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Can Tesla fix SA’s power woes?

According to a story in the Sydney Morning Herald, Tesla’s Elon Musk has put domestic battery storage on the national agenda with his offer last week to solve South Australia’s power crisis for free if he did not deliver a large system with 100 days of signing a contract.

Now both Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill are purportedly looking for more details before taking him up on the offer.

This goes hand in hand with the comments from the head of Tesla’s battery division Lyndon Rive, who recently said that the company could solve Australia South Australia’s electricity supply issues because of increased battery production out of Nevada’s Gigafactory, according to the AFR.

Rive said that the company would be able to install 100-300 megawatt (MWH) batteries within 100 days of any contract with South Australia.

He also claimed the company could also supply Victoria with batteries which would help ameliorate the closure of Hazelwood power plant, which may cause more frequent blackouts along the eastern seaboard.

Rive said the cost for large installations had come down to $US400-600 (A$535.05- $799.05) per kilowatt-hour of capacity depending on the configuration, or about $US50 million ($A65 million) per 100MWh, with reductions for large-scale installations.

The Powerwall Two units – $10,000 installed in Australia – could be stacked larger households or businesses, up to nine in each stack, carrying about a 126KWh of capacity. Eight stacks would pack a MWh. They will be ready for delivery in Australia next month.

Rive also said that power stations are obsolete because households with solar power can install batteries to go off-grid.

“The worst possible outcome” would be to continue investing in the grid as solar panels and storage were rolled out to millions of households, Rive said.


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