South Australia’s largest Tesla grid battery is being taken to court by the Australian Energy Regulator (ER), although it has failed to provide grid stability despite being forced to do so.
Officially known as the Hornsdale Power Reserve, the 150-megawatt (MW), 77-minute grid battery built by Tesla was the largest in the world at the time of construction.
However, AER has taken action against the battery owner after the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) complained of failing to ensure frequency control between July and November 2019.
Maintaining grid frequencies is an important requirement to ensure power supply and stability, but almost all batteries are unable to do this due to technical limitations.
This means that the frequency should have been reduced during this period, as the battery would have been unable to support the grid as a result of potential power instability and blackouts.
AER Chair Claire Savage said in a media statement, “It is very important that what generators say they can do if we keep the light on through the market’s changing renewable generation.”
“We expect providers to be in a position, and in a position, to respond when called upon by AEMO,” Savage said. “Failure to comply with recent market-related service offers and AEMO dispatch guidelines violates national electricity regulations and may result in AER enforcement.”
What is grid frequency, and why is it important?
In addition to supply, maintaining frequency is an important aspect of a functional grid.
An alternating current (AC) is running through the cable at a frequency of 50 Hz (Hz) in each home or power station.
Common coal, gas and hydroelectric systems are powered by turbines that turn the generator at 50 revolutions per second or 50 Hz. And as a result, every part of the grid is seamlessly connected to this frequency.
When power demand increases, or if existing power plants experience problems and the output shuts down, the frequency decreases, turbine-based power plants try to return the frequency to a value of 50 Hz.
However, batteries usually work by combining “listening” and grid frequencies. And when Australia moves away from coal and gas generators, there is a problem with who actually sets the frequency in the first place – a job that is usually performed by spinning turbines.
On the other hand, AGL’s new “grid-forming” battery in South Australia seeks to solve this problem, and is the world’s largest battery capable of maintaining grid frequencies.
Do batteries fit into the Australian grid?
Evan Marles, an expert on electrical grid systems and professor of engineering at the University of Melbourne, believes that lithium batteries are unable to support the Australian grid in transforming into a more renewable energy source.
The problem, Marles said, is that a lot of batteries will be needed to provide backup power for a sufficient amount of time.
“They have a role to play,” Mariels previously told The Epoch Times. “But you can’t make enough batteries to store for the grid.”
Instead, the Marels proposed pumped hydropower – which uses reservoirs to store energy – would be effective enough to provide adequate backup power for a long time.
In South Australia, for example, the Tesla large battery costs about 2 172 million and it is capable of output at 150 mW for a maximum of 77 minutes.
By comparison, the Snow 2.0 2.0 – currently built by the Australian government – is a 2,000-megawatt pumped hydro storage system capable of running up to 75 hours.
Although the project will cost from 3. 3.8 billion to 5 4.5 billion – 25 times more than Tesla’s larger batteries – the storage capacity will be 1,800 times more.
Moreover, Marels noted that lithium-based batteries were not recyclable due to the difficulty of recycling lithium, a limited resource to be mined from Earth.
This News Originally From – The Epoch Times