World's largest lithium ion battery prevents South Australian blackouts: report

Updated 2018-02-23 14:51:04 Xinhua

The world's largest lithium ion battery in South Australia (SA) has "taken the straw off the camel's back" and saved the state from a number of blackouts, a report has found.

The battery, which was built by U.S. energy storage giant Tesla and begun operation in December 2017, stabilized South Australia's energy network, a report by the Australia Institute released on Friday found.

The report, authored by energy expert Hugh Saddler, also found that emissions from Australia's National Electricity Market (NEM) fell to their lowest level since 2004 in January.

Saddler analyzed the patterns of charging and discharging the Tesla battery, finding it consistently charged overnight using wind-generated power when it was reliable and cheap and discharged into the electricity grid during peak demand periods.

He said that even though the battery only provided around 1 percent of peak demand in the state, it was still providing a useful service.

Only 30 percent of the battery's 100 megawatt (MW) capacity is dedicated to supplementing the grid with the rest spent maintaining the frequency of the grid.

"While the watts may seem small in the context of the whole system, the SA battery is providing critical power at the critical moment - in effect taking the straw off the camel's back," Saddler told the Guardian Australia on Friday.

"The world's biggest battery, in SA, is working in smooth synergy with windfarms.

"Peak wind production is easily the cheapest way to charge the battery, and it stands ready to fill demand gaps if they emerge. The battery has been charging up overnight, when prices are very low and hitting the grid at the right time to keep price spikes lower than they would be otherwise."

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