South Australia will be home to the world’s two largest batteries after UK mogul Sanjeev Gupta’s SIMEC ZEN Energy said it would build a 120MW storage solution at the Whyalla steelworks.
This is 20MW greater than that recently completed by Elon Musk’s Tesla, storing power generated by a new solar farm at the steelworks, owned by Gupta’s GFG Alliance.
SA Premier Jay Weatherill said: “As well as being the most powerful battery in the world, SIMEC ZEN Energy’s storage facility will help underpin the long-term viability of the Whyalla steelworks, as well as provide additional benefits to the South Australian grid.
The SA government is providing a $10mn grant to support the project, which is based at Port Augusta. It is key a step towards Weatherill’s target of generating 75% of electricity from renewables by 2025.
The battery was originally intended to match that of Tesla’s 100MW storage system, but Gupta upped its capacity due to plans to roll out solar power to the wider Whyalla area.
South Australia has been subject to numerous energy sector issues in recent times, recently passing Denmark as home to the world’s most expensive electricity. It is hoped that renewable energy projects like these lead to a more secure supply that in turn could see prices come down.
Indeed, Tesla built its battery near Jamestown inside 100 days, a promise Musk made before the project got underway. The company is also building a giant virtual solar plant in the province, which will see 50,000 homes receive free solar panel installation.