South Australia has power problems. No base load supply has led to blackouts in times of high demand. Wind and solar power just can’t meet the market.
A fiercely ideological govt refuses to use coal because burning it supposedly adds to global warming. Even when there is no firm proof that
- global warming is bad and,
- that CO2 produced by man has any effect anyway.
Nevertheless, here we are, and what to do? Like a knight on a white charger Elon Musk to the rescue. On hearing of SA’s problems Musk made an offer originally through Twitter, to fix things within 100 days or there would be no charge.
Musk’s offer is short on specifics at this early stage, but appears to be based around a quote of $33 million for a 100 Megawatt batttery system. One would assume this is only for the batteries and there would be many other costs relating to land, operating expenditure and transmission requirements.
Many other companies are now jumping on the bandwagon with claims they can match Musk’s offer.
The state’s biggest power provider, AGL, told a Senate Committee last week that it has spent the past month trying to build an economic case for batteries. AGL says under current market rules, they don’t stand up without subsidy.
Meanwhile billions of tonnes of coal stay in the ground untouched and ignored because of faulty science. Same goes for gas, both conventional and unconventional.
Whatever happens with this battery deal, you can bet there will be taxpayer money in it somewhere. Musk’s last words were “it can only happen with government support”.
From a man who has attracted over $US5 billion in subsidies to his companies so far, this could be quite ominous for the South Australian taxpayer. Many people are skeptical about costs and viability. Let’s see what eventuates.