Tesla is building the world’s largest lithium-ion battery in South Australia, as part of wider renewable energy projects and to stop residents from suffering frequent power blackouts.
The huge-scale project was kickstarted after the region suffered multiple electricity outages and damage to critical infrastructure, last September when a storm hit, and then again in early 2017.
It left 1.7 million residents without electricity in the heat of the summer.
As a result the Australian government had been looking to invest in a sustainable solution to ensure energy security now, and into the future, with at least 100 megawatts of capacity.
Upon completion in December 2017, the system will be big enough to provide power for more than 30,000 homes during peak hours, approximately equal to the amount of homes that lost power during the blackout period.
The SpaceX billionaire told a press conference that the next largest system of this kind is only 30 megawatts large.The BBC reports Musk said: “There is certainly some risk, because this will be largest battery installation in the world by a significant margin.”
The ‘Tesla Powerpack’ will be charged using renewable energy from the Hornsdale Wind Farm and then deliver this electricity to homes and businesses.
The same technology that can help stabilize the South Australian grid can also be used by homeowners to collect energy during the day so it is stored and made available day and night, providing uninterrupted power even if the grid goes down.
Musk also confirmed a much-publicised promise to build it within 100 days or do it for free.
In a statement, Tesla said: “Tesla is proud to be part of South Australia’s renewable energy future, and we expect this project will provide a model for future deployments around the world that will help significantly accelerate the adoption of sustainable energy.”