Elon Musk’s big battery in the Hornsdale Power Reserve will be challenged by AGL and Vena Energy’s 1000MW installment in Queensland. Australia seems to be embracing renewable energy batteries to provide backup power for its grids more now, giving Tesla’s big battery in Hornsdale some allies and challengers.
AGL—an Australian energy company that generates and retails electricity and gas for residential and commercial use—signed a 15-year deal to use Vena Energy’s battery. The battery storage system is expected to improve the reliability of the power grid in southwest Queensland. AGL and Vena Energy’s giant battery will have a capacity to store and provide 100MW/150MWh at the beginning, reported Renew Economy.
In comparison, Tesla’s Horndsale battery stores and provides 100MW/129MWH. Back in November 2019, Neon—the company in charge of Elon Musk’s big battery in Australia—announced that the Hornsdale battery would be expanding by 50 percent or 150MW/194MWh. As such, Tesla’s battery will still be bigger than AGL and Vena Energy’s in Queensland.
However, AGL’s battery will be connected to Vena Energy’s 1000 megawatt Wandoan South project, challenging Tesla's Hornsdale installation. The project will kick off in 2021.
AGL’s battery will be one of five battery energy storage systems in Queensland, three of which are already functional. The fourth will start operations next month in Townsville, stated The Australian.
AGL’s chief executive Brett Redman commented on the energy provider’s latest project, saying, “We are staring at the dawn of a new age of energy: the dawn of the battery age.” He also said, “Queensland is our nation’s renewable energy powerhouse. Today, [there’s] further proof of that with one of the nation’s largest battery storage systems.”
Redman’s optimism for battery storage systems is in stark contrast with the first reactions to Elon Musk’s big battery in Hornsdale. Tesla’s CEO endured sharp criticism and severe opposition from authority figures in the Australian government for his battery storage project. Matt Canavan, the Minister of Resources at the time, even went as far as dubbing the Powerpack farm as the “Kim Kardashian of the energy world,” inferring that it would be useless.
Australia’s general opinion of renewable power sources and battery storage systems seems to be changing slowly. Although renewable energy sources still only deliver 20 percent of power demand in the country. Coal is still the primary source of power, supplying 60 percent of demand, reported the Sydney Morning Herald.
The ultimate deciding factor in Australia’s transition to renewable energy seems to be battery tech. “As the industry continues to transition from baseload thermal generation to renewables, batteries will be pivotal to providing firming capacity when the sun isn't shining, when the wind isn't blowing, and the market needs the capacity,” said Brett Redman.
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