The world’s largest battery storage project – Tesla’s South Australia battery – has not only helped stabilize the grid, but it could be quite profitable. Electrek reported the 100 megawatt (MW)/129 megawatt-hour (MWh) Powerpack project, operated by French company Neoen, may have raked in an estimated one million Australian dollars (AUD) in just a few days.
The South Australia battery, part of Neoen’s Hornsdale Power Reserve, is used in two ways. Per Electrek, the government has access to a large amount of the capacity to stabilize the grid, and so far it seems the system has been put to good use – it reacted in milliseconds to crashed coal plants in December. And then Neoen has access to around 30 MW/90 MWh “to trade on the wholesale market.”
It appears the company has been making good use of the battery. The system can “switch from charging to discharging in a fraction of a second,” according to Electrek, so Neoen can take advantage of changes in power prices – especially in times of high demand. RenewEconomy shared a graph with data from January 18 and 19 at the Hornsdale Power Reserve “showing the actual price achieved during the buying (charging) and selling (generation). It’s hard to be sure, but it might have made around $1 million over the two days from the wholesale market.”
In the graph, Electrek pointed out that Neoen could sell electricity for as much as $14,000 AUD – around $11,294 – per MWh. And during overproduction, the system can charge itself at nearly zero cost.
The publication also pointed out that use of the battery storage system is specific to Australia’s energy market – it might not be quite as valuable in other markets around the world. But it seems many people in Australia are interested in installing more such systems – Tesla and Neoen already have plans in the works for another battery in Victoria, and RenewEconomy said other batteries are coming in South Australia, New South Wales, Queensland, and the Northern Territory.