Australian battery firm says no you can’t

From Utility Dive

Tesla is in talks with officials in South Australia to install battery storage systems that could serve as protection against the blackouts that have been plaguing the Australian state, according to multiple media reports.

At a launch for Tesla’s second generation, commercial scale Powerpack 2, Lyndon Rive, who now heads the company’s battery division, said the grid-scale batteries could solve the state’s power problems, telling the Financial Times that he would install up to 300 MWh.

CEO Elon Musk and former SolarCity CEO Lyndon Rive, who now heads the battery division at Tesla, said South Australia’s rolling blackouts are attracting developers eager to demonstrate the value of energy storage. Earlier this month, ZEN Energy proposed a 50 MW battery project in Port Augusta that the company says could help alleviated the reliability issues the state is facing.

Now Tesla is jumping on the bandwagon, as Musk declares he can fix the country’s grid problems in 100 days. The question is, can he?

The region has been battered by storms that have toppled transmission towers and closed wind farms. The state is particularly vulnerable because it has closed its last remaining coal plant and has to import baseload power from out of state.

But Rive said that large centralized storage installations at sub-stations, combined with residential and commercial solar and storage installations would make it “near to impossible to take down the grid,” according to the Financial Review.

“We don’t have 300MWh sitting there ready to go but I’ll make sure there are,” Rive said.

Australia has invested billions in grid modernization and support for network transformation, making transformation to a smarter, cleaner grid possible, analysts told Utility Dive.  In turn, Australia has been described as a proving ground for solar-plus-storage. And solar penetration in New South Wales and Victoria, two of its biggest states, reached 15%.

Australian Battery Firm Challenges Musk’s Offer

From SkyNews

An Australian large-scale battery firm says it can do a better job providing energy storage in South Australia than high-profile US entrepreneur Elon Musk’s Tesla Inc, which would be ‘challenged’ by entry into the local market.

Solar power and battery storage project developer, Lyon Solar, says it could have large-scale battery storage up and running in South Australia before next summer.

‘We’ve been talking to the South Australian government for some time,’ Lyon Solar partner David Green said.

‘We’re better placed than Tesla, in fact, because we’re the first group to have developed a project in Australia and work its way through all of the processes that are required here.’

Mr Green said providing large-scale battery storage required the securing of land, regulatory approvals, supply agreements, network connection applications, and financing.

‘They (Tesla) have done a great thing by raising the profile (of large-scale battery storage), but I think in terms of being able to match what’s happening locally – not just by us but some of the others – I think they (Tesla) would be hugely challenged,’ Mr Green said.

Another local alternative energy and battery storage provider, ASX-listed Carnegie Clean Energy, is in talks with the South Australian government about battery storage solutions to help fix the state’s energy crisis.

Carnegie says it is involved in more than 25 large-scale battery storage projects and can deliver an Australian solution to help stabilise South Australia’s electricity network.

‘I can confirm we are in discussions with the South Australian government as to how we can provide a home-grown, utility-scale battery energy storage solution to the state of South Australia, and indeed to other state governments across Australia,’ Carnegie managing director Dr Michael Ottaviano said on Monday.

‘There is no-one in Australia with our track record in utility storage solutions.’

The assertions of preparedness from Carnegie Clean Energy and Lyon Solar follow Mr Musk’s declaration last week that Tesla could provide 100 megawatts of batteries for South Australia within 100 days and if not, it would be for free.

Mr Musk spoke with Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull at the weekend, and with South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill about the future of electricity supply in South Australia.

Lyon Solar already has plans to develop solar and battery projects across Australia, including projects totalling 250 megawatts of batteries across South Australia.

They include the Kingfisher solar power and battery storage facility near Roxby Downs in South Australia, with the first stage scheduled to start operating commercially before September 2017.

Mr Green said 250 megawatts of batteries discharging up to 600 megawatt hours of power could power 400,000 homes for four hours.

Meanwhile, the chairman of Adelaide-based battery storage provider Zen Energy, Ross Garnaut, told Fairfax Media that Zen would be able to build a large-scale battery storage facility for South Australia and have it ready for next summer.


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