Sanjeev Gupta, executive chairman of Liberty House Group, center, speaks with employees at Arrium Ltd.’s OneSteel plant in Melbourne, Australia. (Photographer: Carla Gottgens/Bloomberg)

Metal Tycoon to Leapfrog Elon Musk With World's Biggest Battery

(Bloomberg) -- Sanjeev Gupta plans to snatch the world’s biggest battery crown from Tesla Inc. founder Elon Musk.

Simec Zen Energy, controlled by the U.K. executive’s GFG Alliance, agreed to build a 120-megawatt lithium-ion battery at Port Augusta in South Australia, State Premier Jay Weatherill said in an emailed statement Friday. While no timeline was given for completion, the battery size would exceed Musk’s 100-megawatt unit in the same state’s outback, which holds the current record. Other rivals may also overtake Musk including a South Korean project.

GFG, which last year added steel operations to iron ore mines in Australia, said the battery will help power a 200 megawatt solar farm at its Whyalla steelworks. Simec Zen hopes its Big Battery Project will provide grid stability and act as a buffer to power outages, which have included a state-wide blackout in September 2016.

“As well as being the most powerful battery in the world, Simec Zen’s storage facility will help underpin the long-term viability of the Whyalla steelworks as well as provide additional benefits to the South Australian grid,” Weatherill said.

The battery-storage industry is becoming increasingly important in places like South Australia, which has less access to traditional fossil-fuel sources like coal and gas than the rest of the nation. Instead, the region gets 50 percent of its electricity from renewable energy, one of the highest penetrations of wind and solar in the world.

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