Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

'History in the Making': Tesla Switches on World's Largest Battery

Renewable Energy

South Australia officially activated the world's biggest battery on Friday. The feat was achieved much to the credit of Elon Musk, who made a daring bet to “get the system installed and working 100 days from contract signature or it is free."

Musk was responding to a challenge from Australian billionaire Mike Cannon-Brookes to help fix the Australian state's electricity woes. Losing the bet would have cost the Tesla CEO "probably $50 million or more."


Not only did the Musk win the bet, his company built the football field-sized facility in Jamestown (about 125 miles north of Adelaide) about a month and a half ahead of schedule.

"The completion of the world's largest lithium-ion battery in record time shows that a sustainable, effective energy solution is possible," Tesla said in a statement Friday at the battery's launch.

The 100-megawatt Powerpack system is designed to power 30,000 houses for an hour during a blackout. The Australian state was hit by a string of power outages last year.

"South Australia is now leading the world in dispatchable renewable energy. This is history in the making," South Australia Premier Jay Weatherill said Friday of the Tesla battery.

Australia is one of the world's biggest producers of coal. The polluting fossil fuel and is the country's primary source for generating electricity. But the South Australian state government has gone in the other direction and has invested heavily in renewable energy ever since Weatherill took office in 2011.

Critics including Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull have blamed the 2016 blackouts on the state's electricity grid, which relies on 40 percent renewables, but Weatherill says the power outages were caused by severe weather.

Tesla's battery will charge from Neoen's Hornsdale wind farm near Jamestown, South Australia and deliver electricity during peak hours.

"The battery will bring essential grid stability by providing a fast injection of power. But it will not solve the problem of blackouts on its own," Franck Woitiez, managing director of Neoen Australia, told the Financial Times.

Still, Woitiez rejected the federal government's notion that coal should remain in Australia's energy future.

"Coal is a thing of the past. In 2017 we are showing that the energy transition is happening. Battery costs are falling and it is now cheaper to build renewables than new coal plants."

In an ad released by Republican Voters Against Trump, former coronavirus task force member Olivia Troye roasted the president for his response. Republican Voters Against Trump / YouTube

Yet another former Trump administration staffer has come out with an endorsement for former Vice President Joe Biden, this time in response to President Donald Trump's handling of the coronavirus pandemic.

Read More Show Less

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Climate Group

Every September for the past 11 years, non-profit the Climate Group has hosted Climate Week NYC, a chance for business, government, activist and community leaders to come together and discuss solutions to the climate crisis.

Read More Show Less

Trending

A field of sunflowers near the Mehrum coal-fired power station, wind turbines and high-voltage lines in the Peine district of Germany on Aug. 3, 2020. Julian Stratenschulte / picture alliance via Getty Images

By Elliot Douglas

The coronavirus pandemic has altered economic priorities for governments around the world. But as wildfires tear up the west coast of the United States and Europe reels after one of its hottest summers on record, tackling climate change remains at the forefront of economic policy.

Read More Show Less
Monarch butterflies in Mexico's Oyamel forest in Michoacan, Mexico after migrating from Canada. Luis Acosta / AFP / Getty Images

By D. André Green II

One of nature's epic events is underway: Monarch butterflies' fall migration. Departing from all across the United States and Canada, the butterflies travel up to 2,500 miles to cluster at the same locations in Mexico or along the Pacific Coast where their great-grandparents spent the previous winter.

Read More Show Less
The 30th First Annual Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony on Sept. 17 introduced ten new Ig Nobel Prize winners, each intended to make people "laugh then think." Improbable Research / YouTube

The annual Ig Nobel prizes were awarded Thursday by the science humor magazine Annals of Improbable Research for scientific experiments that seem somewhat absurd, but are also thought-provoking. This was the 30th year the awards have been presented, but the first time they were not presented at Harvard University. Instead, they were delivered in a 75-minute pre-recorded ceremony.

Read More Show Less

Support Ecowatch