Tesla wants grid blue-print to reflect lower battery costs, greater flexibility

Tesla has called on the Australian grid operator to change the nation’s 20-year grid blue-print to reflect rapid technology developments in battery storage, including the rapidly falling cost of the technology.

In a submission to the Australian Energy Market Operator about its Integrated System Plan, Tesla suggests modelling should reflect battery life of 15 years, rather than 10 years, a 90 per cent round trip efficiency, rather than 81 per cent, and cheaper costs.

The submission suggests battery storage will play a greater role in Australia’s future grid than has been suggested in scenarios focused on pumped hydro, Snowy 2.0 and Tasmania’s Battery of the Nation plan.

Tesla’s observations highlight the need to reflect rapid shift in technologies.The US-based company would like to see a “fast-change” scenario where both distributed energy resources (known as DER and which include rooftop solar, battery storage and demand management) and large-scale renewable storage uptake are maximised.

“A ‘fast change’ scenario could then be viewed (as it is most likely to be interpreted) as an outlook that sees high growth in demand-side settings (strong uptake of rooftop PV, demand-side participation, EV and aggregated behind the meter storage) as well as strong supply side cost reductions at the utility scale,” Tesla says.

Tesla says cost assumptions around battery storage also need to be updated. For instance, it suggests that assuming having twice the capacity and therefore twice the costs in a single installation is wrong, because the fixed costs are more or less the same.

It also notes AEMO’s previous observations that the whole “value stream” of batteries needs to be better reflected. This is the responsibility of the market rule-maker, the AEMC. AEMO has said that only one third of battery services are recognised by the market.

Giles Parkinson