Elon Musk and the Huge Lithium Battery in South Australia
South Australia, the Australian state that relies heavily on wind energy to supply the power grid, faced a number of blackouts following variations in wind speed that makes energy generation inconsistent. Grid operators said that having a 100-megawatt battery could store enough energy to alleviate most of the problems with inconsistent energy generation rates. The battery should be able to sustain 100 megawatts of power and store 129 megawatt hours, enough to power 30,000 homes.
In addition to being a backup in case of inconsistent energy supply, the battery will also help reduce the cost of electricity for consumers. The battery can be charged when there is excess power when cost of production is much lower, and then distribute that energy from the battery when there is less energy available and costs are higher.
Elon Musk won a bid, beating 91 other international contestants, to produce this battery, famously stating that he would built it 100 days or else the battery would be free. This will be the world’s largest lithium ion battery -- three times larger than any existing one, a feat that Musk and Tesla would surely love to have under their belts.
The state has been a leader in renewable energy in Australia and now will be the leader in energy storing battery technology in the world.
There is hope that if this project is successful, it will become a model to other nations who are trying to introduce more renewables into their grid, but are facing challenges, and could even make the traditional electricity grid redundant.