• Quick fix to Australia's energy crisis 140 characters at a time
Quick fix to Australia's energy crisis 140 characters at a time
07 Dec, 2017, No Comment

Summary: The Australian Financial Review's 2017 Business Summit became particularly memorable when Malcolm Turnbull used it to declare a national energy crisis, defining the business issue of the year.....

The Prime Minister called an urgent meeting of big gas producers to come up with solutions to a looming domestic gas shortage without imposing export restrictions on Queensland's new LNG industry.

 The national debate started to understand that the energy crisis highlighted by a statewide South Australian power blackout was a gas crisis as well as an electricity crisis.  

At the Summit in Sydney was Mike Cannon-Brookes, billionaire co-founder of software company Atlassian and about to be interviewed on stage by technology editor Paul Smith as the Financial Review's co-business person of the year. 

Pretty much at the same time, Financial Review journalist Ben Potter attended the Melbourne launch of Tesla's Powerwall 2 residential battery by Lyndon Rive, the cousin of Tesla founder Elon Musk. 

Tesla had built a large grid-scale battery near Los Angeles in 90 days in 2016. "Could Tesla do the same in South Australia?" Potter asked Rive. 

Tesla's then energy head obliged: it would install a battery of at least 100megawatt hours in 100days. Cannon-Brookes saw the Financial Review's story about Rive's offer posted on Twitter and tweeted to Musk: "Lyndon and @ElonMusk, how serious are you about this bet? If I can make the $ happen (and politics), can you guarantee the 100MW in 100 days?"

Musk memorably responded the next morning: "Tesla will get the system installed and working 100 days from contract signature or it is free. That serious enough for you?"

Tesla's 100-megawatt battery, three times larger than any lithium ion battery in the world, was switched on last week and has already sent power into the grid. It is the first large battery to market in Australia.


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