South Australia has recently announced that Tesla – the brainchild company of South African tech innovator and entrepreneur Elon Musk – is to be the main builder of what will be the world’s biggest lithium ion battery. This battery is being built to expand the state’s supply of renewable energy.

This huge project will also bring in the French renewable energy company Neoen. It’ll be paired up with Neoen’s Hornsdale Windfarm, which is situated north of Adelaide, near Jamestown.

South Australia’s Premier Jay Weatherill praised the endeavour, saying that the “extraordinary collaboration” between the state and the two companies, Tesla and Neoen, will bring about a grid-sized battery. This battery will help to stabilise the South Australian electricity network, which has been beset by outages in recent years, as well as putting pressure on electricity prices to bring them down a bit. The cost of wholesale electricity has more than doubled in the last two years and the upswing looks set to continue.

Battery storage will take us into the future

The availability of battery storage for renewable energy, as well as the soaring prices of conventional grid electricity, is encouraging (and forcing, in some cases) increasing numbers of Australian households to turn to renewables. The future of electricity in the wider world is in battery storage and this South Australian project will be watched around the world.

The nuts and bolts

The Jamestown project aims to sustain 100 MW of power and to store 129 MWh, which is enough to provide power for 30,000 homes. This makes the battery at least three times more powerful than the current largest battery, according to Elon Musk.

Musk is so serious about this battery that he made a pledge on Twitter to have the entire system installed and running within 100 days of the contract or he would deliver the whole thing free of charge!