100 Megawatts

100 Megawatts

10 July, 2017
World's biggest lithium ion battery
What does it look like when billionaires bet?
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Elon Musk has accepted the challenge of Australian billionaire and tech company Atlassian co-founder Mike Cannon-Brookes to build the world's biggest lithium ion battery to secure power for South Australia (SA)—and all in 100 days. In one swift tweet, the Tesla innovator laid out his plans. “Tesla will get the system installed and working 100 days from contract signature or it is free. That serious enough for you?”

SA Premier Jay Weatherill confirmed the announcement: once the grid connection agreement has been signed between Tesla, the French renewable company Neoen, and the South Australia state government, countdown will begin to build the 100-megawatt battery, which could power around 30,000 homes. Being a man of his word, this is a big bet for a battery. If the project is not completed in 100 days, Musk has promised to gift this power solution to the people of SA to a tune of about AU $50 million (US $38 million).

Acting prime minister Barnaby Joyce has dismissed the plan, saying it’s too small to make much difference in the government’s AU $550 million energy plan following ongoing power problems since a state-wide blackout in 2016. A storm wiped out key infrastructure in the state when a grid overloaded, leaving much of the state’s 1.7 million people without electricity—some for up to two weeks. The project will stabilise the network, provide backup power with energy stored from a windfarm, and supply cheaper electricity when prices spike.

“Don’t say anything if you can’t say something positive,” Premier Weatherill told reporters in response to Joyce’s comment.

If successful, this battery will be three times more powerful than the current battery, also built by Musk. And if the team behind the battery can’t complete it within the 100 days, it won’t cost the Australian taxpayers a thing.

Cannon-Brookes’ response to the original tweet? “Legend!”.

And that’s how billionaires bet.

By: Adriane Rysz
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