Less than a month ago, Tesla Inc. showed the new battery backup power system based in Australia, making it the world’s largest lithium-ion battery, and it’s already being put to the test.
So far, it seems to be exceeding the many expectations of those watching. In the last three weeks, Hornsdale Power Reserve has taken care of two major energy outages using the battery. They were able to respond more quickly than if they had been using coal backups for emergency power.
Last week, Tesla’s power battery kicked in 0.14 seconds after one of Australia’s biggest power plants, the Loy Yang facility, in the neighboring state of Victoria suffered an unexpected drop in output, according to the International Business Times. A week before, Loy Yang suffered another failure which prompted the Hornsdale battery to respond in less than 4 seconds. State officials have reported that this is a record.
The effectiveness of Tesla’s battery is being watched in a region that is close to having an energy crisis. Electricity prices are rising largely in Australia, specifically South Australia. In 2016, an outage led to a complete blackout for 1.6 million residents left without power. Storms and heat waves were also contributors and caused additional outages. Many Australians are preparing for this to happen again in the Summer.
The Hornsdale battery system can be found in all of Tesla’s electric car models. This has become a big project for Tesla executive, Elon Musk.
Back in March, Musk announced on Twitter that he had plans to put in place a battery system for South Australia to help with the struggling grid within 100 days (or it will be free). Musk is known for setting high goals like this and sometimes meeting them. By early July, the state signed a deal with California-based Tesla and the French-based energy company, Neon, to produce the battery. By Dec. 1, South Australia announced that they were officially switched on to the Hornsdale battery.
Hornsdale is powered mainly by wind energy from a nearby wind farm, and the battery holds excess energy when the electricity demand is not peaking. The battery can power up to 30,000 homes for short periods of time. This means that the battery still relies on traditional power plants for its energy as well as wind energy.
Hornsdale has proved that it can keep the grid stabilized. More importantly, this project also shows that Tesla can ease into the problem of when the winds are not blowing and the sun is not shining.