Remember Elon Musk’s Big Bet on Australia? The Clock Is Ticking

©. Tesla

The big batteries will help kill the duck in Australia.

A few months ago we wrote that Tesla will kill the duck in Australia in 100 days or it’s free -- when Elon Musk made a bet that he would install 100MW of batteries on schedule or eat the cost.

A lot of headlines are noting that it is now halfway done, but the real challenge is just starting. Note that the bet starts at contract signature. He just completed the agreement to get access to loans from a renewable energy fund, and the grid connection agreement was just signed this past Friday, 29 September, so he had a bit of a head start. But it is still an expensive, if less risky than previously thought, bet; the total cost was estimated to be US$ 32.35 million.

©. Tesla

© Tesla

Elon Musk was in Australia for the signing at the battery array and was quoted in ABC:

"To have that [construction] done in two months ... you can't remodel your kitchen in that period of time," Mr Musk joked as he took to the stage. "This serves as a great example to the rest of the world of what can be done."

Seriously, we know Musk is in the roofing business now, but hope that he goes into kitchen renovations; that's quick work.

duck curve in Australia

© Ravinder Soin, Midnight Energy

The battery pack is being used to “kill the duck”. On the right-hand drawing, the problem is that point where the solar panels stop producing power in the evening but when demand is highest. The batteries eat up some of the belly of the duck and disgorge it at dinner time.

The Tesla battery bank can store 129 MWh of electricity, which at full power "will last for a little over an hour.” But this will prevent blackouts at times of peak demand during the coming summer, without the pollution that will be caused by the 250 MW of temporary diesel generators that are also going to be used.

Musk is going after other projects in Australia, and noted that the entire country could be powered by “1,890 square kilometres [730 square miles] of solar panels — roughly a tenth the area of Sydney — backed up by seven square kilometres [2.7 mi2] of batteries.”

Musk is being much quieter about his other humanitarian venture -- delivering batteries to Puerto Rico.