PM Affirms Renewables Discussion With Elon Musk
PM Affirms Renewables Discussion With Elon Musk

PM Affirms Renewables Discussion With Elon Musk


Following an offer to the South Australian government to build a 100 megawatt battery farm in under 100 days for $33 million, billionaire Elon Musk has spoken to prime minister Malcolm Turnbull about the SA energy sector and its recent power outages.

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Last week Mr Musk took to Twitter to offer his services to the state government, saying he would get “the system installed and working 100 days from contract signature or it is free” while adding “that serious enough for you?”

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He also confirmed that he had been in contact with SA premier Jay Weatherill, saying that he was “very impressed” with what he heard and that the government was “clearly committed to a smart, quick solution.”

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Following the tweets the SA government has denied that their discussion involved signing up for Mr Musk’s proposal, but that didn’t stop Mr Turnbull from lending his ear to the SpaceX and Tesla boss.

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“Thanks @elonmusk (Elon Musk) for a great in depth discussion today about energy storage and it’s (sic) role in delivering affordable and reliable electricity,” the Australian PM tweeted yesterday. 

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He also said wind and solar plants would not be able to replace coal-fired power stations due to their intermittent nature.

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Mr Musk tweeted back: “You’re most welcome. Very exciting to discuss the future of electricity. Renewables + storage arguably biggest disruption since DC to AC.”

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Mr Turnbull thanked Musk and replied “that’s why I asked our clean energy finance agencies to focus on storage” before adding “vital now w (with) generation more distributed & variable” which could possibly indicate that on some fronts they didn’t see eye-to-eye.

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The Liberal Coalition leader used February’s National Press Club speech to describe Labor’s plan to double the government’s renewable energy target by 2030 as a “mindless rush into renewables”, suggesting that coal power is still a priority for the incumbent government.

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He also said wind and solar plants would not be able to replace coal-fired power stations due to their intermittent nature.

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“As the world’s largest coal exporter, we (also) have a vested interest in showing that we can provide both lower emissions and reliable base load power with state-of-the-art clean coal-fired technology,” he added.

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“The next incarnation of our national energy policy should be technology agnostic. It’s security and cost that matters most, not how you deliver it. It’s clear that the Coalition stands for cheaper energy.” 

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Mr Musk’s proposal comes on the back of the worst power blackouts that South Australia had seen in decades due to a heatwave, as local energy production, which totals 750MW, struggled to cope in the heat.

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For reference, New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland all produce more than 6000MW, with Western Australia’s output sitting around 4500MW.

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Should the South Australian government take Elon Musk up on his offer? Tell us what you think in the comments below.

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