw There is still lead in Avgas despite everyone knows what it does to children's (and adult's) brains. Happy to harm when no-one is looking.

                Next you will be claiming the tobacco companies introduced warning labels!

                How appropriate when all your arguments here are straight out of the Tobacco Industry's Baffle with B.S. Song Book.

              4 billion to 5 billion years, give or take.

                You can rename it New Venus from whatever Planet B you'll have fled to where you can count your Coal Miner shill money.

              the planet? it's a rock - it'll continue till it's orbit slows and it falls into the sun..

              Life on the planet? As long as the planets core remains active and generating poles. If/when those fall away, the atmosphere goes soon after a la mars with it's single north pole (mock this or read) We've probably already lost 4-5 atmospheres of pressure with past re-orientations judging by the size of past lifeforms, who knows how many more flips before we loose the lot..

              I do enjoy asking anti-science hippies about what the long term green plan is for preserving Earth lifeforms.. generally met with blank stares or wittering about how once man's gone it'll go on forever or some hand sweeping gesture about oh that's billions of years away..

              Others just say life should die - that's more common. Man should die first, that's even more common (that means you, dear reader). Sad reality is with sub-replacement reproduction levels and folks mistaking population inertia for population growth, a fair few readers will sadly get to see the consequences of collapsing populations in the not too distant future. China will probably go first, Japan will follow, most of the Western world shortly after that.

              Till the end though the planet's core will continue making abiotic petrochemicals, the trillions of tins of coal will continue to slide under the continental shelf and burn along with all the limestone that will sublimate to regenerate the CO2 that keeps life going on the planet and eventually the energy store will be lost for good. Or of course the hundreds of current underground fires that're already consuming coal will just slowly chomp through it. A shame it'll all just be burned for nothing. There's some amazing videos of fires burning across hundreds of feet-thick seams of coal in the North passage that are worth looking at - that's just one of these fires. Spectacular stuff - and the heat is immense.

                What really worries this "anti-science" hippy is that someday I might "loose" the plot and spout rambling tripe in defence of the indefensible, "the trillions of tins of coal" that we obviously need to burn because, ...never mind we just have to!

                Hello Karlos53, you had me intrigued with the reference to mars "with it's single north pole", which seems to violate Gauss' theorem. Your linked article by Emily Lakdawalla revealed the terminological answer to this conundrum.... confusion between geographic and magnetic "north poles". The diagram "Radial component of the magnetic field on Earth and Mars" clearly shows paired N and S MAGNETIC poles of "a strong magnetic field only in the south (bottom)" ie near the GEOGRAPHIC south pole. So Gauss wins, flux from a MAGNETIC N pole must return to a corresponding MAGNETIC S pole or poles, the distribution of which may be quite differen but their SUM is the same.

          So you think pointing out that coal, gas and nuclear are the only viable ways to provide stable base load electricity are the same as saying smoking isn't bad for you ? Talk about hysteria, no wonder your side is losing the public debate.

          Are you still breathing out the same filthy dirty CO2 and polluting our planet ?

          If you think wind and solar are environmentally friendly, you never looked at the rare earth materials and composition of what goes into manufacturing these things. The reason they cost millions more is not because they are green but because they consume more resources.

            That is just made up nonsense, 20 carat jonogm B.S.

            "...because they consume more resources"?

            Just the top 12 coal producers in the world dug up 6.753 billion tonnes of coal last year!

            Coal that got burnt once, to produce double that quantity of CO2 along with mountains of ash and other waste.

            Who knows what insignificant amount of silica, the 2nd most common element in the Earth's crust (oxygen being No 1), went into solar panels which produce power for decades.

            Wind turbines use an equally insignificant amount of mostly metal. The London Array uses 175 turbines to produce 630MW (3.6 MW ea) for decades. Assuming a lifespan similar to the decommissioned Vindeby turbines (26 years), that is the equivalent of 409,968 tonnes of coal*. Coal fired power stations and all the infrastructure of the mines and transport are of course made from engineered resources and have a similar life to the wind turbines. Unfortunately they also consume massive amounts of water and other resources and output enormous mounts of gas and solid waste that wind turbines and solar panels do not.

