Science

Tesla flips on the world's largest lithium ion battery

Tesla flips on the world's largest lithium ion battery

Neoen deputy CEO Romain Desrousseaux said: "We would like to acknowledge the efficiency, support and vision of the South Australian Government to bring the state to the forefront of global energy storage technology".

But, can a Li-ion battery power an entire town or towns?

In March, the State Government came out with its Energy Plan to deliver clean, affordable and reliable energy to South Australians and included the nation's largest battery to store renewable energy and have back up power when it is needed. As of December 1, this Australian mega-battery has officially been switched on. Chief executive Elon Musk had promised his company would develop the project within 100 days of contracts which were signed at the end of September.

South Australia suffered a severe blackout a year ago that left 1.7 million people without electricity, prompting Australian PM Malcolm Turnbull to lash out at state regulations that encouraged what he believed to be a too heavy a reliance on renewable energy: the Australian Energy Market Operator found that the blackout was caused by too sensitive protection mechanisms at some windfarms in South Australia.

The size of the battery is similar to the American football field.

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Supporters of the project say it will help stabilise the grid and provide "dispatchable renewable energy" in a region that now gets more than 40 percent of its electricity from wind energy.

Some have called the battery a "Hollywood solution", which likely stems from the flashy nature of the battery's creation in a country that does still rely partly on fossil fuels.

Hoping that Tesla's li-ion battery storage solution would have greater adoption in the future, Elon Musk visited the site and hailed the battery as "just the beginning".

The system could make a contribution to solving South Australia's energy woes.

The Australian grid operator has warned of potential shortages of gas-fired electricity across southeast Australia by late next year.