A few months ago, Elon Musk bet he could build the world's biggest battery in Southern Australia in 100 days or it would be free. Now that the countdown has started, he has announced that the battery is already half complete.
Musk discussed the battery's status at an event last Friday in Jamestown, where the project is under construction. There he signed a contract with transmission company Electranet to connect the battery to the electrical grid, meaning that the bet is most definitely on.
The government has given an operational deadline for the project of December 1, providing roughly two months for the impressive technological endeavor to be finished and connected to the grid. Southern Australia suffered electrical shortages last year, and the deadline is necessary to prevent these from happening again as the Australian summer approaches.
"To have that [construction] done in two months… you can't remodel your kitchen in that period of time," Musk joked during the event, as reported by ABC News. "This serves as a great example to the rest of the world of what can be done."
The battery is going to be the biggest lithium-ion battery ever constructed. It's expected to store 129 megawatt hours of electrical energy, beating the current record holder, which is owned by SDG&E and located in Southern California. It will be constructed next to the 100-megawatt Hornsdale Wind Farm, owned by French energy company Neoen, meaning that the wind turbines could charge the battery in just over an hour. The battery is expected to be able to power about 30,000 homes.
Musk also commented on how Australia could make a move towards renewable energy and energy independence. He claimed the entire country could be powered by 1,890 square kilometers (730 square miles) of solar panels. This renewable network would be helped by 7 square kilometers (2.7 square miles) of batteries. And, having bought SolarCity, Musk can offer panels as well as batteries.
The battery is expected to cost around $39 million (USD) to the South Australian government and is part of a larger investment by the local government to build a reliable renewable energy infrastructure.
[H/T: ABC News.]