Batteries charge up Australia’s efforts to shift away from coal

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Operators of the Hornsdale Power Reserve say it has helped save consumers A$150m ($115m) in energy costs in its first two years © David Gray/Reuters In 2017, following several power cuts in the state of South Australia, Tesla chief executive Elon Musk made an audacious bet on Twitter: if he could not build a battery to solve the crisis in 100 days, he would provide one for free. Musk won his bet, and operators of the resulting 129 megawatt-hours Hornsdale Power Reserve battery say it has helped save consumers A$150m ($115m) in energy costs in its first two years of operation. The success of the lithium-ion battery has kickstarted other such projects aimed at helping Australia to integrate solar and wind energy into its electricity grid, by storing power for when it is needed. In February, French renewable energy company Neoen, which operates the Hornsdale project, said it had secured financing for an even bigger battery in Geelong, south-west of Melbourne, for 450 MWh of storage. The Hornsdale Power Reserve features the world’s largest lithium ion battery © David Gray/Reuters Melbourne-based renewable developer CEP Energy also says it will build four batteries in Australia, including a A$1.5bn unit at […]

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