South Australia is going straight onto the world energy map with approval for the world’s largest lithium ion battery, to be installed before summer at Neoen’s Hornsdale Wind Farm about 200km north of Adelaide.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk is sticking to his deal to deliver the battery within 100 days “or it is free”, agreeing with the South Australian Government on a starting date being the day the grid interconnection agreement has been signed.

The 100MW/129MWh battery will operate at all times, providing stability services for renewable energy. It will also be available to provide emergency back-up power if a shortfall in energy is predicted.

The battery will be connected to the substation which is already built at the wind farm.

“That was a very important part of the solution, because the state wanted quick and very fast delivery of the product and the wind farm was a good spot to do that,” said Neoen deputy CEO Romain Desrousseaux, who would not tell EcoGeneration how much the battery will cost.

Sixty-six turbines are operational at the plant and 33 more will be up by November, when the project is completed. The battery will be operational in December.

Desrousseaux is happy with how things are going so far. “It’s one of the windiest places in Australia and in the world,” he says. “We’ve got days where the wind farm is producing 95% of the time. Overall it is windier at the end of the day and through the night, until mid-morning.”

The battery will provide network security services, so the grid acts “efficiently and as planned”.

“The service is not here for the wind farm, but for the South Australian grid. The battery will help the wind farm, whether there is wind or not. It will help the grid, whether there is wind or not, and avoid blackout or shedding as we had earlier this year,” he said.

“I can’t say that it’s going to save every next issue … but I know it’s going to be a substantial support for the grid.”

Wind power with battery storage has been recommended through the Finkel Review as well as AEMO’s recent reports to provide energy system security services.

In March, the state government announced a plan for South Australia to take charge of its energy future, ensuring it would become more self-reliant.

“South Australia has been leading the nation in renewable energy – now we are leading the world in battery storage,” said South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill.

“I’m thrilled with the selection of Neoen and Tesla, whose experience and world leadership in energy security and renewables will help South Australia take charge of its energy future. This historic agreement does more than bring a sustainable energy giant in Telsa to South Australia, it will also have some significant economic spin-offs.”

South Australian customers will be the first to benefit from technology which will demonstrate that large-scale battery storage is commercially viable, Desrousseaux said.

“At 100MW and 129MWh, the Hornsdale Power Reserve will become not only the largest renewable generator in the state but also home to the largest lithium ion battery in the world, with our company’s long-term, direct investment in South Australia growing to almost $1 billion since 2013.”