Future shock: Faster we get there the better, says Tesla's Musk | RenewEconomy

Future shock: Faster we get there the better, says Tesla’s Musk

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Tesla’s big battery – already half complete – signals the speed of the energy transition. “This is what the future will look like,” Musk says. “And the faster we get there the better.” The contrast with the Federal government, brandishing lumps of coal, could not be greater.

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Elon Musk at the unveiling of the Big Battery. Photo: from Tesla presentation video.

Elon Musk didn’t need 100 days after obtaining a connection agreement to switch on the Tesla big battery in South Australia. In fact, it took him less than 100 minutes.

That’s how quickly the battery was up and running after the ink dried on the connection deal with the state’s transmission company ElectraNet on Friday.

By the early evening, some 300 Tesla Powerpacks already in place were delivering all the power for the unveiling event, stored from the adjoining Hornsdale wind farm, a three-hour drive north of Adelaide.

Of course, it’s not all in place yet. About half is installed – 30MW/65MWh out of 100MW/129MWh it has contracted to build – and it has yet to fully engage with the grid.

But it has only taken two months since Tesla won a South Australia government tender to get this far, and despite some hints that a demonstration was in the wind, the 500 or so invited guests were stunned by what they saw.

“So much has been done in an incredibly short period of time,” Musk said at the unveiling on Friday night. “Talk is cheap, action is difficult … but this it is not just talk, this is reality.”

And, Musk noted – ominously enough for the fossil fuel interests looking on from afar – this is just the start of what he expects will be a rapid transition to renewables.

“The vast majority of the world is still fossil fuel powered and this is really just the beginning. But what this serves as is a great example to the rest of the world of what can be done.

Talking to some of the energy market officials, developers and investors at the event, it seems clear that battery storage installations like this will mushroom across Australia in coming years.

Some are already well flagged: Neoen, which owns and will operate the South Australia big battery, plans another 20MW/34MWh storage facility at the yet-to-be-built Bulgana wind farm in Victoria, there is another 30MW/8MWh facility to be built at the Wattle Point wind farm, not to mention the 250MW big battery proposed by AGL to replace the ageing and decrepit Liddell coal generator.

There is also a smaller battery at the soon to be opened Lakeland solar farm in north Queensland, batteries at the Kennedy solar, wind complex also in north Queensland, pumped hydro at the Kidston solar farm, and dozens of other storage projects.

Progress at the Tesla big battery: Photo courtesy of Neoen Australia

All will work together to usher in what is likely to be a dramatic transition that will see fossil fuels disappear out one door and renewable technologies enter through another.

Musk told the adoring crowd of around 500 people – and they were adoring – that not a lot of space was needed for the country to be entirely powered by solar and battery storage: around 1/10th the size of greater Sydney, he suggested.

“It’s pretty obvious that if small satellite can be solar and battery-powered, then big ones can too,” Musk said.

“There’s no scalability constraint so I think people aren’t quite sure how big is it actually and it’s really not. It’s like quite small. And very doable.

“That is actually what the future will look like and the faster we get there the better.

“It matters whether we make the transition to sustainable energy in 5 years, 10 years, 20 years. It really is going to make a difference. We’re doing everything we can to accelerate it and by working with people like Jay and his team that enable this to happen, and with your support as well.”

Some people like to mock Musk and dismiss Tesla as an aberration, a spectacular fire-work that will lose its flame and inevitably fall to the ground. The financial position of some sellers, the many “short-sellers” in his stock, depend on it.

But Musk’s track record speaks otherwise. Already, he has successfully turned the space industry on its head by becoming the first to use re-useable rockets, and just hours before unveiling the big battery, he was in Adelaide outlining “aspirational” plans for moon projects, a landing on Mars by 2022, and using those massive rockets (he calls them BFRs – big f******* rockets) to link the world’s biggest cities in around 30 minutes.

Musk has also delivered a luxury, high performing electric vehicle (Model S and X)) before anyone else had through of it, and he attracted the world’s longest waiting list for what will be the first “mass market” EV (Model 3), and his company is valued as much as GM with just a fraction of its sales.

Such is his cachet that he managed to turn the Tesla Powerwall battery storage unit into a household brand even before anyone had any installed. There is still a long queue for deliveries. The bigger Powerpacks are now being used in California, South Australia and elsewhere to provide grid security and balancing for renewables.

He now threatens to upturn the road freight industry in a few weeks with the unveiling of the Tesla Semi, a fully electric truck. Incumbents disrupted in every corner.

He has even established the Boring company focused on digging tunnels to fulfil another aspirational goal of “hyperloops”.

And there is no reason to think that his energy vision will be any different. Satellites were powered by solar and batteries for decades, he noted on Friday, and Earth was just another satellite of the sun. So, why not?

Musk’s vision of the energy future – a scenario it should be noted that is viewed as entirely plausible and affordable by market operators, network owners, researchers and investors the world over – is in sharp contrast to what conservatives are offering.

While Musk is talking solar and storage, and other technologies of the future, Australia’s Coalition government is attempting to throw technology development in reverse – brandishing lumps of coal in parliament, comparing the big battery to the Big Banana in Coffs Harbour, looking to extend the life of an ageing and decrepit coal generator in the name of “reliability and cost” and voicing support for a new coal generator in north Queensland.

In the time taken to build such a plant, South Australia will likely have installed half a dozen large-scale battery storage projects, dozens of smaller ones, the country’s first large-scale solar tower with molten salt storage, several pumped hydro projects and yet more wind and solar plants, and probably another half a gigawatt of rooftop solar.

The ageing Whyalla steel plant, which once saw its future tied only to an ageing and decrepit coal generator, will be at the forefront of these new technologies – and introducing them to its operations in Victoria and NSW.

It’s little wonder that South Australia government is contemptuous of the attempts by the Coalition – at both local and federal level.

‘There were lots of people making jokes about South Australia and making fun out of our leadership in renewable energy,” premier Jay Weatherill said in his introduction.

“Now they are laughing on the other side of their face, because South Australia is leading the world on renewable energy technologies.”