            *Assuming an optimistic half tonne of coal/MWh. It does not account for all the energy consumed in mining, transport and the running of the coal fired power station which gets ignored by the industry statistics.

            The 409,968 tonnes of coal equivalent is for >each< turbine, multiply that by 175 to get 72 million tonnes of coal for the entire array.

          CO2 is plant food - bumper crops and more food than we can eat. 31,000 scientists also say it is most likely a good thing!!!

          they really need to start teaching rhetoric in schools again

      My only real question is about the longevity of these batteries. I believe they are roughly 10-15 years, so what happens then? Is it another $100m to replace them?

      Either way, that lifespan is just about right to build a policy around. Make that end date a clear point where any change (if any) will go forward. That gives plenty of time to see how it goes, figure out what to do, and build an escape plan for the existing market.

      Something that was pointed out to me not long ago is that there are a lot of people who's livelihood relies around coal, and coal based industry, and most of them aren't in a position to be repurposed to something else.

      What do you do with all the coalminers, their support staff, truck and train drivers, and so on and so on.

        There are very few people in the Dirty Coal Industry (37,800) certainly not enough to scrub all it all "Clean" with nail brushes before it goes up in smoke, gas and ashes and more radioactivity than all the world's nuclear reactors and bombs combined.

        That is a tiny fraction of the workers that are employed for example by just one national treasure, the Great Barrier Reef (645,000), that Dirty Coal Junkies will happily destroy to make a quick buck.

        Arts & Recreation by comparison employees 193,400.

        Of course when the Mining Companies walk away from the mess they have created, there will be many more jobs, all at taxpayers expense trying to clean up their mess.

          Got any sources for those wild claims ? I'd guess the numbers are reversed.

          Mind you, it is probably likely that there aren't millions of jobs 'directly in' coal fired energy production since it is 300 times more efficient than solar and wind in terms of staffing costs per MWH of output.

          Last edited 10/07/17 5:03 pm

            Having a curious and inquisitive mind, and because I like to get my facts right, and because I've noticed just how accurate all your claims have been so far, I went to the Bureau of Stats website.

            Not somewhere you frequent, preferring "guessing", or as it is more accurately known, "Making it all up", ...as you instantly proved, yet again, with another ludicrous claim in your last statement.

            You really don't care if anything is true!

            "Guessing" that you think what comes out of Trump's arsehole is pure sunshine.

        I'm assuming they're non-removable, much like today's mobiles, tablets and laptops, so they'd just chuck this one out and make the govt buy another one. iFixit gives this a 2/10 for repairability...

          The battery is essentially built out of thousands of 2170 cells, those cells are housed in the same container as the Tesla cars use for their batteries and can be swapped out within 15 minutes.

            It was a joke, I thought anyone could've figured that out without resorting to calling me out on my made up lies, but I guess not...

        It would be less as the price is coming down on renewables and as more gigafactories get going, not too mention all the infrastructure would still be in place so would be just replacing batteries as needed. Also tesla recycles the batteries and recovers 70% of the carbon.

          It was a joke, I thought anyone could've figured that out without resorting to calling me out on my made up lies, but I guess not..

            Except that I wasn't replying to your comment lol yours was clearly a joke I was replying to Grunt. Follow the indentations.
            Edit: thought you could have figured that out but I guess not lol

            Last edited 11/07/17 10:50 am

    So nothing on the environmental impact of mining Lithium? Or the environmental cost to produce "the battery". Or the cost to decommission the battery?

    It's a positive move in the right direction, but there still needs to be an objective view on the negative impacts of Lithium battery solution.

      Do a little googling, lithium is plentiful compared to the volumes needed and highly recyclable, with little loss.

        er, obtaining ore may be easy, refining it into the metal is incredibly energy intensive (to do with chemical reactivity)

        as to recycling it's already been stated the costs to recycle the lithium is 5x the production costs from the raw ore, and currently no one fully recycles them - Musks statement is 10% of the components are recycled, that's the casings, copper, some affiliated electronics - but the lithium gets dumped into cement manufacturing.

