Hornsdale Power Reserve
For Showing how One Big Battery Could Revolutionize Renewable Energy (Most Influential Projects: #24)
TOP PHOTO COURTESY OF TESLA. BELOW, RIVE HEADSHOT: LINKEDIN. CANNON-BROOKES HEADSHOT: COURTESY OF ATLASSIAN. WEATHERILL HEADSHOT: WIKIPEDIA. TWEET IMAGE COURTESY OF TWITTER
Elon Musk is no shrinking violet. In the midst of a heated debate on the best way to recharge South Australia's power grid, the provocative Tesla CEO threw down a daring wager. In a 9 March 2017 tweet, he promised that his company would help solve the state's chronic energy woes by building the world's largest lithium-ion battery in just 100 days—or it would be free.
Tesla delivered, completing the Hornsdale Power Reserve approximately 40 days ahead of schedule. As the energy storage companion to Hornsdale Wind Farm, it provides a 100-megawatt emergency electricity backup for as many as 30,000 homes. That's a critical contribution to a state that generates more than 40 percent of its electricity from wind but previously lacked the ability to store and integrate that energy. What's more, the super-battery stands as a symbol of the potential of renewable energy—and how ambitious optimism, tethered to disciplined execution, can achieve the unexpected.
Musk's audacious gamble reflected genuine urgency. The price of electricity in Australia had been soaring, increasing 20 percent from 2012 to 2016. The state had been rocked by a series of blackouts.
Here's how Musk and Tesla got drawn in to help.