British billionaire plans 140 MWh battery storage for Australia, beating Tesla
- SIMEC ZEN Energy, led by British billionaire Sanjeev Gupta, will develop a 120 MW / 140 MWh energy storage project in Port Augusta, South Australia, with the help of a roughly $8 million loan from state government.
- The battery would be the largest in the world, potentially snatching that crown from Tesla which just last year completed a 100 MW/129 MWh battery facility also located in South Australia.
- While Tesla's Elon Musk rolled out his company's giant battery to help stabilize the grid in South Australia, Gupta's storage project aims to support a steel plant in Whyalla, where a large solar facility will also be located. No time schedule for development of the new battery has been announced.
The two largest batteries in the world will be located less than 100 miles from one another, if Gupta's plan moves ahead. His firm recently acquired the Whyalla Steelworks, with plans to use cheaper renewable energy at the facility. The plan could turn Port Augusta and Whyalla into a renewable energy hub.
Tesla completed its battery last year following a high-profile bet from Musk that the company could install the project in 100 days or it would be free to South Australia, at a cost of about $50 million to Tesla. The project is located at Neoen’s 315 MW Hornsdale wind farm.
Tesla's system, at the time it was completed, topped San Diego Gas & Electric's 120 MWh Escondido storage facility to stake claim to the "largest" battery. Before SDG&E's Escondido project came online, Tesla held the distinction for its 80 MWh facility for Southern California Edison.
There has also been talk of other storage projects in Australia, as well. In Brisbane, renewable energy firm Lyon group last year announced plans for a 100 MW/400 MWh battery storage system at a wind facility. Queensland's SolarQ is planning a lithium storage system of up to 4,000 MWh to be paired with a 350 MW solar facility. Those projects would beat out both Tesla and SIMEC ZEN Energy for the biggest battery storage systems in the world should they be completed.
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