Power stations have the role of supplying abundant power on demand. Since there is always the possibility of one tripping, utilities have traditionally added spinning reserve. This comes from baseline stations with turbines running at full speed. However, this expensive solution does not always work. Prior to the advent of battery storage there have been many system crashes, because it often takes too long for spinning reserve to come on line.
Recent Spectacular Power Grid Crashes
There have been some spectacular power crashes in the past, when this system proved unresponsive because it was too slow to react. The July 2012 Indian blackout affected 620 million people.
Moreover, the 2016 Kenya national blackout was even more concerning. The entire nation came to a halt for four hours. The year was not a good one for America either. Hurricane Hermine put 350,000 people off-grid in Florida and South Georgia for a week. However, it took the September 2016 South Australia blackout to bring a government to its senses and introduce battery storage.
How South Australia’s Battery Storage Passed the Test
We have written about Tesla’s green energy storage solution for South Australia previously. This is the world’s largest battery farm tasked with moderating solar energy input to the national grid. But it has a second, potentially more important role besides paying back some of Australia’s carbon debts.
On Thursday, December 14 at 1.59 a.m, the Loy Yang A 3 coal unit in Victoria failed. This deprived the South Australia grid of 560 megawatts of electricity 620 miles away from the Tesla battery storage grid. These units held full charge as is their custom.
They released their healing power faster than the utility could measure. While other backup units came online shortly afterwards we have no doubt the seven megawatts released in milliseconds made a difference. Batteries’ promise of a greener future is confirmed. Let’s have more giga battery storage soon!
Preview Image: SCE Norwalk Peaker Plant