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Elon Musk to install world’s largest lithium-ion battery in South Australia

12 July 2017

The world’s largest lithium-ion battery will be installed in South Australia by the end of 2017 and will transform the country’s renewable energy future.

This announcement will generate fast track reliable renewable energy in Australia, as well as globally, according to a leading energy industry authority Dr Alex Wonhas, Managing Director, Energy, Resources & Manufacturing of global engineering and infrastructure advisory company Aurecon.

Under an agreement with the South Australian Government, billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk, and the French renewable energy group Neoen, the battery, three times more powerful than any other system in the world, will be designed to provide power to the grid at times of generation shortfall, as well as providing stability to the network, day and night. 

“The coupling of renewable energy with large scale battery storage is a fundamental requirement for an affordable, reliable and sustainable energy future for Australia,” said Dr Wonhas, who was previously Executive Director for CSIRO’s environment, energy and resources sector.

“South Australia is now set to lead the charge in battery storage that will, in turn, revolutionise the way in which renewable energy is integrated into electricity networks.  

Aurecon is the Specialist and Technical Engineering Advisor to the Government of South Australia for the implementation of its Energy Plan. The company is providing advice across the entire programme, including the 100MW battery, emergency gas generator and power supply contracts. 

The July 7 announcement of the world’s largest lithium ion grid connected battery system at 100MW/129MWh is the culmination of three months of intensive work by Aurecon. This included evaluation and shortlisting of expression of interest submissions, development of the technical and functional requirements of the system and invitation to supply documents, evaluation of respondent proposals and negotiations to enable the final contract to be signed. 

Aurecon also supported the Government to engage with various stakeholders, including the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) and South Australian transmission and distribution network service providers, in order to identify and advice on grid connection and registration matters. 

Engineering the journey toward renewables 

“As engineers design for the future, technology and innovative solutions like this will be imperative to meeting tomorrow’s challenges,” comments Dr Wonhas. He goes on to say that in future, the role of the engineer will be to interrogate impossible challenges, including that of energy supply; and to answer “I think we can!” when others have said it’s impossible. 

“I am proud that Aurecon continues to play a key role as an engineer and advisor to Australia’s energy sector, including designing a number of industry-defining renewable ‘firsts’, such as Australia’s first large-scale solar power project connected to the south-eastern grid (Royalla solar photovoltaic plant), and designing one of the largest solar farms in Australia (Bungala Solar Photovoltaic),” he said. 

In addition, Aurecon is the engineering partner for Territory Generation’s Battery Energy Storage System (BESS) for Alice Springs, which was recently given the green light by the Northern Territory Government. BESS will provide 5MW battery energy storage and will be one of the largest grid-connected storage solutions in Australia.

The success of the solar power projects has led to a range of other appointments in the clean energy sector, including Moree Solar Project, Barcaldine Solar Farm, Sun Metals Solar Farm, Capital and Woodlawn Wind Farms.


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