      You don't really "mine" Lithium anymore. It is a salt. Most production comes from brine pools. They let the water evaporate naturally and then collect the crystalline remains, and with some very basic filtration separate it from the calcium and magnesium that is also left behind.

      Well the new teslas factory runs off renewables and they recycle the batteries and save 70% of the carbon. Musk claims 100 gigafactories could provide enough batteries for the entire world. Renewables producing renewables that's the dream.

    Extraordinary! The concern shown over mining the minor amounts of light and easy to get Lithium that will last 15-20 years, but doesn't get concerned over the billions of tons of coal that gets trucked, shipped, railed enormous distances to be burnt into mountains of ash and world changing vast quantities of green house gases!

    Some people are so thick, nothing seems to penetrate.

      that 'ash' supplies the gypsum companies of the world with cheap plaster - we'll have to reopen all the gypsum mines again - that's already been investigated. The sulfur scrubbed beforehand lies in mountains in Canada (worth looking at those pictures!) and provides us with effectively free sulfur as opposed to having to send so many folks down into volcanoes to gather it as currently happens in some parts of the world. The carbon 'soot' gathered feeds the billions of laser printers across the world - those are a few of the industries that depend on coal - oh, and the millions around the world who pay such low amounts for electricity.

      Yup, there's lots of associated transport costs - and that pretty much tells you how cheap it is, dig hole in ground - free power. Indian's in India have been doing this for thousands of years.. their attitude: beats chopping down trees..

      those increasing greenhouse gasses (whether natural or manmade) have increased plant mass across the world, reduced plant water requirements and has shown a 17% increase in food production- no scientist doubts this at all.

      Not sure how Denmark's getting on with the second most expensive power in the world now SA has overtaken them, I hear they're cutting subsidies and planning on pulling down some of their wind farms. Still, it will be interesting.

      Add a whole bunch of EV vehicles to the roads and we'll need as much as 60% more electricity than we currently supply, And it'll need to be taxed more to cover road taxes lost from fuel .. but it seems we don't need any pilot studies, we apparently need to act now before it's too late. There's been some numbers crunched on how many extra solar panels / wind farms that'll require, it's going to be quite a surprise for some. Best consensus on power store to date seems to be pumped hydro - so in the locations where geology permits such things, prepare for more dams.

        Where do we start unravelling the B.S.?

        Bugger all gypsum comes from coal fired power stations, and the process uses prodigious amounts of water. According to the American Coal Ash Association only 45 percent of all fly ash, bottom ash and boiler slag is reused, which leaves 55% as polluting waste.

        Don't expect Toner Cartridges to consume all the carbon dust emitted by coal burning power stations. A study by the University of Rostock has shown that it is as carcinogenic as asbestos. Miners are only the first to be affected by black lung.

        The tripe about Carbon Dioxide being a "fertiliser" ignores that rising temperatures actually harm the plants that are supposed to absorb it, an impossible ask, which is why we have so much more carbon dioxide in our atmosphere. Not the same. Or less. Talk about a bleedin' obvious lie!

        Coal is cheap to DIG (once) which is why the Dirty Fuel lobby is so desperate to keep doing it. But they scream mercilessly if asked to pay for the damage it does after, because that is where everyone else gets to pay for the consequences.

        The pioneering 11 wind turbines at Vindeby Denmark you are referring to produced over 243GWh of power since they were installed in 1991 (26 years ago). They are being retired because just 7 modern turbines, located further offshore, produce the same amount of power in ONE year alone.

        Denmark has made a choice which seems to have paid off well, clean energy in a clean country. China made the mistake of relying on dirty coal and can barely breath, something they are belatedly trying to fix with a massive expansion of renewable power, in which they now lead the world.

        Electric vehicles are to anti-environmentalists what eCigarettes are to the nicotine addicted, just an excuse to keep making the same mistake. Changing the motor does nothing for congestion or the damage to cities and lives of the inhabitants by freeways.