And, all of a sudden, it looks less like an “experiment” that Weatherill rather excitedly, and possibly unwisely, described it when caught up with the passion of the Paris climate conference.

“It is the breakthrough that we have been waiting for,” says energy minister Tom Koutsantonis. “It will change and revolutionise the way we use power, how we generate power, and how much we pay for power.

“We have 700MW of installed solar, 1700MW of wind, we are at the beginning of a brave new world where you can harness the wind and the sun, and schedule firm energy.”

And there is more to come. The state government’s Renewable Energy Development Fund, to finance innovative new technologies that can strengthen the grid, has attracted huge interest, Koutsantonis says, and the details will be unveiled soon.

Of course, it is not just the technology that is changing, but the management of the grid. AEMO is now taking a pro-active prudent approach rather than falling asleep at the controls as it was accused of doing – including by Koutsantonis – in the key events of the past year.

“AEMO are acting more prudently and more defensively, and I congratulate them.” Koutsantonis says.

This, he says, is what a transitioning grid needs. “Things are moving very, very quickly. I say to the naysayers. It is real, it is here.”

Koutsantonis returned just last week from a trip to the US, and a visit to Tesla headquarters. Like Queensland and the Northern Territory, South Australia would like to play host to a battery “gigafactory”.

Tesla hasn’t said whether it will or not. But things have a habit of moving quickly.


After all, it’s involvement in the big battery was only prompted by that now famous tweet by Australian billionaire Mike Cannon-Brookes.

Musk remembered that at the unveiling event on Friday. “One tweet leads to another,” he said. “I saw this on Twitter and I was like ‘Ok, sure … can we do that?’ . It turned out the could.

Listen to our Energy Insiders podcast, with special guest Franck Woitiez, the head of Neoen Australia, which actually owns and will operate the South Australia big battery.

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  1. Diego Matter 2 years ago

    Well done Tesla and SA government and all other involved parties. It’s refreshing news in light of all the ‘dragging down’ coal politics.

  2. Michael Murray 2 years ago

    Sad that all our PM can do in response is make a joke about South Australia’s blackout. Very statesman like.


    • Chris Fraser 2 years ago

      Turnbull needs to tone down that crap. Its not funny at all.

    • Alastair Leith 2 years ago

      You can smell the desperation oozing from Turnbull, joyce and Frydeberg’s pores when it comes to the energy debate. The problem for them is that they don’t have a significant base of believers in the community. True believers will accept lies if they align with their values. But even liberal and national party voters strongly prefer RE to coal and gas.

  3. solarguy 2 years ago

    I’ll make this prediction, within 4yrs, all those naysayers in the COALalition and others will be shouting to the four corners how good renewables and storage are.

    The brand new ship RE is on course and full steam ahead, with the visionary Captain Jay at the wheel. In the meantime the SS Turdbull-Abbott is taking in water and blindly steering for the rocks!

    • nor_he 2 years ago

      I’ll make a prediction that in four years the world will know about peak Lithium and the inability of tesla to supply batteries. Coal will return to its place as the most reliable source of energy.

      • Jay 2 years ago

        Peak lithium? You mean the component that makes up only 2% of a lithium ion battery and is recyclable?

        Remind me again, once you burn oil and it’s gone forever how you create more?

        • Cooma Doug 2 years ago

          Norry has a shortage of lithium in his head.

      • howardpatr 2 years ago

        How do you know that magnesium will not replace or at least become an alternative to lithium. I think the likes of Toyota, Motorola and Pellion might be better informed than you.

        • Ren Stimpy 2 years ago

          Don’t give an idiot an even break

        • nor_he 2 years ago

          It might do. I hope that the energy density requirements can be achieved.

          Nuclear fusion may also arrive and save us, although, we’ve been waiting many decades already.

      • solarguy 2 years ago

        Only one word needed here……………..”TOSSER”

        • Joe 2 years ago

          Me thinks Sorry Norry is a Trolly

          • nor_he 2 years ago

            If I was trolling, then I’d be posting the following link as evidence. As it is, I’m not going to claim that missing production targets is evidence of a lack of Lithium.


            The USGS numbers on available Lithium tell the full story. Denying the info from the USGS is a denial of the science.


          • Giles 2 years ago

            Did you actually read the link your provided. Doesn’t support your story at all. Its says current reserves upgraded to around 47 million tonnes. Current demand In the tends of thousands. But that’s typical of trolls, they provide a link as “evidence” of the “science” on the assumption no one reads it. I see it so many times. You’re a troll.

          • nor_he 2 years ago

            Is 47 Million going to be enough?


            It is estimated that there’s about 63 kg of lithium in a 70 kWh Tesla Model S battery pack, which weighs over 1,000 lbs (~453 kg).

            47Mt/63kg = 746 Million Tesla Model S battery packs.

            Please show me how this is wrong.

          • Giles 2 years ago

            Interesting link. Here is the first paragraph from that story:
            “Because of its name, lithium-ion (li-ion), people think that li-ion batteries are primarily made of lithium and that if we transition the world’s car fleet to electric, it will create a supply problem. While it’s certainly true that lithium demand is expected to rise significantly, which is why the price has spiked recently, the resource is abundant and production can keep up with the right investments.”

          • Ren Stimpy 2 years ago

            Wrong. There’s 63kg of Lithium Carbonate in a 70 kWh Tesla. There’s 12kg of Lithium in 63kg of Lithium Carbonate. So your calculations are out by a factor of 5.

            You were already informed of this in a previous discussion (see my link to it elsewhere on this page).

          • Mike Westerman 2 years ago

            The USGS reference doesn’t support your contention. And as a scientific document, they don’t pretend to tell “the full story” – that sort of talk is only for those who don’t understand science.

            So. You hide behind a pseudonym, post superficial crap sprinkled with inflammatory rants…sounds like a troll.

          • nor_he 2 years ago

            In what way does it not support my contention? I’m saying that Lithium is a finite resource and I’m using the numbers from the most reliable source available to demonstrate how much lithium is available compared to the amount needed.

