Battery technology is the thing. It seems to be a holy grail that environmentalists and technologists can agree on for helping us, humans who want a habitable planet for generations to come, mitigate climate change. And occasionally it is at the core of short term fixes. Once the dust has settled on 2017, and we are looking back on stories that were on the positive side of long term impact on the planet, this story will probably get more attention. For now it seems like a footnote at the end of the year to note that this Tesla scheme actually seemed to work:
Last spring, Elon Musk made a daring bet. He claimed he could build and install the world’s largest grid storage battery in South Australia within 100 days of the date a contract was signed or the system would be free. The contract was signed on September 29. Installation was completed by the third week of November. On December 2, the giant 129 MWh system was activated.
On December 14, the Loy Yang coal power plant — one of the largest in Australia — suddenly went offline. In an instant, the grid shed 560 MW of electricity, enough to power 170,000 homes. 600 miles away, the Hornsdale Power Reserve battery system, as the Tesla system is officially known, kicked in within 140 milliseconds. It reacted so quickly, in fact, that the local grid operator was unable to measure the response time accurately. 100 MW of power suddenly surged into the grid, buying valuable time for other power sources to come to the rescue. Utility customers were largely unaware that anything unusual had happened. That’s how good grid batteries work.
State energy minister Tom Koutsantonis told local radio station 5AA afterwards, “That’s a record and the national operators were shocked at how quickly and efficiently the battery was able to deliver this type of energy into the market. Until now, if we got a call to turn on our emergency generators it would take us 10 to 15 minutes to get them fired up and operating which is a record time compared to other generators,” Mr Koutsantonis said according to the Financial Review.
This is actually a benefit of grid-storage batteries that we highlighted years ago after touring the Younicos facility in Berlin. Here are a couple of telling charts from that visit that not only highlight how quickly batteries can respond, but also how cleanly they match the needs…
Read the whole story here.