From The Australian:
US tech magnate Elon Musk is so confident he can fix South Australia’s energy woes he declared Tesla will get a statewide system installed and working 100 days from signing a contract, or it’s free.
Mr Musk, who runs electric car giant Tesla, which recently merged with his solar energy outfit SolarCity, was responding to Atlassian boss Mike Cannon-Brookes who tweeted ‘Holy s#%t’ in reference to the plans.
“[SolarCity co-founder] Lyndon & @elonmusk — how serious are you about this bet? If I can make the $ happen (& politics), can you guarantee the 100MW in 100 days?,” Mr Cannon-Brookes asked.
“Tesla will get the system installed and working 100 days from contract signature or it is free. That serious enough for you?” was the response from Mr Musk.
And there it is. That easy to fix! Of course this is a gimmick to coincide with the launch of the Tesla Powerwall 2 range yesterday but the thrust of it is right. We don’t need to go back in time to stabilise the grid with coal. Personal and industrial scale storage can do it. Solar and wind are already the cheapest levelised cost of power at the utility scale:
When it comes to adding utility scale storage as a stabiliser for intermittent power, the appropriate comparison is with the gas peaking plant above. Batteries are already competitive. Unfortunately I only have the 2015 levelised cost of storage:
But battery costs have fallen -40% since then:
My rough estimate is that utility scale battery storage is already cheaper than gas peaking plants on a levelised cost basis and it will keep falling whereas gas is going up! The Age records batteries as very cheap:
The Californian company’s energy products vice-president Lyndon Rive said it could install up to 300 megawatt hours of grid-scale battery storage in that timeframe at a cost of about $66 million per 100 megawatt hours.
“If you had storage deployed during the blackout [in] South Australia you wouldn’t have had the blackout,” Mr Rive said.
It is understood the company believes the proposal would require a change in electricity market rules, but not a direct subsidy.
Tesla is not the first to make this sort of suggestion. Zen Energy, chaired by economist Ross Garnaut, last month said its proposal for a $100 million large-scale solar plant with battery storage could solve most of South Australia’s electricity problems if rules were changed to make it viable.
Gas does, however, have the rather large advantage of already having been built, which is where the politics come in.
All of that anti-renewables Do-nothing bluster blowing in the wind.