Hornsdale Power Reserve

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Hornsdale Power Reserve
Hornsdale Power Reserve at sunset.jpg
Hornsdale Power Reserve at sunset
Coordinates33°05′09″S 138°31′06″E / 33.08587°S 138.51834°E / -33.08587; 138.51834Coordinates: 33°05′09″S 138°31′06″E / 33.08587°S 138.51834°E / -33.08587; 138.51834
Commission date
  • 1 December 2017
Construction cost
  • 172 million A$
Power generation
Nameplate capacity
  • 150 MW
Storage capacity
  • 193.5 MW h

Hornsdale Power Reserve is a 150 MW (194 MWh) grid-connected energy storage system owned by Neoen co-located with the Hornsdale Wind Farm in the Mid North region of South Australia, also owned by Neoen.

The original installation in 2017 was the largest lithium-ion battery in the world at 129 MWh and 100 MW.[1] It was expanded in 2020 to 194 MWh at 150 MW. Despite the expansion, it lost that title in August 2020 to the Gateway Energy Storage in California, USA.[2] The larger Victorian Big Battery began operations in December 2021.

During 2017 Tesla, Inc. won the contract and built the Hornsdale Power Reserve, for a capital cost of A$90 million, leading to the colloquial Tesla big battery name.[3][4][5]

In November 2019, Neoen confirmed that it was increasing capacity by a further 50MW/64.5MWh[6][7][8] to a combined 193.5 MWh. The increased storage capacity was installed by March 23, 2020, and the increased power[9] became operational in early September 2020.[10]


South Australia received 90 proposals and considered 5 projects to build a grid-connected battery to increase grid stability under adverse weather events.[11][12] This will enable less use of gas-fired generators to provide grid stability.[13]

Elon Musk placed a wager that the battery would be completed within "100 days from contract signature", otherwise the battery would be free.[14] Tesla had already begun construction, and some units were already operational by 29 September 2017, the time the grid contract was signed.[15][4] The battery construction was completed and testing began on 25 November 2017. It was connected to the grid on 1 December 2017.[14] The 63 days between grid contract and completion easily beat Musk's wager of "100 days from contract signature",[5][16][17] which started when a grid connection agreement was signed with ElectraNet on 29 September 2017,[4] 203 days after Musk's offer on 10 March (in Australia).[5] Samsung 21700-size cells are used.[18]


In November 2019, Neoen announced that it would increase the battery capacity by 50%. [19] The expansion cost €53 million ($A82 million,[20] whereas A$71 million had been expected), funded by A$15 million from the state government, A$8 million from ARENA and up to A$50 million in cheap loans through the Clean Energy Finance Corporation.[21][6]

The expansion was completed by Aurecon on 2 September 2020,[22] increasing its impact in the South Australia grid.[23] The battery receives $4 million per year for essential grid security services.[24]


It is owned[25] and operated by Neoen, with the state government having the right to call on the stored power under certain circumstances.[26] Phase one provided a total of 129 megawatt-hours (460 GJ) of storage capable of discharge at 100 megawatts (130,000 hp) into the power grid, which is contractually divided into two parts:[27][needs update]

  1. 70 MW running for 10 minutes (11.7 MWh) is contracted to the government to provide stability to the grid (grid services)[28] and prevent load-shedding blackouts[15][29] while other generators are started in the event of sudden drops in wind or other network issues. This service reduced the cost of grid services to the Australian Energy Market Operator by 90% in its first 4 months.[30][31]
  2. 30 MW for 3 hours (90 MWh) is used by Neoen for load management to store energy when prices are low and sell it when demand is high.[32]

On 14 December 2017, at 1:58:59 am, the HPR reacted when unit A3 at Loy Yang Power Station tripped. As its generators spun down over the next 30 seconds, the loss of its 560 MW of base power caused a dip in the system frequency. By 1:59:19, the frequency had fallen to 49.8 Hz, and triggered HPR's response, injecting 7.3 MW into the grid and effectively helping to stabilise the system before the Gladstone Power Station was able to respond at 1:59:27. This synchronverter reaction is a built-in feature, but had not previously been effectively demonstrated.[28]

On 25 May 2021, HPR has reported a successful real-life test of its new “virtual machine mode” by demonstrating an inertial response from a small selection of trial inverters, following the grid disturbances created by events in Queensland.

Revenues from operation[edit]

During two days in January 2018 when the wholesale spot price for electricity in South Australia rose due to hot weather, the battery made its owners an estimated A$1,000,000 (US$800,000) as they sold power from the battery to the grid for a price of around A$14,000/MWh.[33] Based on the first six months of operation, the reserve is estimated to earn about A$18 million per year.[34] (This is a third-party estimate, based on spot energy prices; it is possible that the HPR has contracted to provide power at a lower price, in exchange for a more certain income stream.)

