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Tesla Powers Up Its Big Australian Battery

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11/18/2019 | 11:48pm EST

By Robb M. Stewart

MELBOURNE, Australia--The world's largest battery is about to get even bigger, with Tesla set to boost the capacity of its southern Australia lithium-ion operation by 50% to provide additional stability to the power grid.

Neoen SA (NEOEN.SA), the French company that owns and operates the 100 megawatt-129 megawatt hour lithium-ion installation known as the Tesla Big Battery, said Tuesday the 71 million Australian dollar (US$48 million) project will create Australia's first grid-scale battery.

The Hornsdale Power Reserve in Jamestown, north of Adelaide, was built by the Silicon Valley auto maker in less than nine months in 2017 after Chief Executive Elon Musk offered to help the government of South Australia state bolster a vulnerable power network hit by a string of blackouts. Tesla's system stores power generated by a wind farm built by Neoen.

Battery storage has become a critical bridge for Australia's power network as aging coal-fired plants are increasingly shut down. Power generated by wind and solar farms need a backup for intermittent supply, and recent decreases in battery prices have made them an alternative to plants that only run during peak hours.

South Australia Minister for Energy and Mining Dan van Holst Pellekaan said the battery's expanded capacity will reduce volatility in spot electricity prices and protect the state grid from network disruptions.

In its first year of operation the battery saved consumers more than A$50 million, Neoen said, adding that the expansion--due to be completed in the first half of next year--will increase savings.

When the additional Tesla battery packs are installed at the site, the operation will provide a large-scale demonstration of the potential for battery storage to provide inertia to a network, stabilizing the grid when electricity supply and demand fluctuate, the French company said.

The battery technology will trial responding to supply shifts by automatically charging and discharging, imitating existing services in current fossil-fuel power systems.

The project will receive A$15 million over five years from the state government's Grid Scale Storage Fund, becoming the first development to receive money from the fund that was set up a year ago. The federal government's Australian Renewable Energy Agency has committed A$8 million in grant funding, while government-owned Clean Energy Finance Corp. will provide debt financing, Neoen said.

Write to Robb M. Stewart at robb.stewart@wsj.com

Stocks mentioned in the article
ChangeLast1st jan.
AUSTRALIAN DOLLAR / CANADIAN DOLLAR (AUD/CAD) 0.06% 0.90377 Delayed Quote.-5.73%
AUSTRALIAN DOLLAR / JAPANESE YEN (AUD/JPY) 0.09% 74.132 Delayed Quote.-3.92%
AUSTRALIAN DOLLAR / NEW ZEALAND DOLLAR (AUD/NZD) -0.03% 1.04159 Delayed Quote.-0.64%
AUSTRALIAN DOLLAR / SWISS FRANC (AUD/CHF) 0.15% 0.67439 Delayed Quote.-1.90%
AUSTRALIAN DOLLAR / US DOLLAR (AUD/USD) 0.01% 0.68259 Delayed Quote.-3.03%
BRITISH POUND / AUSTRALIAN DOLLAR (GBP/AUD) -0.01% 1.92571 Delayed Quote.6.14%
EURO / AUSTRALIAN DOLLAR (EUR/AUD) -0.01% 1.6208 Delayed Quote.-0.67%
NEOEN -0.59% 25.15 Real-time Quote.33.58%
SOLAR COMPANY S.A. -7.94% 5.8 End-of-day quote.1,108.33%
TESLA INC. 1.08% 339.53 Delayed Quote.0.93%
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Financials (USD)
Sales 2019 24 318 M
EBIT 2019 -217 M
Net income 2019 -831 M
Debt 2019 7 417 M
Yield 2019 -
P/E ratio 2019 -71,8x
P/E ratio 2020 222x
EV / Sales2019 2,82x
EV / Sales2020 2,30x
Capitalization 61 199 M
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Technical analysis trends TESLA INC.
Short TermMid-TermLong Term
Income Statement Evolution
Mean consensus HOLD
Number of Analysts 33
Average target price 304,90  $
Last Close Price 339,53  $
Spread / Highest target 56,1%
Spread / Average Target -10,2%
Spread / Lowest Target -44,0%
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Robyn M. Denholm Chairman
Zachary Kirkhorn Chief Financial Officer
Kimbal Musk Director
Ira M. Ehrenpreis Independent Director
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