Tesla Switches on World's Biggest Lithium Ion Battery

Tesla's plant stores energy from the Hornsdale wind farm in South Australia

Tesla's plant stores energy from the Hornsdale wind farm in South Australia

This Friday, Jay Weatherhill, the state's premier, flipped the switch on the massive battery, calling it "history in the making".

The battery dispatched a maximum of 59 megawatts of power.

Weatherill came under fire a year ago after the entire state went black following a major storm, and raced to shore up the state's grid with a A$510 million ($385 million) plan, including ordering the big battery and installing diesel-fueled turbines.

Tesla beat the deadline by building the mega-battery in just 60 days, though it did get a head start on construction. However, it had already begun dispatching some power into the state's power grid on the afternoon of November 31 as temperatures rose above 30-degrees.

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The Tesla Powerpack will be charged using power generated by the Hornsdale wind farm.

The lithium battery and subsequent bet are part of South Australia's 530 million dollar energy plan alongside the construction of backup generators.

The size of the battery is similar to the American football field. South Australia, of course, is no stranger to power outages, as blackouts left much of the area without power last summer.

"The completion of the world's largest lithium-ion battery in record time shows that a sustainable, effective energy solution is possible", Tesla said in South Australia's press release.

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Lithium-ion batteries have a greater charge cycle than conventional lead-acid batteries, and can respond within seconds. They store energy generated by the neighbouring Hornsdale Wind Farm, owned by French renewable energy company Neoen, to bring added reliability and stability to the state grid.

Meanwhile, Tesla's Elon Musk has expressed eagerness to compete to fund, build & operate a high-speed transport connection between Chicago O'Hare Airport and downtown.

Meanwhile, opponents of the South Australia's new pro-renewable energy solution argue that the battery is a "Hollywood Solution" in a country that still relies on fossil fuels, mainly coal, for two-thirds of its electricity.

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