| MELBOURNE, March 10
MELBOURNE, March 10 Tesla Inc boss Elon
Musk on Friday offered to save Australia's most renewable-energy
dependent state from blackouts by installing 100 megawatt hours
worth of battery storage within 100 days of signing a contract.
The offer follows a string of power outages in the state of
South Australia, including a blackout that left industry
crippled for up to two weeks, and stoked fears of more outages
across the national electricity market due to tight supplies.
Musk made the ambitious offer on social media, and the
government said it could consider backing such a battery roll
out by Tesla.
"The government stands ready through ARENA and the CEFC to
work with companies with serious proposals to support the
deployment of more storage," Environment and Energy Minister
Josh Frydenberg said in an email to Reuters.
ARENA is the Australian Renewable Energy Agency and the CEFC
is the Clean Energy Finance Corp.
Musk made the offer in response to a comment made on social
media by Mike Cannon-Brookes, the co-founder of Australian
software maker Atlassian Corp, who said he would be
willing to line up funding and political support if Tesla could
supply batteries that would solve South Australia's problems.
Musk responded by tweeting: "Tesla will get the system
installed and working 100 days from contract signature or it is
free. That serious enough for you?"
He quoted a price of $250 per kilowatt hour for 100 megawatt
hour systems, which would imply a price of $25 million for the
battery packs, when Cannon-Brookes asked for an estimate.
"You're on mate. Give me 7 days to try sort out politics &
funding," tweeted Cannon-Brookes, who could not be immediately
reached for further comment.
Tesla launched its Powerwall 2 in Australia, the world's top
market for rooftop solar. Battery storage is just one of several
options the government is looking to back in order to ensure
reliable power supplies as the country grows more reliant on
intermittent wind and solar power.
"We have been talking with a number of large-scale battery
providers about potential storage solutions, including in South
Australia. To the extent Tesla is interested, we'll also talk
with them," Clean Energy Finance Corp Chief Executive Oliver
Yates said in an emailed statement.
Following a record-breaking summer, Australia's energy
market operator warned this week that eastern Australia
desperately needs more gas for power stations within the next
two years to provide back-up electricity for wind and solar and
(Reporting by Sonali Paul; Editing by Randy Fabi)