6 December 2017

Hyundai Electric to break the record for world’s largest battery

South Korea’s Hyundai Electric is set to build a 150 megawatt (MW) lithium ion battery, competing against Tesla’s recent achievement of building the largest battery in Australia within 100 days.

The company has announced that the mega industrial energy storage system (ESS) has been ordered by Korea Zinc, a metal smelting company at a cost of $45 million, to be located at its Ulsan refinery near the southeast coast.

Korea Zinc has long announced its plans to become energy self-sufficient and reduce electricity costs at the same time, also complying with the Government’s focus on renewables and  air pollution mitigation efforts.

The Korean government has set up generous incentives for industrial actors to embark on battery storage solutions by deploying a special electricity discount programme for ESS-supported energy generation in early 2016.

The company expects to save almost $60 million in electricity expenses over the next three years, and even when the incentive programme stops the company will be saving more than $6 million every year.

Its metal refineries are heavily energy intensive due to the melting process involving electrolysis. In 2016, Korea Zinc spent almost $270 million on electricity bills, accounting for 5.5 percent of its total annual revenue.

The word is that due to the Government’s plans to phase out nuclear and shift to renewable energy, more companies are expected to install an ESS.  

The project is expected to be commissioned in February, breaking the record of the largest battery in the world which is currently held by Tesla’s 129 MW facility, recently completed in Queensland, Australia.

Bloomberg New Energy Finance argues that battery costs have dropped by almost half since 2014, making industrial consumers increasingly interested in battery storage investments.

The global ESS market was worth $2.6 billion in 2016 and it is projected to grow nearly tenfold to $29.2 billion by 2025.

Ali Asghar, a BNEF senior associate commented: “Musk has set a benchmark on how quickly you can install and commission a battery of this size making battery storage a compelling mainstream option for energy-storage applications in many areas around the world, and projects even bigger than Tesla’s are now under construction.”

By the end of 2017, industry players will have completed 1,650 megawatts (MW) of lithium-ion battery projects- four times the installed capacity of 2016. 

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