By David Meyer
March 16, 2018

South Australia has become a big battery battleground. Not long after Elon Musk’s Tesla built the world’s largest lithium-ion battery—the Hornsdale Power Reserve, which has a rating of 129 megawatt hours—a British industrialist has stepped in with plans for a 140-megawatt-hour beast.

The billionaire Sanjeev Gupta bought a steelworks in South Australian town of Whyalla last August, through his Liberty House company. Gupta’s GFG Alliance then bought a controlling stake in an Adelaide-based clean energy company called Zen Energy, which he then renamed Simec Zen Energy.

Simec Zen will later this year start constructing a 200-megawatt solar farm to power the Whyalla steelworks—and now there’s a plan to have a world-leading battery to store that energy, ensuring continuity of supply (a concern with solar.)

South Australian premier Jay Weatherill, who is standing for re-election this weekend, said the Whyalla project would benefit the wider community by improving local grid stability. It’s worth noting that the South Australian government, led by Weatherill, has put up a $7.8 million loan to support the battery’s construction.

“We know that more renewable energy means cheaper power, and that’s why we have increased our renewable energy target to 75% and also introduced a new renewable storage target of 25%,” Weatherill said.

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