Tesla’s 100MW/ 129MWh Powerpack project in South Australia is reported to have made about $1 million AUD ($800,000 USD) in just a few days. The world’s largest battery system of its kind went into operation at the end of 2017 and has been proving itself right from the get-go.
The system was built to stabilize the energy grid of South Australia after it experienced major blackouts during extreme weather in 2016. Tesla won the contract to build the battery system in conjunction with French energy company Neoen’s nearby wind farm. As part of the deal, Neoen has access to about 30 MW/ 90 MWh of the system's capacity to trade on the open market while the rest is controlled by the South Australian government. Neoen is making the most of its share of the operation this month as temperatures and energy demand soar.
Summer energy demand rising
The system is able to switch from charging to discharging in just seconds, a feature that allows Neoen to take advantage of energy swings. As summer energy demand increases during the very hot Australian summer, Tesla’s battery was paid up to $1000/MWh to charge itself. The Australian Energy Review thinks that at that price it may have cleared up to $1 million in the last few days. The Review writes: “Another view of this data is presented below, showing the actual price achieved during the buying (charging) and selling (generation). It’s hard to be sure, but it might have made around $1 million over the two days from the wholesale market.”
Tesla to build new plants
The system is also working out for the government. Last month it reacted to the crash of a coal plant in just milliseconds, faster than the energy observer could even keep track of the changes. Renew Economy's Giles Parkinson said that the system is still being tested and that these impressive results could just be the tip of the iceberg of what it could really be capable of. The success of the battery pack and windfarm is such that other states in Australia are keen to get their own version. Australian media reported recently that Tesla had won the contract to build a 20 MW battery system to support the 204 MW wind farm at the Bulgana Green Power Hub.
Government's risk pays off
Tesla’s involvement in South Australia’s energy sector was kickstarted after the state experienced widespread power failures due to severe weather in the Summer of 2016. Tesla boasted they could fix South Australia’s energy problems within 100 days or the solution would be free. After receiving 91 proposals from energy providers around the world, The South Australian Government accepted Tesla's proposition. The 100 MW/129 MWh Powerpack system went live on December 1st, 2017.