After South Australia experienced a major blackout recently, Tesla CEO Elon Musk publicly proposed that his company could install an energy storage system to solve the problem, and that if the system wasn’t installed within 100 days of signing a grid connection agreement, he was willing to do the job for free.
Just such a grid connection agreement was signed on Friday, according to company execs, setting the stage for Tesla’s promised 100-days-or-its-free installation blitz to become a reality.
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
So, as it now stands, if Elon Musk’s tweet is to be believed, the state of South Australia (which has an exceptionally high percentage of wind and solar energy) will have a functioning 129 megawatt-hour (MWh) battery facility within 100 days … or the project will be completely free.
This news follows Tesla winning a bid to develop the 129 MWh facility back in July, but, again, the grid connection agreement was just signed today.
This will be the highest power battery system in the world by a factor of 3. Australia rocks!! https://t.co/c1DD7xtC90
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) July 7, 2017
Electricity demand in South Australia peaks during the summer, which is in December, so the state’s aim is for the facility to be up and running before then — so as to avoid last year’s electricity supply problems.
As implied above, since the bid was won back in July, Tesla actually began construction on the project a while back — with the project now approximately half complete, reportedly.
At an event highlighting the passing of the 50% complete mark, Elon Musk stated: “This is just the beginning. What this serves as is a great example of what can be done.”
Reuters provides more: “Musk was speaking from the construction site of the battery, which is being built at a wind farm operated by France’s Neoen that is located about 225 km (141 miles) from the South Australian capital of Adelaide and will supply power to the lithium-ion storage cells.”
— Jay Weatherill (@JayWeatherill) July 7, 2017
Here’s more from the Reuters coverage: “South Australia hopes the Tesla battery will forestall further blackouts, but Australia’s Treasurer Scott Morrison says it is just a ‘Hollywood solution’ that is not solving the bigger problem of how to supply power when the wind isn’t blowing.
“’The batteries are on track to be operational by December 1,’ South Australia Energy Minister Tom Koutsantonis told Reuters. … The battery has been designed to help cover temporary dips in wind power, say for 15 minutes, or help control frequency on the grid at times when natural gas-fired plants are unable to help balance generation and power demand.”
It looks as if there are still naysayers despite Tesla’s clear popularity and success to date. Tesla’s Musk isn’t phased and expects the project to deliver an important part of the grid solution needed in South Australia. He also revealed that if the company failed to deliver on time, it would cost the company more than $50 million.