            It’s really basic science. Which part of it are you having difficulty understanding? What part of it do I need to explain in more detail?

      • Steve159 2 years ago

        Nah, in 2 years we’ll have fusion power, then we can make as much of the stuff as we want.

        Problem solved

        • Ren Stimpy 2 years ago

          I heard fusion was only a few months away. What gives?

        • neroden 2 years ago

          We have fusion power, it’s called the sun

      • Dagnal 2 years ago

        Peak lithium, is that like peak oil?
        A company with big rockets could do space mining…

      • Ren Stimpy 2 years ago

        Your assumption has already been debunked here (at the very least, along with other commenters)


        The only question is why do you persist after being so thoroughly debunked?

        • nor_he 2 years ago

          Try again. The science is out there. You know just as well as I do, the USGS numbers demonstrate how much Lithium is available.

          • Ren Stimpy 2 years ago

            There’s a disconnect between your argument and the USGS numbers. Here, I have graphed the USGS lithium numbers to help you better understand them


            As you can clearly see now, the magnitude and growth of lithium reserves compared with production (even when considering that production will ramp), shows there is no danger of running out of lithium reserves waiting for production in this century.

            Your statement – “in four years the world will know about peak Lithium and the inability of tesla to supply batteries” – is a complete load of BS. Now you know just as well as I do the USGS numbers demonstrate that more than enough lithium is and will be available for production.


      • Mark Roest 2 years ago

        And I’ll raise you a prediction that in four years the next generation of batteries will be in Gigafactory-scale production, won’t need lithium, cobalt, nickel, or rare earth minerals, and will be as big a disruption of today’s fuels, and of the internal combustion engine, as the portable drill was to the electric cord-powered drill.

        • nor_he 2 years ago


          If you’re correct I’ll buy you a beer. 🍺

          • Ren Stimpy 2 years ago

            I doubt you are good for even that, due to your paper-thin argument, and your history!

          • nor_he 2 years ago

            My argument is based on scientific evidence from the leading global authority, the USGS.

        • Andy Saunders 2 years ago

          So…. what do you predict will be the technology in use? genuine question…

          • Mark Roest 2 years ago

            Saline-based electrolyte, with novel ceramic semiconductor electrodes. Ceramic resistance down from over a million Ohms to less than 1. Voc up from 0.55 to 1.9 consistently, peak so far 2.32, target 2.75. Amps looking very good. Near-term target 300 to 900 Wh/kg for mobile battery, over 900 for stationary.

      • Nick Thiwerspoon 2 years ago

        Well, the experts disagree with you: http://volewica.blogspot.com.au/2017/09/what-move-to-evs-means-for-lithium.html

        Are you an expert?

        • nor_he 2 years ago


          There is not enough Lithium.

          This debate bears similar resemblance to that of heliocentricity. The enforcement of green dogma is no different to that of 500 years ago. The more things change, the more they remain the same.

          I’d put more faith in Elon Musks Space X. At least it has a chance of harvesting minerals from the moon.

          • Tom 2 years ago
          • nor_he 2 years ago

            Unfortunately it’s not common enough in a concentrated and readily mineable form.

          • nakedChimp 2 years ago

            ..for conventional technologies.

            That’s the beauty with humans and markets. If there is demand there and the cost justified, they do and pay for EVERYTHING necessary.

          • Peter Harris 2 years ago

            “…Space X. At least it has a chance of harvesting minerals from the moon.”


            Do say.

      • Michael Murray 2 years ago

        Coal is killing the planet so you had better hope you prediction doesn’t come true. Funny to use Newton as an avatar and not believe the science.

        • nor_he 2 years ago

          Excess use of coal is not good. There is no argument from me.

          I do believe the science. The scientific consensus is that there is not enough Lithium. It’s basic math. People who claim otherwise are anti science and ignorantly ignorant. Ironic.

          The unfortunate reality is that dogma from the holy church of environmentalism discourages the truth to be known. The high priests and bishops of environmentalism have been brainwashing you. They’re ignoring the evidence. What they’re doing is no different to what happened 500 years ago when the same class of individual proclaimed that the sun went around the earth.

          • Michael Murray 2 years ago

            It’s not a question of excess use of coal it’s a question of stopping burning fossil fuels as rapidly as possibly. We are already well up shit creek and the paddle is diminishing in length rapidly.

            So layout the maths. With some sources for the inputs you are using.

          • nor_he 2 years ago

            We did this some time ago. Unfortunately some of the anti science brigade from the church of renewable energy keep denying the facts.


            The people selling renewable energy as a viable alternative are similar to the people who tried to sell perpetual motion a few years ago.

          • Mike Westerman 2 years ago

            Heh nameless troll, find some sandwich boards and hit the streets…

          • Michael Murray 2 years ago

            You’ve linked me to someone else giving you the numbers for lithium reserves. Nothing from you about the maths.

          • nor_he 2 years ago

            You’ll need to look for the basic math there. Find the amount of lithium available, the amount lithium required for a tesla car, number of cars to be replaced. Then look at the difference… there isn’t enough Lithium.

            I wish it wasn’t true. I wish there was enough Lithium. Sadly there isn’t and the everyone in the world is continuing to build coal plants. China is constructing another 700. The green neo marxist narrative with regards to musk being a demigod of renewables is going to fall flat soon. Only the very wealthy will be able to afford cars, and western suburban societies, such as Australia, will not tolerate walking or riding bikes 20-50 km to use public transport.


          • Michael Murray 2 years ago

            Sure. I’m asking you to show me the numbers. You are the one claiming they don’t add up.

          • nor_he 2 years ago


            It is estimated that there’s about 63 kg of lithium in a 70 kWh Tesla Model S battery pack, which weighs over 1,000 lbs (~453 kg).


            Total Lithium 47 Million ton.

            47Mt/63kg = 746 Million Tesla Model S battery packs.

