There are many, fortunately less and less, the detractors of the storage in batteries of electricity produced by renewable sources, whether solar or wind energy as the most representative. But the results of projects like the Hornsdale Mega Battery, installed by Tesla last year in South Australia, are increasingly compelling. According to the data, $ 66 million was invested in its construction, a year later, a third of its value was depreciated. In other words, in 3 years the investment will be fully paid off and from there it will generate 100% profit.
Before it was built, it was common to hear some people in Australia say that the money invested in this mega-battery would put local customers’ bills on the back burner for life. Now they are seeing how this battery is and will be a source of income for Neoen, the French company that owns it and the adjoining wind farm.
According to The Guardian, Neoen will recoup more than a third of the $ 66 million investment in its first year of operation. A three-year return on investment is something that should make other companies be so reluctant to this type of investment. When it comes to fossil fuels, the payback time for most of your power plants and infrastructure is typically measured in decades, not years.
Neoen reports that the Hornsdale facility generated $ 9 million in network service revenue – primarily frequency stabilization – in the first 6 months of operation. Almost $ 2.5 million of that comes from a 10-year agreement with the government of South Australia to provide back-up capacity to the local grid. Doubling that amount in the first 12 months of operation results in revenue of $ 18 million.
In addition, Neoen expects to receive an additional $ 7.5 million in the first year of the sale of grid-stored electricity, bringing total revenue for the year to more than $ 25 million. Neoen hasn’t released any numbers on its operating expenses, but the numbers it released suggest the Hornsdale battery is a big deal.
Hornsdale Project Numbers Exceed All Expectations, but the profitability of these types of storage facilities may be somewhat reduced in the future as more projects of this type come on stream.
Neoen wants to use these benefits to increase its battery energy storage capacity in Australia from 2 GW to 5 GW, according to The Guardian. The installation of a 20 MW battery is already underway as part of a 194 MW wind farm at the Bulgana Green Power Center in Victoria, and Neoen has proposed the construction of a 50 MW storage facility near Kaban in Queensland.
The Australian government is now in the hands of interests close to fossil fuels, who want to boost the country’s coal production, climate change and carbon emissions. Recently, the new Energy Minister Angus Taylor said the government has no plans to increase the share of renewables beyond 2020.
But, despite the many interests and pressures of groups in favor of fossil fuels, coal can no longer compete with wind and solar energy thanks to storage. It is reality.