Elon Musk Cons $50m Out Of South Australians

By Paul Homewood


h/t Patsy Lacey



Elon Musk has managed to win a $50m bet by building the world’s largest ever lithium-ion battery.

The billionaire chairman and chief executive of Tesla has delivered a renewable energy project for South Australia, building the world’s largest ever lithium-ion battery.

Mr Musk and Lyndon Rive, the head of Tesla’s battery division, proposed building an energy storage facility in the state following severe blackouts after a storm in March 2016.

At the time Musk made a bet, saying Tesla would get the battery installed and working within 100 days of the contract being signed or the $50m (£37m) system would be free.

This deadline was due to expire on 1 December, ahead of which state Premier Jay Weatherill has announced that the project had been completed.

The battery will store energy from a nearby wind farm run by the French renewable energy company Neoen.

"South Australia is set to have back-up power in place this summer through the world’s largest lithium ion battery, which is set to be energised for the first time in the coming days as it enters a phase of regulatory testing," Mr Weatherill said.

Musk tweeted: "Congratulations to the Tesla crew and South Australian authorities who worked so hard to get this manufactured and installed in record time!"

As a maker of electric automobiles, Tesla has also invested heavily in energy storage and solar panel technology – and it believes its technology could develop far beyond vehicles and supply power to the grid.

The deal has seen Tesla manufacture a 129MWh battery in Jamestown, a town with a population of less than 1,500 people, just over 120 miles north of Adelaide.

"This is not a minor foray into the frontier," said Mr Musk at the time.

"I’m pretty darn impressed with South Australia willing to do a project of this magnitude that is beyond anything else in the world.

"That takes a lot of gumption," he added. "I do see this as something that the world will look at as an example."


When a con merchant is around, it is best to keep a close eye on the pea!

For a start, it is not the world’s largest ever lithium-ion battery. It is actually a collection of smaller ones.




There was nothing remarkable about constructing the whole thing on time, otherwise Musk would not have taken the bet on in the first place.


But what about the claim that it can provide back up power and, in the words of the Tesla VP, solve the black-out problem in South Australia.

The battery is rated at 129 MWh.



Currently generation in South Australia is running at 1878 MW, so the Tesla battery could only run the grid for 4 minutes.

Alternatively, according to Tesla, it could power 2500 homes for a whole day, or 15000 for four hours.


 The battery will serve as a back-up power system capable of powering 2,500 homes for a day



Given that there are 673,000 households in South Australia, the Tesla battery is an expensive irrelevance.

At a cost of £37m, the 15000 households who stand to benefit from four hous standby would have to pay £2466 each.

Hardly a bargain!

The whole exercise has been no more than an exercise in self promotion for Musk. Unfortunately, South Australians have had to pay dearly for it.



To put these numbers into perspective, the population of South Australia is about 1.7 million.

By comparison the UK’s is 64.1 million.

In terms of the price of the battery per capita, the cost in the UK would equate to £1.4 billion. I don’t think even our climate obsessed government would attempt to get away with that.



November 25, 2017 at 05:12AM

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