NINJA STAR READY TO HIT THE AIR World’s big­gest bat­tery

Townsville Bulletin - - NATION - ADAM LANGENBERG & PAUL PURCELL

A SMALL town in the South Aus­tralian out­back will be­come home to the world’s big­gest lithium ion bat­tery as one of the world’s rich­est men seeks to help that state cope with its power woes.

La­bor Pre­mier Jay Weather­ill hailed South Aus­tralia as a world leader in re­new­able en­ergy, but the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment warned the project would only go a small way to solv­ing the state’s en­ergy chal- “DISCO ninja” Betsy Bur­nett may mea­sure in at just 150cm, but the 27- year- old is de­ter­mined not to fall short of her goals on the world’s tough­est ob­sta­cle course.

The for­mer freestyle disco dancer and per­sonal trainer will be among the 250 chal­lengers tack­ling the course in Nine’s Ninja War­rior, which launches lenges. Tesla founder Elon Musk will part­ner with French re­new­able en­ergy de­vel­oper Neoen and the Gov­ern­ment to cre­ate a 100MW bat­tery farm half the size of Ade­laide Oval in Jamestown.

The tech bil­lion­aire dou­bled down on a so­cial me­dia post in March vow­ing to fix South Aus­tralia’s power prob­lems in­side 100 days, in­sist­ing the SA Gov­ern­ment not pay a cent if the project went over­time. The bat­tery sys­tems will be paired with 99 wind tur­bines at Neoen’s Horns­dale Wind Farm, out­side Jamestown, with 70 per cent of its gen­er­a­tion to be re­served for gov­ern­ment use and the rest to be fed into the mar­ket.

Mr Musk said the “mas­sive in­stal­la­tion” would cre­ate a huge num­ber of lo­cal jobs dur­ing con­struc­tion but said the to­mor­row night. Bur­nett ( above) said while her height is one of the first things peo­ple com­ment on, she wants to prove that she is more than just a pint- sized pocket- rocket. “When peo­ple meet me, they’re like ‘ oh my gosh, you’re so cute, I just want to pick you up,’” she said.

“But I’ve picked them up in­stead.” self- sus­tain­ing “bat­tery farm” would yield few on­go­ing jobs.

The bil­lion­aire said there was “some risk” to the plan – a cru­cial tenet of an SA Gov­ern­ment’s $ 550 mil­lion en­ergy plan ne­ces­si­tated by a num­ber of black­outs and soaring en­ergy prices.

“This is not a mi­nor foray into the fron­tier,” Mr Musk said. “We’re con­fi­dent in our mod­el­ling tech­niques and in the de­sign of the sys­tem but when­ever you make some­thing three times big­ger than any­thing that’s come be­fore, there’s al­ways some risk.”

All par­ties have signed off on the plan, but the 100- day count­down will not be­gin un­til it re­ceives the tick of ap­proval from the Aus­tralian En­ergy Mar­ket Op­er­a­tor.

SA Pre­mier Jay Weather­ill has con­tin­u­ally promised the bat­tery would be in place by the start of sum­mer, and stuck with that time frame yes­ter­day.

He hailed the “his­toric agree­ment”, which he said would trans­form the way re­new­able en­ergy was stored and sta­bilise SA’s elec­tric­ity grid.

“SA has been lead­ing the na­tion in re­new­able en­ergy – now we are lead­ing the world in bat­tery stor­age,” he said.

“It opens up new pos­si­bil­i­ties for re­new­able en­ergy in this state, in this na­tion and around the world to be dis­patch­able.”

Pic­ture: JUSTIN LLOYD

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