Australia Is Quitting Coal in Record Time Thanks to Tesla – James Fernyhough (Bloomberg News – April 4, 2023)

(Bloomberg) — Like so much in our modern era, Australia’s high-stakes gamble on renewable energy starts with an Elon Musk Twitter brag. South Australia’s last coal-fired power plant had closed, leaving the province of 1.8 million heavily reliant on wind farms and power imports from a neighboring region.

When an unprecedented blackout caused much of the country to question the state’s dependence on clean power, Tesla boasted — on Twitter, of course — that it had a solution: It could build the world’s biggest battery, and fast. “@Elonmusk, how serious are you about this,” replied Australian software billionaire and climate activist Mike Cannon-Brookes. “Can you guarantee 100MW in 100 days?”

Musk responded: “Tesla will get the system installed and working 100 days from contract signature or it is free. That serious enough for you?” To the astonishment of many, Tesla succeeded, and today, almost seven years later, that battery and more like it have become central to a shockingly rapid energy transition.

By the middle of the next decade, major coal-fired power stations that generate about half of Australia’s electricity will shut down. Gas-fired plants are being retired, too, and nuclear power is banned. That leaves solar, wind and hydro as the major options in the country’s post-coal future.

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