Tesla CEO Elon Musk is ramping up his doom-and-gloom predictions about Australia’s energy problems, even as his company continues to work on a 100-day challenge to build the world’s largest lithium-ion battery installation to aid the country.
Musk discussed Australia’s complicated energy issues during a recent appearance on the country’s version of 60 Minutes, according to News.com. During the interview, Musk admitted that he knows very little about the politics driving the debate around power generation in the country, where skyrocketing utility costs are causing some people to forego the use of electricity entirely to avoid massive bills. He did, however, say that Australia needs to embrace renewable technology or face a catastrophic reckoning.
“It’s a definition that if it’s not renewable, it’s going to run out at some point,” he said. “And we will have the choice of the collapse of civilization and into the dark ages we go, or we find something renewable.”
Australia’s energy problems are well-documented, but Musk’s statement sounds more like the type of warning that runs in the beginning of a post-apocalyptic action movie than a prediction from someone invested in improving the situation. He’s essentially saying that Mad Max could be a template for an Australia without renewables, which is a bleak, if somewhat unrealistic, future.
Musk dove into the Australian power quagmire after some Twitter banter that escalated to a bet that Tesla could build out an energy system with 100 megawatt (MW) capacity for South Australia over a 100 day period — or Musk would foot the bill himself. The proposed system will stabilize the state’s power grid and provide enough energy for over 30,000 households, according to Tesla.
The project launched on Sept. 29, reportedly with 50 MW already built out, and is slated to be completed on Dec. 1. The battery installation will store power generated by a 99-wind turbine facility owned by sustainable energy producer Neoen.
Tesla and its contractor still have a month to finish off the South Australian battery project, which could make the renewable power even more palatable. The energy situation in Australia might be tenuous — but it’s a stretch to start calling for a future filled with Warboys and Thunderdomes right now.
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