Battery storage wars: Sanjeev Gupta to overtake Musk with world’s largest battery
South Australia will be home to the world’s two largest batteries after UK mogul Sanjeev Gupta’s SIMEC ZEN Energy said it would build a 120MW storage solution at the Whyalla steelworks.
This is 20MW greater than that recently completed by Elon Musk’s Tesla, storing power generated by a new solar farm at the steelworks, owned by Gupta’s GFG Alliance.
SA Premier Jay Weatherill said: “As well as being the most powerful battery in the world, SIMEC ZEN Energy’s storage facility will help underpin the long-term viability of the Whyalla steelworks, as well as provide additional benefits to the South Australian grid.
The SA government is providing a $10mn grant to support the project, which is based at Port Augusta. It is key a step towards Weatherill’s target of generating 75% of electricity from renewables by 2025.
The battery was originally intended to match that of Tesla’s 100MW storage system, but Gupta upped its capacity due to plans to roll out solar power to the wider Whyalla area.
South Australia has been subject to numerous energy sector issues in recent times, recently passing Denmark as home to the world’s most expensive electricity. It is hoped that renewable energy projects like these lead to a more secure supply that in turn could see prices come down.
Indeed, Tesla built its battery near Jamestown inside 100 days, a promise Musk made before the project got underway. The company is also building a giant virtual solar plant in the province, which will see 50,000 homes receive free solar panel installation.
Drax advances biomass strategy with Pinnacle acquisition
The Group’s enlarged supply chain will have access to 4.9 million tonnes of operational capacity from 2022. Of this total, 2.9 million tonnes are available for Drax’s self-supply requirements in 2022, which will rise to 3.4 million tonnes in 2027.
The £424 million acquisition of the Canadian biomass pellet producer supports Drax' ambition to be carbon negative by 2030, using bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS) and will make a "significant contribution" in the UK cutting emissions by 78% by 2035 (click here).
This summer Drax will undertake maintenance on its CfD(2) biomass unit, including a high-pressure turbine upgrade to reduce maintenance costs and improve thermal efficiency, contributing to lower generation costs for Drax Power Station.
In March, Drax secured Capacity Market agreements for its hydro and pumped storage assets worth around £10 million for delivery October 2024-September 2025.
The limitations on BECCS are not technology but supply, with every gigatonne of CO2 stored per year requiring approximately 30-40 million hectares of BECCS feedstock, according to the Global CCS Institute. Nonetheless, BECCS should be seen as an essential complement to the required, wide-scale deployment of CCS to meet climate change targets, it concludes.