Can giant Tesla batteries solve South Australia's energy woes?

11 March, 2017, 00:50 | Author: Elaine Woods
  • Tesla Model X

In fact, Musk gave himself a 100-day deadline for the installation - or the batteries would be free.

Musk's offer was prompted by a question by Australian tech billionaire Atlassian co-founder and co-CEO Mike Cannon-Brookes via Twitter. Having offered to "make the $ happen (& politics)", he then told Mr Musk: "You're on mate". "Is that serious enough for you?" In an interview, he said that Tesla would commit to solving the power trouble by installing about 100-300 megawatt-hours (MWh) of batteries in the state.

"I think they are entering this with their eyes open, knowing that there is some risk here", Mr Musk said. The causes of this are twofold: demand exceeding supply, and recurring failures in the state's power generation infrastructure. If the system is not operational in 100 days, the AUD$33 million (USD$25 million) technology will be provided for free.

"Coal-fired power plants have been closing across Australia in recent months, hiking energy bills and contributing to blackouts like those suffered in South Australia". "Battery storage is something the South Australian Government would welcome and support". Prime minister Malcolm Turnbull also declared a national energy emergency at the Australian Financial Business Review Summit earlier this week. Rive added that this could be achieved within 100 days.

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Tesla has already completed an 80MWh grid-scale battery farm in California, in 90 days, for US$100m, so the precedent has been set for the scale of project.

The Tesla CEO took to Twitter on today (March 10) to offer the Australian state a solution to its worsening blackouts.

Lyndon Rive, who heads Tesla's battery division, said in an interview with AFR Australia that the company was able to deliver the battery packs thanks to increased production at its battery 'Gigafactory' in Nevada.

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