South Australia calls Musk on storage bet

Article by Adam Duckett

Elon Musk
Elon Musk has bet he can deliver system inside 100 days

SOUTH AUSTRALIA has called Elon Musk on a bet he made in March, and has challenged the billionaire entrepreneur to build an energy storage system that will help the state overcome its blackout woes.

Musk’s Tesla will install the world’s largest lithium ion battery at the Hornsdale Wind Farm in Jamestown, South Australia. The system – which will be made up of thousands of the batteries that Tesla uses in its cars – will store surplus energy from the wind farm and release it to the grid as needed, including when demand outstrips supply. Upon completion in December, the 100 MW/129 MWh system will provide enough power for 30,000 homes.

Musk made headlines after betting he could solve the state’s energy dilemma by getting an energy storage system “installed and working 100 days from contract signature or it’s free”.

The state government said in a statement announcing the deal with Tesla: “Confirming the commitment from Tesla CEO Elon Musk to deliver the battery within 100 days or it is free, it has been agreed between Tesla and the South Australian government that the starting date for the 100 days will be once the grid interconnection agreement has been signed.”

South Australia has sought to lead the renewables push but has suffered a series of blackouts described by State Premier Jau Weatherill as a “national crisis”. The shortfall, which saw 90,000 homes without power in February, has arisen as intermittent renewables capacity has increased, baseload power – in the form of coal-fired plants shutting down – has decreased, and natural gas has struggled to fill the gap.

In March, Weatherill outlined a plan to solve the crisis, including investments in gas-fired power and energy storage.

“Battery storage is the future of our national energy market, and the eyes of the world will be following our leadership in this space,” said Weatherill, as the deal with Tesla was announced.

This historic agreement does more than bring a sustainable energy giant in Telsa to South Australia, it will also have some significant economic spin-offs.”

Article by Adam Duckett

Editor, The Chemical Engineer

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