Elon Musk is just the hero South Australia needed as the region continues to face energy woes in the wake of storms that have recently assailed it.
CNBC reports that Elon Musk has offered to fix the Australian state's power crisis within 100 days, saying that it would be free of charge if he fails to meet the deadline.The Tesla founder says that he can have a 100MW battery storage installed in the region, which should be more than sufficient enough to solve the power shortages that have been causing blackouts and price spikes in the South Australia. Since the storm laid waste to the region's energy infrastructure, local energy firms have been having difficulties meeting the spike in demand.
Elon Musk said that he can fix SA's energy crisis within 100 days thanks to the increased production of Tesla's Gigafactory in Nevada."Because of the big factory that we've built that is now operational, that's caused a boost in production and made it cost effective," he explained. "Combine that with integrating the inverter with the technology — it works very efficiently — which is why we are very confident that this tech can stabilise the grid."
Mike Cannon-Brookes, Australian founder of Silicon Valley firm Atlassian, which is worth $6.3 billion, tweeted Musk on Friday to ask him if he was serious about his offer.
Elon Musk responded, saying that Tesla could do it within 100 days of the contract being signed. He added that the offer is free if the company fails to meet the deadline.
"That serious enough for you?" Musk asked at the end of the tweet.
The Atlassian founder accepted the offer, and told Musk to give him seven days to sort out "politics & funding." He then requested a price quote, to which Musk responded saying that it would cost $250 per kWh for 100MWh+ systems.Elon Musk also caught the attention of SA Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young, who tweeted the billionaire, "Lets talk!" Lyndon Rive, Musk's cousin and SolarCity co-founder, said that Tesla's battery system could resolve the power shortage from the Hazelwood power plant closure in Victoria and address South Australia's blackouts.
"We don't have 300MWh sitting there ready to go but I'll make sure there are," he told Australian media site AFR.
The government reportedly made a statement that it would consider Elon Musk's offer, as reported by Fortune.
"The government stands ready through ARENA and the CEFC to work with companies with serious proposals to support the deployment of more storage," Environment and Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg told Reuters in an email.
Guardian reports that Tesla recently finished the installation of an 80MWh grid-scale battery farm in southern California within 90 days. The project cost $100m US dollars.
South Australia has suffered from repeated blackouts since September of last year. This resulted to political tensions in the federal government over energy policy, particularly in regards to the alleged failures of renewable technologies. The region's most recent blackout occurred in early February, but the Australian Energy Market Operator claimed that higher-than-usual demand and many other factors are to blame for it.Elon Musk's grid scale battery storage could help stabilize price spikes, prevent blackouts, and improve reliability across the power network.
Tesla recently launched Powerwall 2 in Australia, which Rive said was an attractive target for rooftop solar.
"Why we focused on the Australian [market] is you've got 1.6 million customers already with solar panels," Rive said.
With the country growing ever more reliant on intermittent wind and solar power, the government is looking at battery storage as a more viable option to stabilize South Australia's power infrastructure and ensure reliability in power storage.
"We have been talking with a number of large-scale battery providers about potential storage solutions, including in South Australia. To the extent Tesla is interested, we'll also talk with them," Clean Energy Finance Corp Chief Executive Oliver Yates said in an emailed statement.
[Featured Image by Ringo H.W. Chiu/AP Images]