          • Michael Murray 2 years ago


          • Mike Westerman 2 years ago


          • Joe 2 years ago

            Yo Norry, you a Trolly

          • Mike Westerman 2 years ago

            It’s a pity you have no evidence for that – a bit like your lack of a real name. Lithium is a minor part of batteries and batteries will have to be recycled to avoid a massive waste problem. Platts is actually predicting a surplus next year…

          • nor_he 2 years ago

            As minor as it is, there still isn’t enough of the stuff.

          • Alastair Leith 2 years ago

            So lithium price would be through the roof because science is open access to all. Oh hang on… lithium in spite of all the hype is not through the roof.

          • nor_he 2 years ago

            The price of Lithium has gone through the roof. It’s also continuing to climb.


          • Mike Westerman 2 years ago

            Superficial crap. Lithium was $2k in in 2005, and is now $9k ie up 4.5 times in 15y. Compare that with, say, Ni – 2001: $6k, 2007: $37k, iron ore – 2004: $20, 2011 – $168. Anyone with an ounce of understanding realises that metals are volatile because of the time to ramp up production, and then tend to go into over supply. Even on the basis of reserves (not resources) the supply of lithium is certain for many years to come.

          • nor_he 2 years ago

            Cherry pick your numbers… ouch… those 2007 and 2011 numbers are top of the cycle numbers. Not very good for a comparison. They make you look like the troll. It’s easy enough to check the Ni price at kitco.com and see how much of a troll you comment is.

            Now, please, explain where all the required lithium is going to come from.

          • Mike Westerman 2 years ago

            My point (lost entirely on you because you are not here to debate and learn but simply to push some RWNJ rant) was that metals have always been volatile because of the mismatch between development time for resources and demand. Lithium is high now, which will prompt more production. Resources are estimated at 49Mt at current prices: if the prices rise the resource will rise. Elementary resource economics. Again, lost on your because you can’t learn, your mind is closed. If the price is high enough, new technologies for recovery, marginal resources and substitutes will step in. If you were less ideologue, and even a fraction scientific, you would say, gee thanks. But you won’t, because you have no guts to put your name to anything you say. You have nothing to say because you are a nothing.

          • nor_he 2 years ago

            Global Lithium resources are 14Mt, not 49Mt. You’ve confused resources and reserves. We all are capable of making mistakes, so, I’m not going to be immature and drag that out any further.

            I’m quite happy to debate and learn. Please teach me where all the extra Lithium is going to come from.

            My name doesn’t matter, yours does. Yours is out there and your reputation is now on the line. If you keep attacking genuine questions and making childish comments during serious discussions, then your name isn’t worth much… show us all what you’ve got… show us where the Lithium to power Tesla cars is going to come from…

          • Mike Westerman 2 years ago

            I have in front of me document MCS-2017-lithi.pdf, the official report prepared by Brian W. Jaskula [(703) 648–4908, [email protected]] – clearly states on p2 world reserves 14MT. Next para clearly states world resources 46.9Mt. Read and have the humility to admit you are superficial and misguided.

            I’m happy for people, including clients and colleagues to know who I am and what I believe. I do have a reputation for excellence and objectivity. You have nothing but your shame – even shame to own your name. Truly nothing.

          • nor_he 2 years ago

            They look like the same numbers that I linked to from the official USGS site.

            The lithium content of a model s battery is 63kg as per widely available Goldman research.


            Some simple math:

            47Mt/63kg = 746 million tesla model s batteries.

            Do you think there will be a shortage of lithium?

            Did tesla miss another production target last week… im glad I don’t work there.

        • Joe 2 years ago

          Touche !

      • Ken Dyer 2 years ago

        Well he_nor, that is good news for the makers of zinc-bromide batteries. Perhaps you educate yourself by looking at this article which explains how other elements also surprise surprise have the capability provided by lithium. If don’t, you are a drongo.

        • nor_he 2 years ago

          Zinc Bromide looks awesome, as does the potential of vanadium. It’s just a shame that the anti-science brigade have such small minds and can’t get their heads around simple facts. It’s no wonder Elon Musk is building rock ships… he must be keen to get as far away as possible from his drongo fanboys as fast as possible.

          • Andy Saunders 2 years ago

            btw, watch out for a vanadium shortage – China just increased their rebar spec (again) to cope with earthquake resistance…

          • nor_he 2 years ago

            Ouch. It’s a good thing that Australian met coal contains significant amounts of Vanadium.

      • Peter Lyons 2 years ago

        …and a reliable poisoner of humanity, from black lung disease to heavy-metal air pollution? And I suppose coal will also last forever? Or will God make some more for us just in time?

        • nor_he 2 years ago

          I’m all for moving away from coal. Please show me where all the Lithium is going to come from to allow this.

          • neroden 2 years ago

            Anywhere. Lithium is everywhere. There’s plenty of it. Everyone knows it. You can get it out of seawater.

      • Alastair Leith 2 years ago

        This moron should be blocked from reneweconomy for time wasting,

        • nor_he 2 years ago

          Then prove that there is going to be enough Lithium. Where is the evidence, where is the Lithium?

          Your attitude is no different to the small number of people who claim that climate change is not real.

      • Peter Harris 2 years ago

        Answer… No.

    • Ken Dyer 2 years ago

      Now look SG, what’s with these predictions? If you watched Four Corners tonight, and I deeply hope all those politicians who have got into bed with Adani have, clean energy will ramp up like you wouldn’t believe. And what about Elon Musk in South Australia – he delivered!

      All I can say about Adani is if our politicians choose to lie down with pigs, we will all get up covered in coaldust and pigshit, and the taxpayers will be screwed again.

      The truest words that can be said to a politician in Australia right now are,


      • solarguy 2 years ago

        Ken, WTF. What has that got to do with what I said. Over the years haven’t you heard pollies change tack on an issue. They will love tomorrow, what they hate today……….. sometimes at least.

        • Ken Dyer 2 years ago

          SG, I understand. But it would happen a hell of a lot quicker if the pollies found some gonads and denounced the Adani ponzi scheme now, a ponzi scheme that will screw Australia.

          Want to buy a used coal fired power station in India? Adani’s Mundra power station, the biggest in India, the final destination of Carmichael coal, is for sale for 2 cents or one rupee, about what AGL paid for Liddell. Maybe Pauline Hanson can buy it and have it shipped to North Queensland instead of building a new one, as she is presently advocating.

