The solar and wind farm built by Elon Musk in Australia is doing well and saving people money, reports Popular Mechanics.
The farm powers South Australia, which is home to roughly 1.7 million people. Musk had the farm built after South Australia experienced a “near total blackout” after an intense storm consisting of 80,000 lightning strikes and two tornadoes in 2016; he partnered with an Australian billionaire and got the farm up and running.
The new farm “and other grid-scale batteries offer a way to tackle the variability of wind and solar power, and South Australia is seen as a global testbed in the transition away from fossil fuels, with the state getting more than half its power from renewable sources last year,” Bloomberg says.
The farm is full of Tesla PowerPacks, which is the magic behind the structure’s success: the battery is able to smooth out the “ebbs and flows” stemming from renewable energy tech and the region’s surrounding “failure-prone rural grids.” The battery can store wind and solar power up to 100 MW. It can also “absorb brief blips in the grid surrounding it,” which minimizes outages for Australia homes and businesses, Popular Mechanics says. It can also reduce the amount of fossil fuel consumed by backup generators, and can power up to 30,000 homes for up to an hour.
So far, the farm has saved South Australian residents lots of money – more than the $50 million “that Tesla passed on to its Australian investor.” It’s also reduced network costs by about $76 million, and cut back the costs to regulate South Australia’s grid by 91 percent, Popular Mechanics reports.
Thus far, the battery farm’s success has “put South Australia on the map as a world leader in renewable energy with battery storage,” Unilad says. “Basically, Tesla has smashed it.”