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Tesla builds world's largest battery -- in just 100 days

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Tesla has built the world's largest battery in less than 100 days, with founder Elon Musk tweeting his congratulations Thursday to the company team behind the effort.

Tesla had promised to provide a Powerpack battery with the capacity of 100 MW/129 megawatt-hours in 100 days. The company said the battery, based in Jamestown, South Australia, will be charged using energy from the nearby Hornsdale wind farm and will deliver energy during peak usage hours to help maintain supply across the state.

South Australia was hit with a statewide power outage in September 2016 when a storm knocked out supply from the state's transmission network. The problem left an area four times the size of the United Kingdom in the dark.

But in the war of words that followed between the state's Labor government and the conservative federal government, Tesla was pulled into the fray.

The head of Tesla's battery division came out to say the company could solve South Australia's power woes within 100 days, by supplying 100 to 300 MWh of storage -- enough to shore up supply across the state. Australian entrepreneur and Atlassian co-founder Mike Cannon-Brookes called Musk on his bet on Twitter, and Musk doubled down.

After winning the contract, Tesla said in July it expected the battery to be completed by December. And like the Big Merino -- a giant sheep built off the highway south of Sydney, and arguably one of Australia's greatest cultural touchstones -- Musk wants the Big Battery to be a "tourist destination" in and of itself.

"I think what this serves as is a great example to the rest of the world of what can be done," Musk said in a video touting the project in October. "This is actually what the future will look like, and the faster we get there, the better."

It's not the first major battery project to come to South Australia. In March this year, Australian solar and battery storage company Lyon Group announced it would start building the "world's biggest" battery and solar farm in the north of the state in September.   

CNET Senior Editor Claire Reilly contributed to this report

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