Strewth: South Australia is building the largest battery in the world

 
Lian Parsons
A massive solar farm will soon help power South Australia (Source: Getty )

South Australia is about to become home to the largest battery in the world.

The country has launched a $1bn project which, when it is finished, will be made up of 3.4m solar panels and 1.1m batteries. It will enable 220 megawatts of power generation and more than 100 megawatts of storage and has an estimated investment value of $70m.

The system is financed by investors and built on privately owned scrubland in Morgan, in the Riverland region. Battery storage developer Lyon Group said construction will start in the next few months, employing about 270 workers.

Lyon Group partner David Green said the project will be a “significant stimulus” for the region.

“The combination of the solar and the battery will significantly enhance the capacity available in the South Australian market,” he said.

“We see... the need to have large-scale solar and integrated batteries as part of any move to decarbonise,” Greens added.

“Any short-term decisions are only what I would call noise in the process.”

There are also plans to build a similar (but smaller) project near the small mining town, Roxy Downs.

Lyon Group said it wants to bid for a South Australian government tender to build a battery storage system with a 100 megawatt output. This arrangement gives the government the right to use the battery storage at times of high demand, but give the project owner the ability to sell energy into the market at other times.

The project will move forward regardless of the outcome of the government’s large-scale battery storage tender, though it would impact the final storage layout as grid security and capturing trading revenue must be equally balanced.

Other interested bidders include Carnegie, Zen Energy and Tesla. The government will consider bidders during the next few weeks.

South Australia has experienced an energy crisis since last autumn, sparking fierce debate about the region’s energy policy. Elon Musk even volunteered to help fix the problem for free earlier this month.

South Australian premier Jay Weatherill said renewable energy projects “represent the future.”

The government announced a power plan earlier this month, financed by a new $150m renewable technology fund.

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