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Tesla Huge Powerpack Battery Farm Extension Project in South Australia Is Completed

by Eva Fox April 15, 2020

Tesla Huge Powerpack Battery Farm Extension Project in South Australia Is Completed

Tesla's Powerpack Battery farm extension project in South Australia has been completed. With network connection works now finalized, the upgraded Hornsdale Power Reserve is preparing to become a major asset to the National Electricity Market (NEM).

According to pv-magazine, the capacity of the 100 MW/129 MWh battery is being expanded by 50%, through the addition of 50 MW/64.5 MWh of Tesla batteries. Having attracted an $8 million Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) grant, $15 million in state funding, and $50 million in project financing from the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC), owner Neoen expects to complete the $71 million battery expansion before mid-year .

The installation of the battery components was completed in March, and in early April, Neoen Australia announced that network connection works completed.

The 100 MW/129 MWh Tesla Big Battery, located in Jamestown, South Australia and adjacent to the 315 MW Hornsdale Wind Farm, has already demonstrated its enormous value to the network in several ways. According to Aurecon consultants, in its first year alone, it reduced network stabilization costs by about $40 million.

At the same time, Hornsdale generated roughly $50 million in revenue in less than two years through arbitrage trading by buying electricity when wholesale prices were low or even negative and selling when prices were high. As extreme weather, interconnector failures, a risk of islanding, the changing nature of electricity load and coal-fired generator outages combined to lift FCAS demand across the NEM, FCAS provided by the Tesla Big Battery contributed most of a 56% leap in revenue banked by Neoen in the final quarter of last year.

The 50% expansion of the Hornsdale Power Reserve is now set to make history as the first battery to provide both grid-scale inertia services and FCAS on the NEM, opening up even more opportunities for grid-scale storage in Australia. Having already proven its worth in providing FCAS, Hornsdale will be tasked with providing fast frequency response and system inertia, called synthetic or digital inertia, when delivered by battery.

Photo by Nichola Groom/REUTERS

The expanded 150 MW Hornsdale Power Reserve will be upgraded with Tesla’s Virtual Machine Mode, which allows the advanced power inverters, or so-called grid-forming inverters, to emulate the existing inertia services being supplied by a fleet of fossil fuel power plants. The system will test and demonstrate the capability of battery control systems to provide digital inertia replacing the mechanical inertia traditionally provided by synchronous generators while reducing the current curtailment of solar PV and wind generation in South Australia.

This Australia's first battery technology will testly respond to fluctuations in supply voltage by automatically and rapidly charging and discharging. The Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) has determined that South Australia's power system requires 6,000 megawatt-seconds (MWs) to maintain a safe operating level of inertia. It is estimated that Hornsdale’s expanded power reserve can provide up to half of its total needs.

In addition, Neoen will also work with AEMO to provide an evidence base to support updating current specifications of market support services to increase the acceptable FCAS registration level for all providers, which allows large-scale batteries to fully provide this service to theirs and unlock additional sources of revenue. Finally, expanding the Hornsdale battery may also allow an increase in the power limit for the Heywood interconnector, which will lead to improved spot prices for energy imports from Victoria.

Featured image: ABC News




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