An Australian company has announced a bold plan to build Australia’s first “gigafactory” in Darwin, producing custom-made lithium-ion batteries for large-scale energy storage.
Energy Renaissance said, if it were to go ahead, the huge manufacturing plant would supply commercial customers in telecommunications, defence and government sectors.
Energy Renaissance plans to use patented technology from US company 24M to build batteries that can withstand harsher conditions.
The Northern Territory Government confirmed it was in talks with the company about the facility, to be called Renaissance One, which it estimates could create dozens of jobs at first, and hundreds in the long term.
But a statement from a spokesman for the Chief Minister noted “Cabinet is yet to consider their proposals”.
Gigafactory is a term for factories that can produce gigawatts of battery storage.
Mr Craighead said the factory would be capable of producing one gigawatt of lithium-ion battery cells each year.
He said the East Arm industrial precinct in Darwin was the perfect spot for the factory given the access to shipping routes to Asia, where the company hoped to sell their batteries.
The move follows an announcement by entrepreneur Elon Musk that his company, Tesla, would partner with the South Australian government to install the world’s biggest lithium-ion battery.
Tesla already has the world’s largest gigafactory in the US state of Nevada, but Mr Craighead said the Darwin project would be on a smaller scale, targeting niche consumers with the capacity to produce bespoke batteries.
“We’re a niche player,” he said.
Su McCluskey, the chairwoman of Energy Renaissance’s board, said the company also saw opportunities to provide energy to remote communities.
“If you look at the Northern Territory, the number of remote communities, Indigenous communities, something like battery storage can really provide that solution to give them access to services,” she said
This article was originally published by ABC.net.au.