Elon Musk’s dire warning on power

BILLIONAIRE Elon Musk can't believe the mess Australia finds itself, in regard to its power supply problems.

In July the Telsa boss agreed to build the world's largest lithium ion battery in order to secure South Australia's power supply in the wake of a statewide blackout.

But the Space X CEO had no idea of the firestorm of how to power Australia, he had walked into.

In an interview on Channel 9's 60 Minutes tonight, Musk said was unaware of the politically-charged conflict and bickering between the states and the Commonwealth over Australia's future energy sources and power costs he was now caugh in the middle of.

"I didn't realise there was this big battle going on," he told the program.

"I just didn't know."

The acclaimed inventor said he was also hurt by criticism of the Federal Government of his battery plans for South Australia. Treasurer Scott Morrison, for one, compared the idea to Australia's tourist attractions such as the Big Prawn and the Big Banana.

"We get that (criticism) all the time," Musk said.

"It can be a little disheartening."

Musk was stunned when told by 60 Minutes presenter Liz Hayes of the cost of electricity in Australia, and the fight to keep power costs under control.

When Hayes said people were opting not to use electricity at all to save money, Musk replied: "Wow. Really? I didn't realise it was that expensive to go the fossil fuel route.

"I mean Australia has so many natural resources, electricity should be cheap."

Musk has promised to help alleviated South Australia’s energy problems. Picture: AAP
Musk has promised to help alleviated South Australia’s energy problems. Picture: AAP

Musk said Australia should now be happy that it is helping to lead the way in the quest for new energy sources with South Australia's massive battery.

"People in Australia should be proud of the fact that Australia has the world's biggest battery," he said.

"This is pretty great.
"It is an inspiration and it will serve to say to the whole world that this is possible."

However Musk said Australia needed to do more.

"It's a definition that if it's not renewable, it's going to run out at some point.

"And we will have the choice of the collapse of civilisation and into the dark ages we go or we find something renewable."

Musk says Australia needs to act now. Picture: Dylan Coker
Musk says Australia needs to act now. Picture: Dylan Coker


Under the July agreement between Mr Musk and the SA State Government, if the battery is not delivered by Tesla within 100 days of the grid interconnection agreement being signed, it will be free.

Mr Musk said he'd insisted on the 100-day clause he promised in a Tweet to Atlassian founder Mike Cannon-Brookes just three months ago.

"That's what we said publicly, that's what we're going to do," he said.

Mr Weatherill said at the time it was an "extraordinary offer" and would help South Australia become a world leader in battery storage technology.

"Battery storage is the future of our national energy market, and the eyes of the world will be following our leadership in this space," he said.

"This historic agreement does more than bring a sustainable energy giant in Tesla to South Australia, it will also have some significant economic spin-offs."

There were 91 international bidders, according to Mr Weatherill.

Federal Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg said he welcomed the investment but it was "small compared to the scale of the problem the (State) Government created".

"The new battery is 129MW hours compared to the 1000MW hours of storage at the Cultana pumped hydro project in the Upper Spencer Gulf ... and the 350,000MW hours of additional storage we will get from Snowy Hydro 2.0," Mr Frydenberg said.

Topics:  editors picks electricity bills elon musk fossil fuels power renewables

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