Clean Disruption News: Tesla Tapped by Australia Anew in Virtual Power Plant Plan
- Project pairs solar panels with batteries in South Australia
- Cites analysis showing plant will reduce energy bills by 30%
South Australia plans to roll out solar panels and Tesla Inc. batteries to at least 50,000 homes to form what its government says will be the world’s largest virtual power plant.
“Tesla is gaining a reputation here for getting things done,” Tony Wood, energy program director at the Grattan Institute, a Melbourne-based think tank, said in a phone interview. “If South Australia can sort through the funding and technical side of this project, then it’s worth doing because we’ll learn a lot more about rolling out distributed solar and batteries at scale.”
Forget The Grid
Australia will lead the world in households and businesses installing their own electricity supply
Billionaire Elon Musk last year built the world’s biggest lithium-ion battery system to support South Australia’s blackout-plagued power grid. Musk made a bet on Twitter that Tesla could install a 100-megawatt storage facility in the Australian outback within 100 days or it would be free — and made good on his pledge to be finished by summer.
Australia, one of the world’s biggest users of rooftop solar panels, likely added the most new capacity on record last year as electricity users sought to ease escalating power bills. While subsidies and generous feed-in tariffs helped boost growth earlier this decade, last year’s gains were driven by users seeking to sidestep a surge in the cost of electricity and a push by vendors into the commercial sector, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance.
South Australia, which will hold an election March 17, suffered a state-wide blackout in 2016 when storms caused a transmission failure. Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull blamed the power cut on the state’s rapid take-up of renewable power. Solar and wind make up about 40 percent of its power generation, the highest of any mainland Australian state.
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