Three years after Elon Musk’s Tesla delivered the world’s largest lithium-ion battery to the state of South Australia to help shore up its electrical grid, the state of Victoria will receive one that’s twice as large: the Victorian Big Battery.
Victoria, like its neighbor to the east, South Australia, has been plagued by blackouts and grid instability in recent years, especially during the brutal summers when cooling is in high demand. That’s set to change after French renewable energy company Neoen, also responsible for the 2017 battery, won the contract to deliver the blockbuster power pack on November 4. The 300-megawatt Victorian Big Battery will make use of Tesla’s new, industrial-grade Megapack batteries that launched in the summer of 2019, which promise higher capacities in a smaller package. Tesla also claims that by linking the 3-megawatt batteries together, as the Victorian Big Battery will do, a network can hold up to one gigawatt. According to The Verge, Tesla touted that was enough to power every home in San Francisco for up to six hours.
Megapack batteries are intended to help cities quit their reliance on dirty, coal-powered “peaker plants,” which kick on during periods of high demand to smooth peaks in power usage and prevent blackouts. The continued Australian partnership with Neoen makes sense, then, as the country is trying to move away from its dependency on coal, which currently provides 80 percent of the nation’s electricity. The previous Hornsdale, South Australia, battery was powered by a neighboring Neoen wind farm, and the Victorian Big Battery, slated to rise outside of the city of Geelong, will store and feed energy into the grid from November through March (summer in the Southern Hemisphere). According to a fact sheet released by Victoria’s government, the battery will help the state achieve 50 percent renewable energy usage by 2030 as peaker plants are phased out.
While the size of the Victorian Big Battery is impressive (once complete it will be the largest in the Southern Hemisphere) even larger batteries are scheduled for installation in both New York City and Moss Landing, California as The Guardian pointed out.