Tesla saves Australia millions with world's largest battery

JAMESTOWN, AUSTRALIA — The world's largest lithium-ion battery may have cost a pretty penny, but it's already exceeding expectations in just its first year of operation.

The Guardian reports that the Hornsdale Power Reserve consists of a 100-megawatt, lithium-ion battery built by Tesla and paired with the Hornsdale Wind Farm near Jamestown in South Australia.

The battery is comprised of several hundred PowerPack towers which store renewable energy generated by the wind turbines. It can power 30,000 homes during peak usage hours as well as provide back-up power if there is a shortfall.

Consultancy firm Aurecon evaluated the reserve and found that since its December 2017 launch, it has helped stabilize the grid, avoid outages, and reduce costs by almost $28.9 million.

The battery is estimated to have cost about $65 million, according to News.com.au, but it not might be long before it pretty much pays for itself.

According to the government of South Australia, Tesla has also been working to build a giant virtual power plant in the region, aiming to install rooftop solar panel systems and Powerwall-2 batteries in 50,000 homes over the next four years.

According to Electrek, the first 100 Powerwalls were deployed in July, and will soon be expanding to 1,000 homes as part of the second phase.

The equipment will generate power and provide electricity for each home, while collectively forming a virtual power plant with a 250-megawatt capacity. Any excess energy feeds into the main power grid, to be used to supply electricity to other homes, or during an emergency.

Looks like South Australians are in for some electrifying new developments.