          You can’t make this stuff up. And this is the stuff that will, if it persists, will make any future predictions totally meaningless, unless it is called out for what it is, and eliminated from the future of energy in Australia and around the World. I therefore do not apologise.

          • solarguy 2 years ago

            Ken, I’m about to watch this episode of 4 Corners, but I’m sure you will understand, this is all about greed….pure f%$king greed and desperation from a failing economical system

            I’ll get back to you soon and yes I share your frustration!

          • Ken Dyer 2 years ago

            SG while you are at it have a read of this
            IEEFA have produced this report for the last few years and it makes for depressing reading as far as Adani is concerned.
            My main takeaway from this is that Adani is investing $30 billion in India in all sorts of things, including RE, yet is dancing around the Carmichael mine. They just do not want it to be stranded, but the Indian government will drive a final decision, not Australia.

            The other aspect is that Palasczuk is shit scared because when Carmichael does become a stranded asset, and I believe it is already, she could lose up to 5 or 6 seats and lose government. That is why she is vehemently sticking to the line that 10000 jobs will be created, a fake figure postulated by that federal Liberal MP idiot, George Christensen.

            I am just hoping that the people of Northern Queensland realise that. Unfortunately, Palusczuk has backed the wrong horse in this case, and Queensland will be stuffed when Hanson gets into bed with the LNP; Queensland will re-enter the dark ages of the 20th Century.

            I just hope that Palasczuk sees the light and comes clean, dumps Adani as a vote keeping strategy, and puts into place a plan to re-educate North Queensland communities and what they can do to maintain their way of life. The alternative is not pretty.

          • Mike Westerman 2 years ago

            This is also my sincere hope…Qld under LNP/ON would be a dystopia more terrible than Joh or Newmann.

          • Ken Dyer 2 years ago

            Well Mike, we can fume and stamp our feet as much as we like on this forum, but we need to get the word out. Palasczuk has painted herself into a corner with Adani. The following letter that I am submitting to media explains:

            Adani – Remote Prospects
            The recent excellent ABC program on Four Corners highlighted the corruption and environmental vandalism of the Adani Group. There have been many reports generated about the proposed Adani Carmichael mine, none more succinct than the 2017 Status Report titled “Adani – Remote Prospects” by the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis.
            The $5 billion Adani Carmichael mine project has been postponed on a number of occasions and staff have been retrenched. It is no longer seen as a strategic project for Adani. This is borne out by the fact that Adani are trying to sell their Mundra coal plant for one rupee, or two cents, Mundra was to be the main recipient for Carmichael coal but has run at a consistent loss from day one, and now cannot afford to operate without significant Indian government support.
            According to the IEEFA report, Adani is investing $30 billion in India in many strategic projects, including renewable energy, The Indian Government has established a very strong renewable target for India, so this is where Adani is now concentrating its strategic business focus, in India. The remote Australian Carmichael mine is close to becoming a stranded asset, if it is not already.
            Premier Palasczuk does not want the Adani Carmichael mine to be stranded, as she could lose 5 or 6 seats at the next election and lose government. That is why she is vehemently sticking to the line that 10000 jobs will be created, a fake figure apparently postulated by the federal Liberal MP, George Christensen.
            Premier Palasczuk must come clean with the electorate before the next election, dump Adani as a vote keeping strategy, and puts into place a plan to re-educate and re-train North Queensland communities in the new renewable energy industries and what they can do to maintain their way of life, and potentially her Government beyond 2018.
            The alternative is not pretty.

            You are welcome, as is everybody else on this forum to verify my letter, and send one on yourselves. Hopefully someone will knock some sense into this stupidity.


          • solarguy 2 years ago

            Ken, saw 4 Corners and yes it confirmed what you were saying, but then I already knew that Adani are bad corporate citizens. Palusczuk has clearly been conned and it sure is a concern that she could loose government over this issue. As Mike below has said, if she does loose the dystopia would be more terrible than Newman.

          • Ken Dyer 2 years ago

            I agree. Adani has invested more than $30biiiion in India for new projects compared with the continually delayed $5billion Carmichael mine. Their priorities are in India, not Australia, and they have played our ‘gullible’ politicians to shore up this moribund coal mine project.

            I am beginning to think that Palanczuk is between a rock and a hard place. Although she has made committments to Adani, and run a commentary with local businesses, no money has been paid out, and it is easy to reverse decisions such as removing permissions for Adani to use groundwater. It also depends on Adani withdrawing from the project, but this has big financial implications for Adani. But long as Adani’s project is alive she is trapped in that dialogue, as is the Federal Liberals. I think that the politicians are just hoping that Adani would just go away, and it behooves us all to make sure that happens.

            Of course, with all the right wing idiots like Canavan, Hansen and co who are wedded to coal and the fools at NAIF who are also sitting on the fence, the Federal labor Party is also sitting on the fence. It is all about the politics.

          • solarguy 2 years ago

            And greed, stupidity and greed.

          • Ken Dyer 2 years ago

            Back in 2016, Adani donated to Queensland political parties including ALP.
            Now we see after the release of the corruption watchdog report,
            Palazcuk is now vowing to ban developer donations.
            A bloody fine state of hypocrisy reigns in Queensland!

          • Mike Westerman 2 years ago

            Yep – this type of patronage is present at all levels of government and across Australia. If we want representative, honest government, then we need to have taxpayer supplied funding for politicians and ban all other donations. If corporations want to support politics, let them pay their taxes.

      • Joe 2 years ago

        I saw the 4 Corners show last night exposing Adani….corrupt, environmental vandals, ‘Treasure Islanders’…the descriptions just keep rolling off the tongue. And then they take the piss with this ‘Adani Renewables’ green washing stunt. They have already had a spill of waste in QLD, they can’t be trusted. Please tell me that we won’t be giving them the $1Billions freebee.

