With energy blackouts and price spikes plaguing South Australia, Tesla Inc. chief executive Elon Musk is betting that his company can quickly solve the problem - or he'll hand over $25 million worth of the company's battery packs for free.
In a conversation on Twitter with Australian tech billionaire Mike Cannon-Brookes, Musk backed up an earlier commitment Tesla made Thursday to deploy its Powerwall and Powerpack products to supply up to 100 megawatt hours of power. In specific, the 100MWh system would need to be installed in less than 100 days, assuming Cannon-Brookes can provide the money and clear any politics that may prevent the installation from happening. The latter was impressed by the offer, who asked for Musk to message him the approximate costs for a 100-megawatt battery, cheekily adding "mates rates!"
Sarah Hanson-Young, a senator for South Australia replied "Let's talk" suggesting an openness to the venture.
South Australia was hit by a statewide blackout in September after a storm knocked out the transmission system.
Work begins to restore electricity as 665k DTE Energy customers wait
She said 320,000 Consumers Energy customers have been affected by the windstorm, and said 160,000 have had their power restored. DTE in a separate statement expressed confidence that 90% of homes should see power by Sunday as well.
The exchange came after Tesla's battery division boss, Lyndon Rive, said the company was capable of installing battery storage in SA of up to 300MWh.
Tesla has both commercial and consumer versions of its innovative energy system that uses solar power to charge large batteries.
There's no official word as yet on whether the government will be taking Musk up on the offer, but several politicians have shown serious interest.
A Change.org petition to bring the Tesla solution to South Australia was also started by one of Cannon-Brooke's followers and it will be delivered to Premier Jay Weatherill once it meets the required number of signatures. Weatherill, in a Twitter post Friday, said he's "looking forward" to discussing the Tesla proposal. 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. The problem wasn't so much total energy production; rather, it's the short period of time after everyone arrives home from work and kicks on the AC that has been causing blackouts.