FAQS

STORAGE

What technology is being used for the project?

The Hornsdale Power Reserve utilises Tesla’s Powerpack lithium-ion units and associated equipment. While this is the largest single battery Tesla has constructed, the technology has been proven on a smaller scale at several other sites worldwide. It is also the same technology as is used in Tesla vehicles, meaning that it has been subject to rigorous usage over millions of hours. Please see powerpack for more detail on Tesla’s Powerpack technology.

When was the Hornsdale Power Reserve constructed?
The 100MW/129MWh construction was completed on December 1st 2017. The 50MW/64.5MWh expansion has commenced, and it is expected it will be complete in the first half of 2020.
What are the benefits of battery energy storage?
With more than 50% of electricity generated from renewables in 2018, South Australia is a world leader in renewable energy. Due to this high penetration of renewables, the state is also a pioneer in storage technology by supporting the Hornsdale Power Reserve, the largest lithium-ion battery in the world.

In making the transition from fossil fuels to ‘baseload’ renewables, the ability to store and dispatch energy will play a key role. Pumped hydro is an example of longer-term storage; that is, suitable for storing energy and releasing it over days or weeks. However, pumped hydro has a relatively slow ‘ramping’ time and is less suitable for providing rapid-response services to grid contingency events such as outages or heat waves (with high demand created by air-conditioning). Battery storage, such as Tesla’s lithium-ion Powerpack technology, fills this key short-term role.

Below are some of the functions a grid-scale lithium-ion battery may be expected to perform:

  • Network security services including Frequency Control Ancillary Services (FCAS) and Network Loading Control Ancillary Services (NLCAS)
  • System Restart Ancillary Services (SRAS)
  • Arbitrage (spot market trading)
  • Peak shaving
  • Block/load shifting
  • Renewable firming and smoothing
What benefits will the Hornsdale Power Reserve Expansion bring?
In addition to continued energy bill savings for consumers, the expansion will also provide an Australian-first large-scale demonstration of the potential for battery storage to provide the stabilising inertia services that are critical to the future integration of renewable energy. This will ensure South Australia can continue to harvest its world class wind and solar resources and achieve its target of being net 100% renewable by 2030. It will also see the State transition to become a net-exporter of cheap and clean energy to the NEM and further drive down electricity prices for all consumers.
What is inertia?
As with vehicle suspension on an uneven road, inertia services are essential for stabilising the grid when electricity supply and demand fluctuate. The expanded 150 MW Hornsdale Power Reserve will be upgraded with Tesla’s Virtual Machine Mode, which allows the advanced power inverters to emulate the existing inertia services being supplied by an ageing fleet of fossil fuel power plants. The level of inertia that would be provided by HPR could match half of the total needs of South Australia.
This Australian-first battery technology will trial responding to supply fluctuations by automatically and rapidly charging and discharging. By imitating the behaviour of the existing fossil fuel-based services, the Hornsdale Power Reserve can arrest any grid frequency deviations through a clean and regenerative substitute.

The Australian Energy Market Operator has identified that the South Australian grid requires 6,000 megawatt-seconds (MWs) to maintain a secure operating level of inertia. It is anticipated that Hornsdale Power Reserve as expanded could provide up to 3,000MWs of inertia.

What is the life cycle of the Hornsdale Power Reserve?
Tesla’s Powerpack 2 units come with an industry-leading 15-year warranty, though the batteries will still retain the majority of their capacity at this time and will be capable of operating beyond it depending on market conditions and other factors.
How is the battery reducing costs for consumers?
Battery storage can reduce costs for consumers in three ways:

  • supporting more wind and solar, which are now the cheapest forms of power
  • increasing competition in ancillary markets and pushing electricity prices down
  • helping to avoid blackouts and the associated costs
What happens to the batteries when they reach the end of their life?
We make a commitment that all above-ground infrastructure will be removed and the site rehabilitated when the project ceases to operate. After removal, a large percentage of the material in the batteries will be reclaimed or recycled; over 60% of materials especially critical minerals will be recovered for re-use.

Health & Culture

Are there any health risks?
Hornsdale Power Reserve is using similar technology to the batteries that are being increasingly installed in homes, just on a larger scale. There are no known health risks associated with properly maintained large-scale battery installations.
Is the project reducing air quality?
Monitoring of dust levels during construction is a basic requirement of each project. Dust generating activities are assessed during windy conditions and are stopped and rescheduled where adequate control of dust generation cannot be achieved.

Visual observation of machinery is undertaken during site inspections in addition to daily pre-start checks which ensure all machinery has appropriate emission control devices, is in good working order and is maintained correctly.

Is cultural heritage taken into consideration?
Neoen complies with all legislation, including laws regarding the protection of cultural heritage. A cultural heritage assessment forms part of initial studies as does consultation with local Indigenous groups to ensure cultural heritage is protected.