External image
image icon SA FCAS costs by services 2016-2020

After six months of operation, the Hornsdale Power Reserve was responsible for 55% of frequency control and ancillary services in South Australia.[30] The battery usually arbitrages 30 MW or less, but in May 2019 began charging and discharging at around 80 MW and for longer than usual, increasing wind power production by reducing curtailment.[35][36] FCAS is the main source of revenue.[23][37] When the Heywood interconnector failed for 18 days in January 2020, HPR provided grid support while limiting power prices.[38] This event was the main contributor to Neoen's €30 million ($A46.3 million) operating profit from Australian battery storage in 2020.[20]

Benefits for the consumers[edit]

By the end of 2018, it was estimated that the Power Reserve had saved A$40 million in costs, mostly in eliminating the need for a fuel-powered 35 MW Frequency Control Ancillary Service.[39] In 2019, grid costs were reduced by $116 million due to the operation of HPR.[40] Almost all of the savings delivered by the Hornsdale battery came from its role in frequency and ancillary control markets, where HPR put downward pressure on total prices.


On September 23, 2021, the Australian government sued Neoen SA, saying the French firm's Tesla "Big Battery" in South Australia did not provide backup power during four months in 2019 for which it had received payment.[41]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Hornsdale Power Reserve". Retrieved 4 December 2017.
  2. ^ Spector, Julian (19 August 2020). "LS Power Energizes World's Biggest Battery, Just in Time for California's Heat Wave". www.greentechmedia.com. Archived from the original on 21 August 2020.
  3. ^ "Revealed: True cost of Tesla big battery, and its government contract". Retrieved 19 December 2019.
  4. ^ a b c "Tesla completes its giant Australian Powerpack battery on time". Engadget. Retrieved 7 August 2018.
  5. ^ a b c Elon Musk [@elonmusk] (9 March 2017). "Tesla will get the system installed and working 100 days from contract signature or it is free. That serious enough for you?" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  6. ^ a b Parkinson, Giles (19 November 2019). "Tesla big battery adds new capacity and services on march to 100pct renewables grid". RenewEconomy.
  7. ^ Harmens, Nicholas. "South Australia's giant Tesla battery output and storage set to increase by 50 per cent".
  8. ^ Gottfried Cyber Trucker [@GottfriedWebst1] (7 November 2019). "Stop stop. I want those Tesla power packs" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  9. ^ "Expansion progress update". hornsdalepowerreserve.com.au (Press release). 3 May 2020.
  10. ^ Parkinson, Giles (1 September 2020). "Neoen completes expansion of Tesla big battery at Hornsdale". RenewEconomy. Archived from the original on 2 September 2020.
  11. ^ Weatherill, Jay (7 July 2017). "Tesla to pair world's largest lithium ion battery with Neoen wind farm in SA" (Press release). Government of South Australia. Archived from the original on 10 October 2017. Retrieved 9 October 2017.
  12. ^ Parkinson, Giles (3 April 2017). "South Australia swamped by 90 battery storage proposals". RenewEconomy.
  13. ^ "Power system strength" (PDF). ElectraNet. May 2018. Archived (PDF) from the original on 18 June 2019.
  14. ^ a b "Tesla's Giant Battery Farm Ready to Flick the Switch". The Urban Developer. 29 November 2017. Archived from the original on 27 March 2019. Retrieved 30 November 2017. The 100-megawatt battery installation has been built as promised by tech-billionaire Elon Musk within 100 days of the contract being signed back in September
  15. ^ a b Harmsen, Nick (29 September 2017). "Elon Musk: Tesla reaches halfway point of construction on 'world's biggest' battery". ABC News. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 29 September 2017.
  16. ^ Scopelianos, Sarah; Fedorowytsch, Tom; Garcia, Sara (7 July 2017). "Elon Musk's Tesla to build world's biggest lithium ion battery to secure power for South Australia". ABC News. Retrieved 12 July 2017.
  17. ^ Harmsen, Nick (7 July 2017). "What is Tesla's SA battery and how will it be used?". ABC News. Retrieved 9 October 2017.
  18. ^ Kanematsu, Yuichiro (30 September 2017). "Tesla taps Samsung cells for huge Aussie energy-storage facility". Nikkei Asian Review. Archived from the original on 9 October 2017. Retrieved 9 October 2017.
  19. ^ https://www.neoen.com/var/fichiers/20191119-neoen-mr-australia-hprx.pdf[bare URL PDF]
