South Australia has huge untapped gas resources. The gas in the Cooper Basin alone could supply the whole of Australia’s energy needs for the next 200 years. So why did Mike Cannon-Brookes feel the need to ask Elon Musk for help in fixing the State’s energy crisis? Because the energy grid is stuffed and South Australia’s biggest power plant is about to fall apart.
South Australia’s energy production was privatized in the early 90’s and is made up of both renewable and non-renewable sources. In South Australia, energy is supplied mainly by gas company AGL, who dominate the generation and retail side of the industry. The generated power is then sold by the Australian Energy Market Operator to power-supplying retailers, where it is purchased by households and businesses.
AGL own the largest gas-fired power plant in South Australia, located on Torrens Island, near Adelaide. But it’s dying; its over fifty and been smoking its whole life.
On 7 March 2017, AGL told a senate hearing in Melbourne that the State’s biggest power producing facility on Torrens Island, could no longer operate at full capacity. It was suggested that South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill buy the old power station in an effort to throw taxpayer’s money at it (which in actual fact wouldn’t produce much energy at all, there is plenty of old wood around that area they could use instead).
On 14 March 2017, South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill announced a plan to fix South Australia’s energy crisis, after a super sophisticated business meeting with Mike Cannon-Brookes, Elon Musk, and Malcolm Turnbull over social media. Mr Turnbull is getting very good at sophisticated business meetings, like this one, where he pretended for a moment he wasn’t worth $186 million and could down a schooner with the boys at the local (it didn’t really work). He looked more like a boy in amateur drama class, pretending he likes beer and country stuff, while forcing himself to feel comfortable between two bearded yobbos sporting Akubras.
The sophisticated energy plan involves building a fast start gas-fired power plant costing $360 million, and building a huge battery costing $150 million. It is estimated the proposal will also create 630 jobs. Yesterday, Elon Musk submitted the initial schematics for the battery that could save South Australia.