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Take a look at ggm's comment -- the machine wasn't designed for power storage, it was designed for short bursts of frequency regulation.

When designing for grid-scale capacity, there are companies looking into flow batteries and chemistries that use cheaper (non-lithium) materials.

Tesla however built out tons of lithium manufacturing capacity for their cars, and given the design constraints of this project, their existing products were a good enough fit for the job at hand.

Indeed. And it's worth remembering that one of those design constraints for the South Australia project was Musk's "Done in 100 days or it's free" offer. While surely done for publicity, it was in fact included in the contractual agreement with the state government.

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