Elon Musk started building a giant megabattery for the South Australian outback earlier this year with the aim of preventing blackouts that have been a major issue for the region. He bet that he could complete the project within 100 days. A bet upon which he wagered the cost of the project: an estimated $50 million. Now, local authorities will have to pay for the $50 million giant battery because Musk fulfilled his promise and completed the build in under 100 days.
The massive lithium-ion Tesla battery will even begin testing ahead of Musk’s Dec. 1st deadline, which is good news for the region: just last year, the area was hit with major, state-wide blackouts after storm winds literally ripped transmission towers out of the ground.
“South Australia is set to have backup power in place this summer through the world’s largest lithium-ion battery, which is set to be energized for the first time in the coming days as it enters a phase of regulatory testing,” State Premier Jay Weatherill said in a statement.
As renewable energy sources advance, battery capacity is becoming more and more important to ensuring energy availability. And in a place like the southern Australian outback where blackouts are a relatively common, yet dangerous, occurrence, such a battery is essential.
The megabattery will be connected to a wind farm operated by French energy firm Neoen, and will be so large that it could hold enough energy to power thousands of homes in the event of a crisis. Not only will the battery allow the state to be prepared for emergencies, but it will also support Australia’s continued progress in switching from fossil fuels to renewable energy.
As the country takes steps towards this ultimate goal, efforts like the megabattery will allow for energy — like that created from the wind farm — to be stored efficiently.