Tesla CEO Elon Musk made a promise on 10 March this year, a promise that seemed like a tall order. Musk had promised to build the biggest lithium-ion battery in the world in an effort to help South Australia with its crippling energy problems. The deal was initiated and negotiated on Twitter when Musk said: “100 days from contract signature or it’s free.” Not just delivering on his promise, Musk has in fact been ahead of schedule with the 100MW battery set to be energised and tested in the coming days. Tesla Powerpacks have been installed and connected at Neoen’s Hornsdale windfarm, north of Adelaide, and battery tests will be run to ensure local regulatory requirements are met before it begins operating on December 1st.
Atlassian CEO and Australian billionaire Mike Cannon-Brookes tweeted that he would handle the politics and funding if Musk was serious about this venture, and also asked for “mates rates” for the battery farm. Whether or not the Australian government agrees to the deal will be known later, however considering Tesla’s track record, it is highly like the company will land the contract. Last year, it built an 80MW battery farm in California within 90 days.
The announcement was a result of a tweet from energy products VP at Tesla Lyndon Rive when he said that the company could install up to 300-megawatt hours of grid-scale battery storage within 100 days if requested.
The state in question, South Australia, has been suffering from constant blackouts since more than last six months. Last month too the state suffered a blackout during a 104F heatwave. The Australian Energy Market Operator has pointed out to factors like excessive demand, and now the concern has turned into a political argument.
Also, a number of coal-powered plants have been shut in the country, further increasing power bills and increasing frequency of blackouts. While on one hand, Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has said to bring back fossil fuel plants for a ‘coal-fired future’, Tesla’s battery farms would prove to be a much more sustainable solution in the long-run.
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