        • Ken Dyer 2 years ago

          Joe, the Government will hand over our hard earned taxpayer dollars as long as it keeps them in power, never mind the Adani ponzi scam

          Adani is nothing but a ponzi scam. They have bludged off the Indian Government for years, made immense profits they have squirrelled away, screwed their shareholders, fucked the environment, caused untold health problems for Indian communities, and now they set their sights on Australia because they have worn out their welcome in India. Our politicians, Turnbull, Palasczuk and the rest of them – have been seen to be gutless, opportunistic, stupid and gullible in the face of the Adani Ponzi scam.

          As you saw, they are even selling their power station for nothing then the unlucky buyer will be locked in to buying really expensive Australian coal while Adani skims off the top.
          I read somewhere else that companies are still paying to using the full facilities of Abbott Point, but it is only half utilised, so another skim for Adani. So here we have Adani wanting our money to supposedly build a railway line to a port that is being about half utilized, but is claimed to be under stress and needs expanding. Absolute classic ponzi scheme behaviour.

          Check out the list and draw your own conclusions

          It is all total bulldust. Australia will not see one cent of royalties from the Adani mine, but it will see many ruined landholders who cant raise food on poison water, the inevitable irreversible environmental result of the Adani mine. Australia deserves better from its politicians, whose gutless support of this disgusting ponzi scam lessens us all.

          • Joe 2 years ago

            Mundra and Liddell…twins?

          • Ken Dyer 2 years ago

            No Joe, Liddell is over 50 years old and useless. AGL did the NSW Government a favor in taking it off their hands.
            Mundra was only completed in 2012 and is nearly brand new. It was built specifically to burn Australian coal, but is burning cheaper, dirtier Indonesian coal, but can’t make a profit. Australian coal will cost a hell of a lot more.


            Mundra will never make a profit, so Adani want the Indian Government to bail them out. Another brick in their ponzi wall. That is why they are giving it away to some sucker, so they can charge them full whack for Carmichael coal and their supply to be subsidised by the Indian Government. Total ponzi.

          • Ken Dyer 2 years ago

            Joe, another thing about the Mundra power plant is that it is a mankiller. 21 employees were injured and Seven died when they were scalded with boiling water from a burst pipeline in 2016. Makes you wonder, don’t it?

          • Joe 2 years ago

            We saw in the 4 Corners program that human welfare is not the strong point for Adani. The almighty dollar / rupee is always the priority.

          • Ken Dyer 2 years ago

            Exactly right Joe. Even though the politicians are boasting that Adani would have to comply with our ‘stringent’ environment laws, we have the unedifying example spouted by pollies that Adani can have unlimited access to water in the Carmichael mine area. The coal is of such low quality that it would have to be washed before shipping.

            This would permanently poison the water supply for ever as the wash water would permeate into the Great Artesian Basin. This would take years to emerge, but of course the pollies would be retired on their generous pensions, the second and third generation local graziers would have died or moved on, and the rest as they say is history.

            Elsewhere in this blog is a link to a report called Adani – Remote Prospects 2017. It is worth a read.

          • Joe 2 years ago

            Whenever I hear our pollies bang on about the number of ‘environmental conditions’ attached to a development I just want to scream. If there is a need for a book full of environmental conditions then it tells you precisely that the development should not be considered in the first place.

          • Joe 2 years ago

            A letter writer in my Sydney Morning Herald wrote in response to an item about politicians thinking / NOT thinking about the next generation. The writer pointed out that the tradition of Native American elders is to make decisions in the best interests of the next SEVEN generations – visualising the faces of those yet unborn children as they do so. If only our pollies could look further past their own noses, let alone the next election.

    • Alastair Leith 2 years ago

      I’m not so sure, Malcolm Turnbull launched the BZE SEP in Sydney in 2010 and spoke very favorably of the RE transition to an appreciative audience (suited him at the time to look more modern than Abbott). Now look at him, and Joyce is welded to Gina et al in the coal lobby by the gonads. In opposition they double up on anti renewable rhetoric I expect as is the case in Victoria and QLD.

      • solarguy 2 years ago

        And Mal believed it and still does, it’s just that his bloody title (PM) is worth more to him than anything else, the gutless scum bag. So he toes the line of his far right wing and coal lobby, aka MCA. When Labor wins the next election, I don’t know if there will be a Mal 2.0, I suspect not, but watch as RE starts picking up speed how just how things from LNP start changing in coming years, when the penny drops that their benefactors are going RE also, because the situation is untenable and they don’t want to go down with the ship.

        I’m sure were on the same page here, it’s human nature. Sad though that is so!

  4. JohnM 2 years ago

    Thank you Giles!
    So little good news in the world these days.

  5. Robert Comerford 2 years ago

    The reality is too many people believe the ‘blackout bill’ type slogans. Too many voters here are [email protected]#eads.
    What it will take is for SA to have a problem free time and have lower power prices than the rest of us by the time of the next federal election for the tide to turn.
    Fingers crossed!

  6. Brunel 2 years ago

    If there was any doubt that AUS is corrupt – the doubts were cast aside when we found out

    • RobSa 2 years ago

      Yes and Dutton is out cause its so dumb. This is why Bishop is making a play. What a mess. Corman of course is never considered. Will there be another Coalition Prime Minster? My bet is no. Conservativism is ending.

      • Miles Harding 2 years ago

        But do we want another slippery lawyer, particularly one that assisted James Hardy in denying reasonable compensation for thousands of asbestos related injuries?


        There’s no bar too low around here.

      • JIm 2 years ago

        Conservatives are selective, but cronyism is trapped because it cannot bite the hand that feeds. What does this say about likely longevity of the Coalition?

        • RobSa 2 years ago

          Right wing politics is dissolving because it offers nothing. It should be gone sooner.

          • Robin_Harrison 2 years ago

            Politics is dissolving because it offers nothing but owned politicians on both sides who are mostly on record as unprincipled liars. Sure we have choices, the problem is they are all crappy.

          • neroden 2 years ago

            Vote Green Party. They seem decent.

