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Zainab Calcuttawala

Zainab Calcuttawala

Zainab Calcuttawala is an American journalist based in Morocco. She completed her undergraduate coursework at the University of Texas at Austin (Hook’em) and reports on…

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Musk Guarantees Tesla Technology Can Solve South Australia’s Power Deficit


Elon Musk bets his company, Tesla, can bring over 100 megawatts of energy to South Australia’s grid via battery in 100 days, according to a recent Twitter exchange the Silicon Valley CEO had with Australian billionaire Mike Cannon Brookes.

If Tesla fails in this wager, Musk guaranteed that the company would still complete the task, free of cost.

Record high temperatures in South Australia have increased the burden on the local electrical grid, causing outages in the region.

Software mogul Cannon Brookers had cited an article that featured Tesla executive Lyndon Rive, who told a member of the press that technology used in the Gigafactory plant in Nevada—which mass produces lithium-ion battery cells—could be used to solve Australia’s power shortages within one hundred days of the project being proposed.

“How serious are you about this bet?” Cannon-Brookes tweeted Thursday. “If I can make the $ happen (& politics), can you guarantee the 100 MW in 100 days?”

In response, Musk posted: “Tesla will get the system installed and working 100 days from contract signature or it is free. That serious enough for you?”

Cannon-Brookes asked for one week to sort out the “politics and funding” behind the project and charged Musk with preparing a “mates rates” version of estimated costs.

Related: Australia’s 100% Renewable Energy Grid

Musk responded with a fixed cost of $250 per kilowatt hour for systems that produce over 100 megawatt hours of energy, adding that Tesla offered fixed prices for all customers.

The Los Angeles Times reached out to Tesla, a company known for its premium consumer electric cars, for comment, but did not receive a response by press time.

By Zainab Calcuttawala for Oilprice.com

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  • JHM on March 13 2017 said:
    Two typos here.

    It's Cannon-Brookes, not Cannon-Brookers.
    It's $250 per kWh, not $250,000.

    Otherwise, this is a great article. History is being made here. These three deadset mates, Mike, Jay and Elon, can get this done, and they have tremendous public support.

    There is a cautionary tales here for gas. Gas producers signed away 70% of Austalian gas in long-term LNG export contracts. Now the domestic price has soared from $4/mmBtu to over $8/mmBtu as this is the cost of buying back LNG from Asian markets to resupply the domestic market. At $8/mmBtu for gas now, wind and solar become super cheap by comparison. Batteries are now cheap too and will step in to firm up wind and solar and drive down the cost of peak power.

    So the Australian gas industry has sold out its domestic market to chase the illusive LNG export market. The public is pissed and will gladly accelerate the transition to batteries and renewables. Should US gas producers do the same thing? Go ahead. Chase LNG and the likes of Tesla will eat your lunch in the domestic market.
  • Inconvenient Profit on March 11 2017 said:
    Zainab should stay in her lane. Musk promised to add storage, not "energy." From the original source article: "The site uses the batteries to store electricity at night and during other off-peak hours so the electrons can be put back into the grid when power use increases." So the generating plants still have to produce the energy.

    But storing and retrieving electric energy in batteries is very inefficient -- less efficient than additional generating capacity. Additional capacity will have to be built soon any way as they already have blackouts. It's not magic, just a band-aid.
  • EH on March 10 2017 said:

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