Since the success of its giant Powerpack system in Australia, Tesla has been rolling out several other massive energy storage projects in the country despite some high-profile critics at the federal level and now within the new South Australian government who think the initiative is overvalued.
Nonetheless, the Australian Energy Market Operator praised the performance of the system in a new report this month.
Tesla’s 100MW/129MWh Powerpack project in South Australia, the largest in the world for now, has been demonstrating its capacity since going into operation in December.
When an issue happens or maintenance is required on the power grid in Australia, the Energy Market Operator calls for FCAS (frequency control and ancillary services) which consists of large and costly gas generators and steam turbines kicking in to compensate for the loss of power.
Electricity rates can be seen reaching $14,000 per MW during those FCAS periods.
Tesla’s battery system can provide the same service cheaper, quicker, and with zero-emissions, through its battery system.
It is so efficient that it reportedly should have made around $1 million in just a few days in January, but Tesla complained last month that they are not being paid correctly because the system doesn’t account for how fast Tesla’s Powerpacks start discharging their power into the grid.
The system is basically a victim of its own efficiency, which the Australian Energy Market Operator confirmed is much more rapid, accurate and valuable than a conventional steam turbine (left) in a new report:
Despite those impressive results, the effort has seen push back at the highest level within the Australian government.
For example, Australian resources minister Matt Canavan compared Tesla’s battery system to Kim Kardashian:
It’s the Kim Kardashian of the energy world: it’s famous for being famous. It really doesn’t do very much.
While it has certainly become quite famous, the energy companies are not adding storage capacity because it’s fashionable.
The performance of the system is what is convincing them to add energy storage capacity to their assets.
Of course, Tesla also now has its own plans for a 50,000-home virtual power plant with Powerwalls in Australia, which would represent even more energy storage capacity.
Here’s the Australian Energy Market Operator report in full: