North American firm Tesla confirmed on July 6 that it will manufacturer the powerpacks for the world’s biggest lithium-ion energy storage system, which will be built in Australia, at its Nevada gigafactory .
Tesla’s founder Elon Musk is set to put his money, and reputation, where his mouth is following a boast on Twitter in March with the promise to waive the fee if it takes longer than 100 days to build the 100MW ESS in South Australia.
The lithium-ion cells for the project would be manufactured at its Nevada gigafactory.
Tesla won a competitive bidding process to provide the 129MWh Powerpack system, which will be paired with French renewable energy provider Neoen’s Hornsdale Wind Farm near Jamestown, South Australia.
The project, which includes the South Australian government, aims to prevent the kind of state-wide blackout that left 1.7 million residents without electricity following a freak — once-in-a-50-year event —storm in 2016. Further blackouts occurred in the heat of the Australian summer in early 2017.
Musk does of course have some weight in his promise. In January Tesla completed 20MW of storage in Southern California, which consisted of 396 Tesla Powerpack units, each with 16,000 lithium-ion battery cells.
But with the Nevada gigafactory at around 30% capacity, the big question is whether Tesla can deliver sufficient number of cells as well as setting aside enough to make more than 80,000 cars (if we take 2016 figures), and more than 40,000 Powerwalls (again taking figure from 2016) in 2017.
A Tesla spokesman told Energy Storage Bulleting that: “Tesla built the Gigafactory in Nevada with global markets in mind and will produce enough lithium-ion batteries for its energy products and automobiles to meet demand.”
If realised it will be the biggest of its type, only an 800MWh vanadium redox flow battery in China by Rongke Power, along with its strategic partner and affiliate UniEnergy Technologies, would beat it in terms of ESSs.