  20. ^ a b Parkinson, Giles (12 March 2021). "Neoen aims for big batteries in every state following success of Tesla big battery". RenewEconomy. Archived from the original on 16 March 2021. the Hornsdale battery was the single most profitable asset in Neoen’s portfolio across Australia, Europe and the Americas, largely as a result of the key role it played, and the windfall it gained, from holding the South Australia grid together {in early 2020} during a lengthy “islanding” event
  21. ^ Warrick, Ambar (18 November 2019). Pullin, Richard (ed.). "Neoen to Expand World's Largest Lithium Ion Battery in Australia". Reuters. Bengaluru. Retrieved 22 November 2019.
  22. ^ Russell, Chris (2 September 2020). "Neoen's Hornsdale Power Reserve big battery upgrade done and ready to keep system fired up". The Advertiser. Retrieved 1 October 2020.
  23. ^ a b "Quarterly Energy Dynamics (QED)". aemo.com.au. 22 October 2020. pp. 21–22. Retrieved 27 October 2020.
  24. ^ Parkinson, Giles (9 November 2020). "Revenue from Tesla big battery at Hornsdale falls by half in third quarter". RenewEconomy. Archived from the original on 9 November 2020.
  25. ^ "Hornsdale power reserve: about us". Retrieved 12 April 2018. Neoen, the owner of the Hornsdale Power Reserve,...
  26. ^ Harmsen, Nick (24 November 2017). "Elon Musk's giant lithium ion battery completed by Tesla in SA's Mid North". ABC News.
  27. ^ "Initial operation of the Hornsdale Power Reserve Battery Energy Storage System" (PDF). Australian Energy Market Operator. 5 April 2018.
  28. ^ a b Parkinson, Giles (19 December 2017). "Tesla big battery outsmarts lumbering coal units after Loy Yang trips". RenewEconomy. Retrieved 19 December 2017. But in reality, the response from the Tesla big battery was even quicker than that – in milliseconds – but too fast for the AEMO data to record. Importantly, by the time that the contracted Gladstone coal unit had gotten out of bed and put its socks on so it can inject more into the grid – it is paid to respond in six seconds – the fall in frequency had already been arrested and was being reversed.
  29. ^ Parkinson, Giles (14 December 2017). "Tesla big battery goes the full discharge – 100MW – for first time". RenewEconomy. RenewEconomy. Retrieved 19 December 2017.
  30. ^ a b Lambert, Fred. "Tesla's giant battery in Australia reduced grid service cost by 90%". Electrek. 9to5 network. Retrieved 11 May 2018.
  31. ^ Gheorghiu, Iulia (14 May 2018). "South Australia's grid service costs slashed 90% by Tesla battery". Utility Dive. Archived from the original on 20 February 2021.
  32. ^ "Explainer: What the Tesla big battery can and cannot do". RenewEconomy. 10 July 2017. Retrieved 12 October 2017.
  33. ^ Leary, Kyree (24 January 2018). "Tesla's Australian Battery Shows It Can Also Make Huge Profits". futurism.com. Retrieved 14 March 2018.
  34. ^ Parker, Steven; Mountain, Bruce (3 August 2018). "Tesla big battery: It earned a lot more money in second quarter". RenewEconony.
  35. ^ Mazengarb, Michael (30 May 2019). "Wind energy sets new records as strong investment and windy weather combine". RenewEconomy.
  36. ^ Eldridge, Geoff (30 May 2019). "NLOG: Hornsdale Power Reserve Battery operation on Tue 28 May 2019". nemlog.com.au.
  37. ^ Peacock, Bella (26 January 2021). "Big battery announcements could see storage pricing 'cannibalise' itself". pv magazine Australia. Archived from the original on 5 February 2021. [Frequency Control Ancillary Services] FCAS markets are a large driver of revenues for large scale battery assets in the NEM … last calendar year FCAS revenues accounted for more than 96% for Hornsdale Power Reserve (c.f. 83% in CY19)
  38. ^ Peacock, Bella (19 February 2021). "Australian assets prove pivotal for Neoen's strong 2020 results". pv magazine Australia.
  39. ^ Lambert, Fred (6 December 2018). "Tesla's giant battery saved $40 million during its first year, report says". Electrek. Retrieved 4 January 2019.
  40. ^ "Year 2 Technical and Market Impact Case Study" (PDF). Aurecon. HPR is modelled to have reduced the total Contingency FCAS cost by approximately $80M, and the total Regulation FCAS cost by approximately $36M, for a total NEM cost reduction of approximately $116M
  41. ^ Paul, Sonali (23 September 2021). "Australia sues Neoen for lack of power from its Tesla battery reserve". Reuters. Retrieved 24 September 2021.

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