Top global Li-ion battery projects: Tesla grows lead as Hornsdale expands to 150 MW

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The 50-megawatt expansion of what is already the world’s largest lithium-ion battery, the Hornsdale Power Reserve in South Australia with batteries from Tesla, has completed its network connection, according to independent power producer Neoen Australia.

Hornsdale Power Reserve, the world’s biggest operational lithium-ion battery, abuts the 315 MW Hornsdale Wind Farm in Jamestown, South Australia. The project is now rated at 150 MW/193.5 MWh and dwarfs any other lithium-ion battery system in operation around the globe.

Table: Largest global operational Li-ion storage projects – by rated power

Certainly, there are a few compressed air energy storage projects in operation with much higher power capacity. Japan has a few large, vintage sodium sulfur batteries in operation. (DOE global energy storage project database here)

As pv magazine Australia has reported, the expansion of the Hornsdale battery is intended to provide grid-scale inertia services and fast-frequency response on Australia’s National Electricity Network.

The battery has already brought down grid stabilization costs by roughly $40 million in its first year of operation, according to consultantcy Aurecon.

At the same time, Hornsdale generated roughly $50 million in revenues in less than two years through the provision of both Contingency and Regulation Frequency Control Ancillary Services and through arbitrage trading. Even during severe grid anomalies, such as those impacting an interstate interconnector after a lightning strike, the big battery has successfully kept the lights on in South Australia’s renewable-heavy grid.

Hornsdale will be tasked with supplying fast-frequency response and system inertia – termed “synthetic inertia” when delivered by battery storage. Historically, large fossil-fuel or hydro-electric units, or synchronous generators, have provided system inertia by virtue of their spinning turbines.

Ian Learmouth, the CEO of Clean Energy Finance Corporation, a governmental green bank that has provided debt financing for the project, said that the provision of synthetic inertia is “critical” if renewable penetration levels are to continue to grow.

100 MW energy storage projects galore

There is a pipeline of giant lithium-ion projects scheduled for completion in 2020 and 2021 that will change the look of that earlier “biggest project list.”

The UK is building the 100 MW Minety project. And, in the U.S. alone, there are a number of 100 MW storage projects (Clean Power Alliance Lancaster, AES Alamitos and Arizona, Strata Oxnard) as well as the 300 MW Vistra Moss Landing project and the massive 409 MW Florida Power and Light Manatee project.