          • Robin_Harrison 2 years ago

            The Greens took the environment into that adversarial political system where ideology trumps reason and logic and positioned it on the left where around 50% of the population will never vote for it. Despite the fact that over 90% of people are now, to some extent, environmentally concerned.
            They may or may not be decent, the jury is out, but they have certainly done the environmental cause a serious disservice.

    • Ren Stimpy 2 years ago

      The member companies of the MCA have just made the person whose idea that probably was walk the plank. The Minerals Council can now get back to their broad focus on minerals, instead of a hitherto unhealthy focus on fossils and politics. Saruman has been exorcised from Rohan and Wormtongue ScoMo will soon get the boot as well.

      • Joe 2 years ago

        But ‘lump of coal Scotty’ is doing a heckavu job as Treasurer. He has singlehandedly sorted the deficit. Projected $37Billions Deficit comes in realised at $33Billions Deficit…he is The Fixer!

  7. RobSa 2 years ago

    Bonza, matey. Elon Musk rocks.

  8. Ian 2 years ago

    What is our battery market size in Australia? Here are some categories that we could put numbers to. The totals given here are just a guess to get some ideas rolling:
    1. Grid sized batteries such as Jay’s big battery: 100MWH scale 10 per state= 60
    60 x 100 = 600MWH
    2. Solar and wind farm firming: 30 to 100MWH: say 30 per state. = 180
    180 x 50 = 900MWH
    3. Off grid and remote mines, towns and installations: 1 to 30MWH: 100/state = 600
    600 x 15 = 9000 MWH
    4. Small businesses, farms: 30KWH to 1MWH : 2000/state. =12 000
    12000 x 0.5 = 6000MWH
    5. Homes with solar and storage: 1KWH to 30 KWH : 4 million
    4 000 000 x 0.15 = 60 000 MWH
    6. EV trucks : 75 KWH to 1MWH: 4.5 million
    4 500 000 x 0.2 = 900 000MWH
    7. EV cars: 30 to 85KWH. 14. Million
    14 500 000 x 0.06 = 870 000MWH

    • Tom 2 years ago

      The point you make is a very good one – that Australia has far more combined potential future storage in small, privately owned batteries of the kWh scale (houses, cars, & trucks) than it has in large, grid-scale batteries.

      This is because their energy is not competing against the wholesale price of electricity – it is either competing against the retail price of electricity (assuming storage is coupled with solar), or against the retail price of petrol/ diesel.

      On one hand this is great news for the grid – they don’t have to pay for it, because private individuals have done the job for them. On the other hand it is bad news, because many of these private individuals now have the ability to wave goodbye to the grid altogether.

      Individuals would have 100MWh of storage total (car plus domestic batteries). The only time they’d need extra energy is if they had to go on a long drive after an overcast week, and for this situation you can get a petrol backup generator for less than $2000 – much cheaper than an extra 40MWh of home battery storage.

      The grid needs to recognise this rapidly emerging situation quick smart, and manage it as an opportunity rather than as a challenge.

      • Ian 2 years ago

        Thanks Tom, your angle is a good one. My comment was intended to show the enormous market potential in just our little country. Tesla’ gigafactory is designed originally to produce 35 GW of batteries a year. We could potentially need 1800GW of batteries. Assuming these last 7000 cycles with one recharge a day that’s a life of 20 years. We would have replace 1800/20 = 90 GW of batteries every year at steady state. That’s the output of 2.6 gigafactories, just for Australia.

        Creating a totally renewables economy is a big task, but is also a near limitless business opportunity. News articles say China’s and Europe’s battery manufacturing is set to rival or beat Tesla’s gigafactory, but the truth is that there is plenty of scope for many competitors. Our country should be building its own battery manufacturing industry – a kind of moon-shot initiative –

        For us the task is not so expensive: US $5 billion for 1 gigafactory. We spend $100 million/km on the pacific highway construction. For 50 km worth of pacific highway we could have one gigafactory!

        • Mike Westerman 2 years ago

          To say nothing of the $36B pa of imported transport fuel…plus, at the moment, we export about $200B of products, most of which would have about 10% transport costs. If this was all using indigenous energy, we would be exporting our RE instead of importing fuel.

    • Alastair Leith 2 years ago

      1. 100 MWh, 10 per state => 10 x 6 x 100 MWh = 6,000 MWh
      2. 50 MWh, 30 per state => 30 x 6 x 50 Mwh = 9,000 MWh

      • Ian 2 years ago

        Your arithmatic is better than mine. But, what do you think, fully decarbonising transportation with EV trucks and cars would require battery storage capacity far exceeding all stationary battery uses. Not trying to be pedagogical here but just putting thoughts to text:

        The problem with stationary storage is that for your investment dollar the best you can achieve is about one recharge cycle a day. Your money is only doing work when the battery is discharging. (Neglecting lucrative FCAS etc)

        EV with Vehicle to Grid capabilities, turn this problem around: You buy the vehicle for its range but drive it according to your daily needs – not much different to an ICE vehicle where it has a fuel storage tank designed to last a week of commuting or designed to cover a much longer travel distance and has an engine with far higher output than the average trip requires. So, here’s the rub: your EV with an 60 KWH battery, on average, uses 6KWH a day. The grid energy needed to keep transportation going is therefore 1/10 of the battery capacity available. Using a proportion of the idle EV battery capacity for home and grid storage needs, does both vehicle owner and grid a favour.

  9. Rebecca 2 years ago

    What a shame Mr Musk is not eligible to be Prime Minister. Brains & working for the future plus a clean green World. Now Malcolm Turnbull threatens to punish the States that are actually working for their residents, because they have stopped gas fracking & coal mining. Australia is in the midst of the largest black out of all time, the lack of political brain power.

    • Alastair Leith 2 years ago

      You wouldn’t waste a Musk in politics, it would probably destroy him.

      • Rebecca 2 years ago

        We wouldn’t like to destroy Musk. Just a little, well really a large amount frustrated with our Politicians.

  10. Rod 2 years ago

    Am I the only one who thinks a canopy with solar panels to shade the battery containers would be a good idea?
    I know they have active cooling but a bit of shade would help.

