Billionaire Elon Musk, the founder of Tesla, has partnered with French energy utility Neoen to build the world’s largest lithium ion battery to store renewable energy in South Australia.
The mega-project consists of a 129 megawatt hours battery, paired with a wind farm, which aims to improve the security of electricity supply across South Australia. The state has been affected lately by several outages amid heat waves and storms. The worst — an eight-hour blackout last year — crippled industry for up to two weeks and triggered public outrage.
The state’s premier, Jay Weatherill, confirmed Friday the deal, which is a key component of the government’s $550 million energy plan.
Tesla believes it can solve South Australia’s energy problems in under 100 days from the contract being ticked off, as Musk himself tweeted in March. If it doesn’t deliver, then the battery will be free.
Musk said it would cost him “probably $50 million or more” if the 100 days lapse without the battery installed.
“If South Australia is willing to take a big risk, then so are we,” he said.
The project, slated for completion by December, will be able to power about 30,000 homes — that’s more than three times as powerful as the world’s next-largest such battery, Tesla said.
It is also expected to create many local jobs during the construction phase, but there will be few ongoing positions since the system is designed to be self-sustaining.
Tesla recently completed the installation of an 80MWh grid-scale battery farm in southern California within just 90 days, at an estimated cost of $100 million.