Friday, October 05, 2018 by David Williams
Elon Musk, CEO of the world’s biggest electric car company — Tesla — has made some pretty bold statements over the years. But no matter what you think of him, there’s no denying the fact that he has also, quite successfully, finished installing some similarly bold, large-scale inventions as well. This includes the 100 MW / 129 MWh Powerpack project that he has put up in South Australia. Many were skeptical in the performance of what is currently the largest so-called powerpack in the world, but for now, it’s quite clear that it’s something that can deliver the goods that were promised before its installation.
Since it started its operations, the South Australian powerpack has demonstrated its capacity and so far performs adequately for the needs of Neoen, which operates it as part of a nearby wind farm — Tesla merely built and installed everything. As of this writing, the specifics of the setup mean that Neoen has access to around 30 MW / 90 MWh of the total capacity and they can trade it in the wholesale market, while the Australian government has access to the rest of the amount to stabilize the grid. In a surprise test of its capabilities, the Tesla powerpack managed to show that it can react in just milliseconds after coal plants unexpectedly crashed. Other than that, however, Neoen has started to benefit from the powerpack in other, more productive ways.
For instance, a report on its performance so far states that Neoen is now making full use of the powerpack’s capacity just because of the current volatility of the Australian energy market and the warm temperatures. Simply by being in operation — which means just working as it is intended, and quickly switching from charging to discharging in less than a second, which means adapting quickly to what is said to be large swings in energy prices — the power pack can not only serve electricity but also generate money. According to a report, the large battery installation has already been “paid up to $1000/MWh to charge itself,” to the point that could have already cleared up to $1 million in just a matter of days.
It’s shocking and quite unprecedented. As the report states, one might need to consult price charts to fully appreciate what has happened with the power pack and its energy savings. “Another view of this data is presented below,” according to a line in the report, “showing the actual price achieved during the buying (charging) and selling (generation).” It may have just taken the powerpack a whole two days to generate around $1 million, the report said.
Based on the numbers that have been shared so far, it is reported that the Tesla Powerpack system has enabled Neoen to sell its generated electricity at up to AUD 14,000 per MWh, and at the same time, it’s able to charge itself at almost no cost at all during times of overproduction. If you thought that wind energy was already cheap enough, well, it just became not only cheaper but overall more lucrative thanks to the Tesla powerpack innovation. It may be a long while before the Tesla powerpack project becomes available in other locations, but with promising results such as what it has shown in South Australia so far, there’s plenty of reasons to look forward to it.
Read more about electricity-related innovation at Power.news.