Elon Musk’s Australian Battery Farm Has Saved $116 Million AUD In Two Years
Elon Musk was challenged to fix South Australia’s energy problem in 2017, and just two years on he’s saved Australians millions.
In response, the Tesla founder built a gigantic battery farm to back-up around 30,000 homes – exactly the number that were affected by a lengthy blackout in September 2016.
Musk promised the farm would be built in just 100 days, and was so confident it would be built in that time, he said it would be free if Tesla missed the self-imposed deadline.
In response to how he could guarantee the farm being up and running in 100 days, Musk said:
Tesla will get the system installed and working 100 days from contract signature or it is free. That serious enough for you?
And he wasn’t bluffing – Tesla got it done.
Musk offered his services after South Australian residents suffered recurring problems with their power, and promised to provide a better and more reliable energy source for them.
As a solution, Tesla created the 100MW battery storage farm, the Hornsdale Power Reserve, which largely uses wind and solar power. It’s thought the farm cost Tesla $50 million to create.
The Hornsdale Power Reserve slashed network costs by about $116 million AUD ($76 million) in 2019, according to engineering, design and advisory company Aurecon, savings that will be passed on to businesses and households throughout the state. Bloomberg claims it also reduced the cost to regulate South Australia’s grid by an impressive 91%.
Bloomberg New Energy Finance analyst Ali Asghar spoke about the effects the farm has had, saying:
Not only has the Hornsdale Power Reserve identified how batteries can physically help the grid, it has also showed how they can make money along the way.
More importantly, it has boosted investor confidence in the storage market by showing developers how revenues from different power based services can be stacked to build a business case for storage in Australia.
The battery farm also put Jamestown and South Australia on the map as a world leader in renewable energy with battery storage.
Basically, Tesla has smashed it.
This will come as welcome news for Musk, whose net worth plummeted by $768 million after Tesla’s botched Cybertruck unveiling in November 2019.
The 48-year-old tech guru described his ‘bulletproof’ baby as a ‘really futuristic-like cyberpunk, Blade Runner pickup truck’.
In a bid to demonstrate the supposed bulletproof exterior, Musk asked the car’s designer to throw metal balls at the car, which left the car badly damaged – along with Musk’s ego.
Following the presentation, Tesla’s share price dropped by 6%, lowering Musk’s net worth by $768 million in a single day, to a mere $23.6 billion.
While it’s unknown how much Tesla itself has generated from the Hornsdale Power Reserve, the money the company has saved South Australian residents is pretty impressive, which may cushion the blow of his arguably unimpressive ‘cybertruck’ last year.
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