    • Mesca Lita 2 years ago

      Great idea!

    • Steve159 2 years ago

      Cost of structure to support, plus maintenance is far easier when near the ground, and let’s face it, it’s not like we’re short of open spaces to put them.

      • Mark Roest 2 years ago

        There is also an alternative structural system that is much less expensive, uses far less materials, and is much stronger. Check it out at http://www.CaptiveColumn.com. Bucky Fuller once said, “Congratulations, you did what I was trying to achieve with the Tensegrity Truss.”
        The same 20′ long, balsa wood and fiberglass beam weighing just 65 pounds is shown in the two pictures on the home page; the tractor is imposing a 10,000 pound beam load which deflects the structure just 8″, and the deflection went away when the load was removed. The US Army Corps of Engineers said it was the equivalent of a 420 pound wide flange steel beam, and a 280 pound high strength steel I-beam.
        Warning: if you are interested in such things and you start to read this website, you may not be able to stop for at least 3 hours.

  11. Tim Hannigan 2 years ago

    Been a sixties kid, glued to the Apollo landings, watching the jestson, been a little dissapointed with progress to now. I love Elon Musk, giving it all a great shake and moving things along.

  12. Tim Buckley 2 years ago

    Brilliant to see, but highly likely on current form our Federal LNP will continue to bray to the tune of their fossil fool bosses. Lucky for Australia the state governments seem more realistic and more interested in getting on with the job of solving Australia’s temporary but extreme energy security crisis. Musk is a visionary, we need more like him.

  13. JoeR_AUS 2 years ago


    “We have 700MW of installed solar, 1700MW of wind, we are at the beginning of a brave new world where you can harness the wind and the sun, and schedule firm energy.”

    Even during the day – best case scenario, its not enough as right now SA still uses 749mw of gas from 1796mw SA demand.

    So how many more farms of wind, solar and batteries are needed when RE is at 2% during winter nights and GAS is at 98% ?

    • Mike Westerman 2 years ago

      Well if your numbers are right on SA demand, 650MW of PHES plus the 150MW of solar thermal, the big battery and domestic batteries for the short term peaks, should do it. I’m aware of 800MW of PHES that could be available by 2024 at the latest, almost 400MW pre 2022.

      • JoeR_AUS 2 years ago

        Right now meant NEM @ 10:18am 4/10/17

        You will still fall short when the gas needed is 1700mw and also how do you charge the batteries when there is 8 hr day (winter) and what ever is generated (solar and Wind) is consumed during the day?

        • Mike Westerman 2 years ago

          I don’t think anyone is suggesting SA leaves the NEM so geographical diversity will provide for local shortfalls. AEMO is mandating gas be online for stability reasons and PHES will displace gas in that role. AEMO anticipates that in the near future SA will export power most of the time, earning extra income for the state. That in no way prohibits imports!

          • JoeR_AUS 2 years ago

            AEMO, Federal gov is mandating that GAS is kept for the States that shut down there power stations etc like VIC and SA.

            What happens when NSW shuts down it power stations, sorry not allowed, as we got to keep the others States ruining….

          • Mike Westerman 2 years ago

            I’m not sure of your point here. NSW is a net importer of power from Qld and the Snowy. It has a ban of further CSG development, so is an importer of gas. The Feds are trying reserve domestic gas without actually pulling the trigger on a mandatory domestic gas reservation. Clearly this raises the risk to explorers/ producers, but is foolish also in that if more RE was installed it would take the pressure off gas use in electricity. Coal power stations will continue to be closed when they reach the point, as Liddell has, when they are beyond their economic life. The question then is what to replace them with: the cheapest is RE, with RE plus PHES cheaper than gas peakers, so the obvious choice when the RE supply drops

          • JoeR_AUS 2 years ago

            Interesting where a dialog ends up going.

            Actually SA (smallest electricity State) uses the most gas in Australia, some times more than the rest of Australia put together!

            So here is the problem as SA needs a lot of gas at times and barely some at others – due to weather and winter cycles. AGL and the others manipulate the available price to there advantage.

            NSW barely uses Gas, our solar farms easily double it during the day. Also the last time I looked the Snowy was part of NSW or was it sold to another State?

            The problem I am alluding to is, RE vary a lot and then you depend on other States via NEM. As the non SA States turn of there power stations (coal) how will the short fall be made up? eg VIC soon NSW.

            Until the discussion matures and we start to talk about seasonal power storage ie we store enough power to cover the weather and winter when RE are not sufficient in real time, I think we will go through a lot more disruption and the cost will only rise with a JIT business/supply electricity model.

          • Mike Westerman 2 years ago

            Joe I wonder where you get your numbers from! If you refer to the Australian Energy Regulator “State of the Energy Market May 2017” you will see you assertions are completely baseless. SA gas for electricity consumption was about 40PJ compared to Qld 55PJ. SA has the highest proportion of electricity produced by gas but that is falling as RE increases, and will fall even more when storage is progressively added. NSW used about half SA in 2016 largely because of the amount of power imported from Qld and Vic. Despite being the biggest consumer of power it has much smaller solar generation than Qld or SA. Its solar is about half its gas generation capacity.

            RE varies a lot but in predictable ways, so planning around that is straightforward. The Snowy is joint owned by Fed, NSW and Vic governments, with outputs shared, with water rights also governed by agreements with SA. Vic is likely to turn off most of its aging lignite plants well before Qld and NSW decommission coal, so even as Qld installs solar it will continue to export to NSW, and may well increase. SA exports to Vic will also increase.

            Seasonal storage is a non-issue because until the sun goes out, power will be available on a daily cycle, with season wind allowing hydro to be better managed. You seem to ignore over 1/8 of capacity is hydro, and wind typically across a geographically disperse area has a firm capacity of >10%. But for sure, power prices of zero during the day from excess solar will certainly make many businesses rethink their power and investment strategies.

  14. James Watson 2 years ago

    I’d like to see a collaboration to realize an innovation in urban mobility through shared economy autonomous vehicles between Tesla, Google, Amazon, and Uber.

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