Tesla Wins World’s Largest Backup Energy Storage Contract

Tesla has taken the world’s largest grid-scale energy storage project in South Australia – but only has 100 days to get it done.

Tesla Energy, the electric automaker’s energy storage unit, will deliver 100 megawatts of lithium-ion battery storage or it will be free. Tesla CEO Elon Musk made that commitment today at an official ceremony in Adelaide, Australia.

Musk first made the bid, and the 100-day commitment, in a tweet back in March. South Australia had been struck by a series of power outages.

“There will be a lot of people that will look at this – ‘Did they get it done within 100 days? Did it work?'” Musk told reporters. “We are going to make sure it does.”

Failing to hit the deadline would cost Tesla “$50 million or more,” he said.

It also supports another commitment Musk has made – to bring clean energy to the world through battery storage, renewable energy, and electrified mobility.

Power for the energy storage facility will come from a wind farm operated by Neoen, a French company that provides wind and solar power. The wind farm in South Australia is still undergoing construction.

The backup battery system will power 30,000 homes in the region if there’s a blackout.

Along with alleviating fear of future blackouts, the energy project also supports the province’s commitment over the past three years to shut down coal-fired plants and switch over to wind, solar, and gas. Wind power now supplies about 40 percent of South Australia’s energy.

Tesla Energy will run the world’s largest and second largest energy storage facilities. In January, Tesla completed number two, an 80-MW energy storage facility for Southern California Edison. Energy is stored in Powerpack 2 units that come from Tesla’s lithium-ion battery packs.

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The electric carmaker beat out several other bids for the South Australia project. Dozens of companies from 10 countries had expressed interest, Reuters reported.

It may have overshot the mark, said a source at a Korean competitor to Tesla who declined to be identified.

“Tesla has been telling the world that it can and will finish the project within three months,” the source said. “It seems that confidence helped Tesla win, but typically this kind of project takes six months so we have to wait and see whether or not Tesla can do it.”



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