Elon Musk’s Pledge
For Elon Musk, Australia’s energy crisis is nothing that can’t be sorted by installing 100 to 300 megawatts of battery storage. Granted, he doesn't have the storage set up just yet, but since he has been given the go signal to start building it, Musk is confident that his team can complete it in just 100 days.
Storms in across Australia caused serious damage to infrastructure and a series of blackouts throughout the continent. This prompted energy companies to raise their rates to meet demand for electricity in the region. After Musk’s cousin, Lyndon Rive, suggested the battery storage as a solution for South Australia, Mike Cannon-Brookes, CEO of Atlassian, asked for more information.
@mcannonbrookes Tesla will get the system installed and working 100 days from contract signature or it is free. That serious enough for you?
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) March 10, 2017
Cannon-Brookes tweeted Rive and Musk if he was serious about the offer — to which Musk replied that not only was he serious, he was going to do it in the time frame he suggested or it’s free. On Cannon-Brookes' end, he asked the Tesla CEO for seven days to "sort out politics and funding."
For anyone who doubts that Tesla can complete the project in time, note that Tesla took on a similar project last year in California. The project was only slightly smaller in scale than the one being planned for South Australia, and yet the 80-MW farm intended to provide grid scale power in response to the state's power shortages was completed in just 90 days.
Around the World
Musk’s Twitter promise was applauded by many Australians, including the country’s Prime Minister, Malcom Turnbull, who thanked the Tesla CEO after an in-depth discussion about how energy storage can continue to deliver affordable and reliable electricity. It also caught the attention of other countries who are in the midst of dealing with their own energy crisis.
Several Twitter users from Ukraine asked Musk to bring a similar project to their country and inquired as to how much it would cost, to which Musk offered the same figure he quoted for the Australia — $250 per kWh to produce over 100 MWh. Musk’s reply prompted Ukrainian Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman to discuss the project in further detail.
@5AllanLeVito @mcannonbrookes @VGroysman Sure. Just check out my prior tweet on pricing ($250 kWh at pack level). Website will be updated soon, so there is complete transparency.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) March 12, 2017
Meanwhile, in New Zealand, co-founder of agricultural technology firm Acuris Systems Matthew Warner asked Musk if he could visit the country, implying interest for a similar storage project.
Given the interest that world leaders are starting to show for Tesla's energy storage technology, it certainly seems like Musk's vision of a future anchored on sustainable and renewable energy sources is definitely within reach.