Elon Musk promised to fix Australia’s blackout problem in 100 days — or its batteries are free. That was on Friday.
Since then Atlasssian co-founder Mike Cannon-Brookes — who challenged fellow billionaire Elon Musk to make the claim a reality — has been inundated with support for the plan from the Australian business community.
This continued to move quickly over the weekend and Cannon-Brookes is “excited to see what unfolds”.
“It’s been an incredible 48 hours,” he told Business Insider.
“It’s evident that there is popular support for an alternative approach to solving the nation’s electricity challenges. The idea of using storage to time shift renewable energy rather than further investing in fossil fuels is huge. This would be a world first technology, unreplicated anywhere else, and will put South Australia on the map.”
He said Musk’s “forward thinking techniques” to resolve South Australia’s blackout problem are “mind-blowing”.
“This stuff is space age. It’s mind-blowing to think that approaching the problem with forward-thinking techniques – using technology and innovation – could be a (relatively) speedy solution for South Australia, improving thousands of people’s lives,” he said.
“It’s inspiring to see when Aussies come together using our collective ingenuity and smarts, we can make shit happen.”
Cannon-Brookes has positioned himself as the leader to get Australia to where it needs to be for Musk to come in and fulfill his promise.
He has been working tirelessly over the past couple of days to make it come together.
He had been in talks with the Tesla founder and Australian prime minister Malcolm Turnbull. The PM has also been in talks with Musk.
To install the $198 million worth of Tesla batteries, Cannon-Brookes will need to raise funds and cut political red tape.
And it seems a plan is on its way after Cannon-Brookes and the PM thanked Musk for the opportunity.
“On behalf of Australia’s future, thank you @elonmusk & @TurnbullMalcolm for taking time to talk. Excited to see what comes this week,” the Atlasssian boss tweeted.
— Mike Cannon-Brookes ???????????????????????? (@mcannonbrookes) March 12, 2017
“Thanks @elonmusk for a great in depth discussion today about energy storage and it’s role in delivering affordable & reliable electricity,” he said on Twitter.
Thanks @elonmusk for a great in depth discussion today about energy storage and it's role in delivering affordable & reliable electricity
— Malcolm Turnbull (@TurnbullMalcolm) March 12, 2017
Musk seems just as excited.
“You’re most welcome. Very exciting to discuss the future of electricity. Renewables + storage arguably biggest disruption since DC to AC,” he tweeted.
You're most welcome. Very exciting to discuss the future of electricity. Renewables + storage arguably biggest disruption since DC to AC. https://t.co/7uXoUQf29f
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) March 12, 2017
And now for Cannon-Brookes it’s game on.
“I’ve been working hard over the weekend figuring things out and understanding the complexities of the situation: does it solve the problem; is it economically viable; what are the other blockers? I’m excited to see what unfolds this week.”
It comes as SA premier Jay Weatherill is scheduled to release his energy plan for the state.
Last September, South Australia was smashed by a 1-in-50-years storm that brought wind gusts exceeding 120km/h and brought now major power lines, leaving the state without power. For some this lasted a number of hours, in other areas it lasted several days.
The disaster resulted in a bitter political fight over the state’s renewable energy policy, an argument that has since become national as the government hammers Labor states over the renewable energy targets claiming they are too high.
An additional blackout in February during a national heatwave, which pushed power supplies across Australia to the brink, combined with growing concerns about domestic gas supply with most local production being exported, led to greater urgency to solve the problem.