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Adelaide-based firm to help build Tesla's giant battery


Tesla has contracted an Adelaide-headquartered engineering firm to help build its battery facility in the state’s mid-north and connect it to a local wind farm and the power grid.

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InDaily can reveal that Consolidated Power Projects (CPP) will be the engineering and construction provider for the “world’s largest battery” – designed to be in place before summer.

The State Government says CPP will employ about 50 South Australian workers on the project, including some who live in the mid north.

It is understood that CPP was part of the Tesla bid, but that the contract has just been signed, with the batteries currently being transported to South Australia.

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CPP, which has its head office in the Adelaide CBD and employs about 100 South Australians, was established in 1996 under the ownership of a Mauritius company. It became an independent Australian-owned operation in 2008 and was bought by Texan engineering and construction firm Quanta Services in 2014.

CPP has had a close involvement in the wind industry over its history, including building the first grid-connected wind farm in the eastern states near Goulburn in the late 1990s.

The company also worked on French company Neoen’s Hornsdale wind farm near Jamestown, which will be connected to the Tesla battery installation.

The Government said today that CPP would update the local substation and install the batteries and inverters supplied by Tesla. The work would also include integrating the battery’s storage control and metering systems with those run by Neoen and Electranet.

Energy Minister Tom Koutsantonis welcomed CPP’s involvement in the project and the local jobs that would be supported during construction.

“The energy storage sector presents huge opportunities for South Australia and we want to see more local companies looking for ways to tap into this growing industry,” he said in a statement.

CPP President Charles Wright said the company’s experiencing in helping to construct the Hornsdale wind projects would be invaluable to the project’s success.

“The evolving energy storage industry is a new service delivery to add to CPP’s porfolio,” he said. “It will allow ongoing growth of our business and people.”

A file image of Elon Musk discussing Tesla’s “Gigafactory” in the Nevada desert which produces lithium ion batteries. Photo: AP/Rich Pedroncelli

The Government has not revealed how much it is spending on the battery, but Tesla’s Elon Musk said that failure to meet his guarantee of building it within 100 days or it’s free could cost him more than $50 million.

However, today’s announcement raises questions about the relevance of the 100-day deadline, which will begin once the grid connection agreement is signed with the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO).

That agreement has not yet been signed, but civil works have begun on the site and Koutsantonis has confirmed that construction work can begin before the grid connection agreement is in place.

Koutsantonis told InDaily today that “Neoen, Tesla and the SA Government are working closely with key stakeholders including AEMO and ElectraNet to progress approval of the connection agreement as soon as possible”.

“The batteries are on their way to South Australia and civil works have begun at the site, with the project on track to be operational by December 1,” he said.

The 100MW lithium ion battery facility is designed to provide “stability services” to the South Australian grid, by evening out the intermittent nature of renewable energy.






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