After the success of the Tesla 100-megawatt battery in South Australia, another record-breaking battery is now in the works in Queensland. South Australia is also planning to build the world's largest solar thermal plant in a bid to fix the region's worsening energy crisis.
The success of the lithium ion megabattery conceived by Elon Musk has had a profound effect on the country. By silencing doubters, governments in many states are pursuing renewable energy at staggering rate believing it will be the solution to the country's energy woes.
The Aurora solar plant in Port Augusta, South Australia is set to begin construction this year and is expected to cover the entire state's energy needs by 2020. This is according to the state's acting energy minister Chris Picton who announced the new project last Wednesday.
The 150-megawatt plant uses mirrors and solar power to heat molten salt and generate electricity. The $650 million project was approved this week by the state's government and will be built by American company SolarReserve, and is expected to create 650 local jobs during construction.
Meanwhile, in Queensland, French utility company Neoen is hoping to surpass its previous achievement in South Australia by building another record-breaking lithium ion battery. Neoen previously partnered with Tesla to bring its latest project to life but it appears that the company is going solo this time around.
The energy storage facility will be built at the Kaban Green Power Hub, 80km from Cairns. Garth Heron, Neoen Australia's head of wind development, told Bloomberg that the company was looking to create "a very large battery" up north to deal with "a lot of need for electricity storage up in Queensland".
The South Australia Tesla megabattery, in conjunction with Neoen's Hornsdale wind farm, has a 100MW capacity, capable of powering 30,000 homes for an hour in the event of a blackout. The facility's first big test came in December when it solved an energy shortfall during a minor heat wave.