        Despite everything you just made up, progress is inexorably towards cleaner energy production, despite the rear guard fight put up by those who think they can still make a buck out of the pollution and damage they don't have to pay for. The only question given the mindlessness of reactionaries both here and in the White House, is it going to be enough to limit the damage?

    You can definitely pick the salty South Australians out of this comment thread. As always, "oppose everything because I'm from Adelaide, where everything should stay as it has always been."

      I don't agree, as a younger South Australian I am very much up for change in this state. It may be a factor for older people but things are changing.

    "The battery will supply close to 10 per cent of the state's energy needs for almost an hour"

    It couldnt though. Its capacity is more than an hour running at max output. So theyve got something wrong there.

    Here are some FACTS:
    1. It will power the entire SA for 2.5 minutes
    2. There is no correlation between CO2 and climate change as authorised by 31,000+ scientists of which 9,000+ have PHD's - google it!!
    3. This is a complete waste of tax payers money
    4. The Climate change religion is seeing the biggest transfer of wealth from the poor (via higher energy prices) to the rich (Al Gore and friends) that we will see in our lifetimes

      None of those are facts.

      1) it's got a maximum output of 100Mw and isn't meant to act as a grid scale UPS.

      2) 31,000 people signing an unverified petition think climate change isn't real, the majority of whom indicated they have no background in environmental science.

      3) remains to be seen, you can tout that in December if you like, once the battery is online.

      4) you imply Al Gore and others have somehow increased their wealth off the back of Climate change, but they've remained on pretty much the same net worth adjusted for inflation.

      You're a complete waste of taxpayers money.

      Ok I did google it, all I had to google was '31,000 scientists' to find out you were wrong.



      You are an unwitting fossil fuel industry stooge.

      And the biggest transfer of wealth from the poor to the rich is fossil fuels, that see a few billionaires become even richer, and it is the poor who will pay for it with their lives through drought and famine.

        The Global Warming Petition Project is even worse than that Skeptical Science post says (and as I'm the author of that piece, I can say that with some authority).

        Just having a Bachelor's of Science degree doesn't make one a scientist - having a degree, working in a scientific field, getting your work published in journals, etc. - that's what makes someone a scientist. Instead, the GWPP is a list of doctors, engineers, veterinarians, and other non-scientists who, beyond not being climate experts, also represent a tiny minority of the people who could have signed the GWPP.

        Over 12 million Americans have graduated since 1970 with one of the degrees that the GWPP alleges provides some climate expertise. 31,487 is only 0.25% (one quarter of one percent) of that total. Over 7 million people worked in a field that the GWPP alleges is related to climate in some way. 31,487 is only 0.44% (less than one half of one percent) of that total. And even biasing the criteria as much as possible in favor of the GWPP's signers, the signatures represent a small minority of the US memberships of the American Meteorological Society (5.9%), the American Geophysical Union (7.5%), the American Physical Society (10.5%), the American Chemical Society(4.2%), and the Institute for Electrical and Electronics Engineers (1.4%).(source: http://scholarsandrogues.com/tag/gwpp-bls-doed2015/)

    Why didn't the SA government go straight to Panasonic for this battery instead of Tesla?

    It's great to see such enthusiasm in the conversations around energy. When you dive down into it and consider the bigger picture, we are very young and naive, if not arrogant, when it comes to exploiting mother Earth for our own purpose. A purpose that is either fueled by greed or basic survival.

    It's also amazing to see how much intellect we pour out in trying to understand our existence in order to improve it, although that improvement is somewhat defined by our own civilization. So we create the very problems we are trying to solve, energy being the most significant problem of all.

    We will continue to produce energy using non renewable and renewable sources, but the % of each will be unknown because it will never be released to the public. As long as you believe someone is doing the right thing, every time you turn on the light switch or the heater or air-conditioner, you will be able to justify it. Just remember you are simply justifying it to yourself inside your own reality that exists within your own head.

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