Elon Musk now has exactly 100 days to build the world’s largest battery or he pays for the lot
Elon Musk’s had a busy day.
After announcing his goal to get to Mars by 2022 at the International Astronautical Conference in Adelaide, Australia on Friday, the Tesla founder headed three hours into the South Australian countryside to launch the building of the world’s largest lithium-ion battery installation — and he’s about half done.
If he doesn’t get it done in 100 days, he’s footing the bill, which could be up to $50 million. And now Musk has declared the beginning of the 100 days from Sept. 29, and that they’ll be done by Dec. 1, 2017 (even though he’s kind of had the green light since March). The project is sitting at 50MW of 100MW.
Tesla will get the system installed and working 100 days from contract signature or it is free. That serious enough for you?
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) March 10, 2017
Musk gave a keynote speech at an entirely Powerpack-fuelled launch at the Hornsdale Wind Farm near Jamestown, three hours’ drive from Adelaide on Friday. The event coincided with the signing of an interconnection agreement, now approved by AEMO and just signed by Electranet.
“Talk is cheap, action is difficult,” said Musk at the launch.
Completion of the project, which will allegedly “stabilise the South Australian grid” and supply enough power for over 30,000 homes, (about equal to the amount of homes that lost power during the blackout period in Sept. 2016), is set for December, 1, 2017.
Adelaide engineering firm Consolidated Power Projects (CPP) has been contracted to build the Powerpack, so they’re under equal pressure.
Although the state gets most of its energy from renewables. South Australia’s in dire need of a demand-led, renewable energy solution, after the Sept. 2016 blackout that left residents in the dark.
In March 2017, the State Government announced a plan to create a $150 million fund made to support renewable energy projects. Tesla was selected from over 90 competitive bids to provide the entire energy storage component for Neoen’s Hornsdale Wind Farm.
A Powerpack refresher
Manufactured at the Gigafactory in Nevada, the Powerpack 2, Tesla’s second generation Powerpack system, began shipping to customers in September 2016 — and Australia was one of the first markets to get it.
So, how does the system work? It’s a grid-scale energy storage system, in this instance to be integrated into South Australia’s current set-up. Storing excess energy generated by the Hornsdale Wind Farm, the Powerpack 2 will enable the utility to “firm up renewable generation by reconciling the intermittency of power from these sources and storing excess capacity to dispatch when it’s needed,” according to Tesla.
The Powerpack acts in an on-demand capacity, deploying power within seconds or milliseconds depending on peak requirement — distribution like should allow South Australia to avoid future blackouts. Powerpacks can operate as a buffer when the power output from a large generation source is ramping up or down. Impressively, they also consume no water and don’t require detailed environmental reviews.
Each Powerpack 2, scalable from 200 kWh to 100+ MWh, is matched with a Tesla inverter, which is, according to Tesla, the lowest cost, highest efficiency and highest power density utility-scale inverter on the market.