Lake Bonney big battery readies to supply Tesla Australia EV supercharger network

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Infigen Energy’s utility-scale energy storage facility near its Lake Bonney wind farm in South Australia is getting ready to assume a major role in the decarbonization of the nation’s main grid and its road transport sector. The 25 MW/52 MWh Tesla Powerpack battery system will not only increase retail electricity market competition but also supply Tesla Australia EV national supercharger network.

Collocated with the 278 MW Lake Bonney wind farm, the battery system powered up in October. The $38 million storage project was delivered with $5 million grants from each of the South Australian government and the Australian Renewable Energy Agency. The system will deliver flexible capacity and system security services, such as Frequency Control Ancillary Services (FCAS), to the SA electricity grid and allow Infigen to firm at least an additional 18 MW of power depending on the customer load profile.

Infigen CEO Ross Rolfe has previously stated: “With the firming capability of the BESS (battery energy storage system), Infigen will be able to expand its supply contracts from the Lake Bonney Wind Farm to additional commercial and industrial customers in South Australia, which is at the heart of our business strategy.”

Speaking during a site visit to Lake Bonney on Tuesday, South Australia’s Minister for Energy and Mining Dan van Holst Pellekaan said the wind farm and battery demonstrated the state’s transition to a modern energy market. He said grid-scale storage is crucial to making renewable energy work for consumers, including by increasing retail energy competition.

“Assets such as the Lake Bonney Wind Farm and Battery provide reliable, affordable and renewable electricity to this state’s commercial and industrial customers,” said Minister van Holst Pellekaan. “It will allow South Australia to incorporate more renewable energy into the system and move towards net-100% renewable energy in the 2030’s.”

The minister unveiled that Tesla is one of the new commercial customers supported by Infigen’s expansion into the South Australian retail electricity market. “Infigen was recently awarded a retail contract to supply Tesla fast-charging supercharger stations with energy across Australia,” said Van Holst Pellekaan. “Not only will the Lake Bonney Battery use Tesla batteries to store energy, it will also allow Infigen to fuel electric cars at Tesla Superchargers across Australia.”

Once fully commissioned, the Lake Boney system will become the third big battery on the state grid and the second featuring Tesla Powerpack technology. The Hornsdale Power Reserve also known as the ‘Tesla big battery’ was another project to win public funding for a 50 MW/64.5 MWh expansion from the Marshall Government’s $50 million Grid Scale Storage Fund.

The importance of batteries for the energy transition and to decarbonize road transport cannot be over-emphasized. A recent World Economic Forum report found that, in the right conditions, battery technologies could reduce global emissions in the transport and power sectors by 30% – enough to hit the 2°C Paris Agreement target. To achieve this, the global battery value chain will need to expand 19-fold, costing an estimated $550 million in investments over the next decade.