- On Wednesday, Australia turned on its largest battery, powered by Tesla Megapacks, in the hopes of avoiding blackouts and increasing the use of renewable energy.
- A fire broke out at the Victoria Big Battery in July, affecting two Tesla Megapacks.
Beginning of Operations in Australian State
On Wednesday, world’s largest battery-based energy storage systems by Tesla’s utility-scale Megapack batteries went live in the Australian state of Victoria.
Large lithium-ion battery-based energy storage systems have the potential to prevent blackouts and allow utilities to store and use more energy generated by renewable but intermittent sources. Solar and wind are two examples.
The facility was designed and built by Paris-based renewable energy company Neoen in collaboration with partners Tesla Energy and AusNet, with some assistance from Cimic Group‘s UGL. According to the project’s website, it has enough capacity to power one million homes for half an hour.
“The Victorian Big Battery is here,” Australia’s Minister for Energy, Environment, and Climate Change Lily D’Ambrosio tweeted on Wednesday. It’s the largest battery in the southern hemisphere, keeping our energy supply safe during hot days. It lowers electricity prices while also supporting our massive renewable energy build. Victoria, you should be proud of yourself.”
According to a report in the Australian daily newspaper The Age, she also stated that 80 percent of the system’s capacity will be reserved for times when Victoria’s power supply is stressed. In such cases, the large battery should be able to power over 650,000 homes for an hour.
While that may not seem like a long time, even a small reserve of backup power can make a significant difference in the lives of a large population.
The use of Generators
Following a failure, grid operators typically use generators to supply electricity to power plants for “black starts.” It will assist them in resuming their operations and continuing to supply power to homes and businesses.
Having an energy reserve in a massive lithium-ion battery-based energy storage system can keep the lights on in homes and businesses while grid operators deal with issues at the plant. Energy storage systems can also be used as black start resources.
A fire damaged two of the Tesla Megapacks that power the Big Battery before it was turned on in July 2021. There were no reported injuries, but the fire triggered a toxic air alert in the surrounding neighborhoods.
Following that, Neoen stated that Tesla took “mitigating actions” based on a joint root cause analysis. Tesla, for example, made changes to its Megapack firmware and monitoring systems at the site, according to Neoen at the time.
In recent years, Tesla’s energy division has not been a profit generator for the company. Executives, on the other hand, reported increased demand for the company’s energy storage products. During the company’s third-quarter earnings call, the Powerwall for homes, Powerpack for commercial facilities, and utility-scale Megapacks were all mentioned.