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The Essential Services Commission of South Australia has approved plans to expand the Tesla big battery from 100 MW to 150 MW.

The expansion of the world’s largest operating battery has been approved by the South Australian regulator, paving the way for testing to begin soon.

The upgraded Hornsdale Power Reserve, also known as the Tesla big battery, is ready to assume the role of a major grid asset and make history as the first battery in the National Electricity Market (NEM) to provide both grid-scale inertia services and frequency control ancillary services (FCAS).

The Essential Services Commission Commission of South Australia said last week that it will allow the Hornsdale Power Reserve to vary its electricity generation license in line with its increased size. The capacity of the 100MW/129MWh battery storage system is being expanded by 50%, through the addition of 50MW/64.5 MWh of Tesla battery capacity.

Project owner Neoen said it expects to complete the $71 million battery expansion before mid-year. It has already secured an AU$8 million (US$5.5 million) Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) grant, AU$15 million in state funding, and AU$50 million in project financing from Clean Energy Finance Corp. (CEFC),

The 100MW/129MWh Tesla big battery, located in Jamestown, South Australia, is situated next to the 315 MW Hornsdale Wind Farm. The battery has already shown its immense value for the grid in a number of ways, largely through grid stabilization services and savings. In its first year of operation alone, it has reduced grid stabilization costs by some AU$40 million, according to Aurecon.

The Tesla big battery is now set to become an even more valuable asset to the NEM through the addition of digital inertia services. The expanded 150 MW system will be upgraded with Tesla’s Virtual Machine Mode, which allows advanced power inverters, or so-called grid-forming inverters, to emulate the existing inertia services being supplied by a fleet of fossil fuel power plants. It will test and demonstrate the capability of battery control systems to provide digital inertia, instead of the mechanical inertia traditionally provided by synchronous generators, while reducing the curtailment of solar PV and wind generation in South Australia.

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