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Eco Buzz | Tesla to Build World’s Largest Battery System, Australian Supermarket Giants to Phase Out Plastic Bags

Eco Buzz | Tesla to Build World's Largest Battery System, Australian Supermarket Giants to Phase Out Plastic Bags
EWP Team
Written by EWP Team

You’re reading Eco Buzz, EWP’s summary of the green news stories that will get you thinking and talking – and perhaps moving and shaking…

Tesla Powerpack to supply South Australia with clean energy 

Tesla has been granted approval to build the world’s largest lithium-ion battery in South Australia.

Last September the state of South Australia was hit with a 50-year storm that caused a state-wide blackout and damaged critical infrastructure leaving 1.7 million residents without electricity. Further blackouts occurred in early 2017 – in the midst of an Australian summer – which prompted Tesla vice-president of energy products Lyndon Rive to explain to the Australian Financial Review how Tesla could solve South Australia’s power supply woes.

After the article was published, a Twitter frenzy ensued culminating in Tesla founder Elon Musk making his famous promise of fixing the state’s energy crisis by building the world’s largest battery system and have it working within 100 days “or it’s free”.

Last week, through a competitive bidding process, Tesla was awarded the entire energy storage system component of the project – a system that will provide 100 megawatts of capacity (100 MW) and provide 129 megawatt-hours (129 MWh) of energy generation to the region. It is referred to as the Tesla Powerpack battery farm.

Tesla will partner with French renewable energy provider Neoen and the consortium will be known as the Hornsdale Power Reserve. According to the South Australian government, Tesla and Neoen’s proposal was “the best value for money” of the 90 responses it received.

Related Post: Tesla Expands it Supercharging and Destination Charging Network in Australia

“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 AU$1 billion since 2013,” Neoen Deputy CEO Romain Desrousseaux said. “South Australian customers will be the first to benefit from this technology, which will demonstrate that large-scale battery storage is both possible and, now, commercially viable. Together, the South Australian Government, Neoen and Tesla will demonstrate that renewables can provide dependable, distributable power that will turn a new page in Australia’s energy future.”

Tesla Powerpack to be built in South Australia - World's Largest Battery System

Upon completion in December 2017, Tesla will go down in history as having built the world’s largest lithium-ion battery — 60 percent larger than any other large-scale battery energy storage system on earth. It will generate enough power for more than 30,000 homes, almost equal to the number of homes that lost power during the blackout period. – Jennifer Nini


Australian supermarket giants Coles and Woolworths say no to plastic bags

Australia’s supermarket duopoly Coles and Woolworths have announced plans to get rid of all single-use plastic bags by June 30 next year.

All nationwide stores across the Woolworths group – including Woolworths Supermarkets and Metro stores, Big W, BWS, Woolworths Online Dan Murphy’s and Cellarmasters’ – will phase out single-use plastic bags over the next 12 months.

Related Post: Divorcing the Big Supermarkets

According to the ABC TV Program War on Waste, Australians use more than 10 million plastic bags a day. Consequently, this decision will have a significant positive impact on the environment.

Announcing its plans in Double Bay, Woolworths Group CEO Brad Banducci said the group currently gives out more than 3.2 billion lightweight plastic bags a year. “Today’s commitment shows we are committed to taking our environmental and community responsibilities seriously,” he said.

Its decision will only affect stores in New South Wales, Victoria and Western Australia. South Australia, ACT, the Northern Territory and Tasmania have already implemented state-wide plastic bag bans, and Queensland plans to do so next year.

The supermarkets will encourage shoppers to use reusable bags, as German company ALDI have been doing since they opened their debut store in Australia in 2001. With more than 470 stores across the country, ALDI proves that the “ban the bag” policy is scalable.

Related Post: 20 Steps to Plastic-Free Living

Woolworths said more durable plastic bags would be made available at a cost of 15 cents, with reusable hessian bags costing about $2.

NSW Greens MP and Environment spokesperson, Dr Mehreen Faruqi MLC, has welcomed news that both Woolworths and Coles will phase out single use plastic bags in NSW over the next 12 months.

Dr Faruqi said: “While NSW Government is unwilling to take action, big businesses like Woollies and Coles have taken it upon themselves to ban single use plastic bags in NSW. Their decisions are welcome indeed… Community support is huge. People can see evidence of destruction caused by plastic bags to environment, especially the impacts on marine life including turtles and sea birds.”  – Jennifer Nini

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