South Australia will have its 100 MW of grid backup battery storage, but it may not come from Tesla, whose flamboyant CEO Elon Musk dramatically promised last week that his company could deliver the capacity within 100 days—or it would be free.
In the event, Musk may not have to put his boast to the test. On Monday, the state government called tenders for “a new battery storage installation of at least 100MW, and a new ‘energy security’ scheme that could encourage solar thermal and other storage technologies,” RenewEconomy reports.
Competing with Tesla for the estimated A$20 million order, which the state wants to have operational before the next antipodian summer, or late 2017, will be several other companies, including Zen Energy, Lyon Solar with AES, and Perth-based Carnegie Clean Energy, among others.
“South Australia will also spend A$360 million building a new, 250-MW gas-fired generator, which it also hopes to have in place by next summer,” the industry news outlet notes. The plant will act as emergency back-up to ensure that power disruptions which have plagued the state since September do not recur.
But even if Musk’s audacious 100-days-or-it’s-free offer doesn’t win the state’s storage contract, it did appear to shake up the country’s energy debate.
Australia’s pro-coal Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull—who has blamed the blackouts in South Australia on the state’s rapid adoption of renewable power. despite evidence that they were actually caused by storms—spent an hour on the phone with Musk after the American entrepreneur issued his proposal, according to Renewable Energy World. Later, Turnbull tweeted that energy storage will “be a priority this year” for his government.