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Tesla's first Virtual Power Plant (VPP) in South Australia received regulatory approval for a more active role in the frequency control and ancillary services market, which has been a lucrative source of revenue and profit.
The news of the capacity increase to 10 MW was included in an update released by the Australian energy market operator this week, according to Renew Economy.
Tesla and Energy Locals have been approved for 10 MW of capacity in all six of the FCAS contingency markets, which provide critical services to the grid, particularly in the event of a network, generator, or big consumer trip. The VPP is not registered for the regulation of FCAS markets.
In early September, South Australia launched Phase 3 of its VPP, utilizing Tesla home batteries. To the existing 1,100, another 3,000 public housing properties were added, kicking off a “world-first” deal to procure a Big Battery’s worth of grid support services.
Tesla Charges Forward with Virtual Power Plant, Equipping 4.1K+ Homes with Solar & Powerwall in Southern Australia 🇦🇺 https://t.co/aLZRuBPWI3— Tesmanian.com (@Tesmanian_com) September 5, 2020
Energy Minister Dan van Holst Pellekaan said that the latest $60.6 million expansion of the Tesla VPP would extend the scope to 4,100 Housing SA properties across the state. And they are on track to reach the ultimate goal of 50,000 South Australian homes, both public and private.
VPPs are new to these markets. The home battery in South Australia is dedicated to supporting low-income and public housing.
VPP also includes private customers, Tesla and Energy Locals, who provide discounts on daily and electricity bills in exchange for access to batteries. They need access to 5 kWh--maximum discharge--for short periods to provide 10 MW of FCAS power.
“In a world-first, home batteries will provide the grid stability services that South Australia has lacked since the closure of the Northern Power Station, to address the legacy of instability that we inherited,” said energy minister Dan van Holst Pellekaan.
"This will deliver at a household level what we are also delivering through the 50% expansion of the big battery at Hornsdale Battery to address these legacy issues."
In early September, Neoen announced that it has completed the expansion of Tesla's large battery at Hornsdale in South Australia and it will now begin providing important inertial services to the network through its expanded capacity.
Tesla's Big Battery has now been expanded to 150 MW / 194 MWh. Much of the new capacity is focused on delivering “inertia”—a critical grid service that that will be delivered for the first time at this scale by a battery. This capability will help reduce the reliance on gas-powered generators, as the state's grid transitions from more than 50% renewables towards the state Liberal government target of “100% renewables.”
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About the Author
Eva Fox joined Tesmanian in 2019 to cover breaking news as an automotive journalist. The main topics that she covers are clean energy and electric vehicles. As a journalist, Eva is specialized in Tesla and topics related to the work and development of the company.