Tesla switches on 'world's biggest battery'

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South Australia is scrapping its coal-fired power stations and switching to renewable energy.

"South Australia is now leading the world in dispatchable renewable energy", state Premier Jay Weatherill said at the official launch at the Hornsdale wind farm, owned by private French firm Neoen.

The 100-megawatt (MW) battery, which is the world's largest, was built by Tesla in rural South Australia after Musk wagered a bet that he could built it in 100 days or the state would receive it for free. But crucially, it came on the first day of the Australian summer - the season when power usage soars due to air conditioning use. It can boast of having the capacity to supply 30,000 households for just one hour, which is far ahead of any other contemporary battery system.

The battery power packs are installed near the Outback town of Jamestown, about 200 kilometres (120 miles) north of the state capital Adelaide.

Supporters, however, say it will help stabilise the grid in a state that now gets more than 40 percent of its electricity from wind energy, but needs help when the wind dies down.

Nigerian Women’s Bobsled Team Makes History by Qualifying for Winter Olympics
Nigerian Women’s Bobsled Team Makes History by Qualifying for Winter Olympics

Tesla partnered with Neoen to build the battery, which is more than three times larger than the previous record-holder at Mira Loma, California.

South Australia suffered a severe blackout previous year 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 cost of the battery has not been made public.

Over the past year and a half, South Australia has been hit by a series of blackouts.

The 100-megawatt Powerpack battery, connected to a wind farm in South Australia, is finally operational.

Being one of the world's biggest coal exporters, Australia has also always been seen as one of the world's worst polluters.

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