The man who kicked off discussions between the government and fellow billionaire tech entrepreneur Elon Musk to fix South Australia’s energy crisis says the plan “will come to fruition” by summer.
Co-founder of giant software outfit Atlassian Mike Cannon-Brookes vowed to find financial and political backing for Musk’s proposal – a 100 megawatt-hours battery – when the Tesla boss first raised the idea on Twitter in March.
Mr Musk claimed his energy-storage and electric car manufacturer could get the system installed and working “100 days from contract signature” or it would be handed over for free.
Mr Cannon-Brookes says he has “little doubt” a facility of that size would have “certainly helped, if not eliminated” almost all of South Australia’s energy problems, such as last year’s catastrophic statewide blackout.
“He (Musk) could theoretically start it in September and get it done by Christmas,” Mr Cannon-Brookes told AAP after delivering his TEDx talk in Sydney on Friday.
Tesla is among a number of large-scale battery storage providers throwing its hat in the ring to boost generation.
Mr Cannon-Brookes said people should not be frustrated by the state government’s pace in selecting a solution.
“The South Australian government is putting up hundreds of millions of dollars to do a lot of different changes to their energy industry,” he said.
“Changing the energy grid is a multi-decade thing and it’s been about 90 days since the tender proposals were in, so give the government some time to pick a few winners.
“It’s not unachievable at all, it’s stuck in government processes. It will come to fruition.”
Earlier this month, SA Energy Minister Tom Koutsantonis said shortlisted bidders had received the request for proposal documents, with a final decision to be made “soon” and project completion expected by December 1.
But Premier Jay Weatherill on Thursday said the state was in a “race against time” to have a system ready by summer.
Mr Cannon-Brookes said while large-scale battery storage will be “an example of solving a major power problem”, it remains a “band-aid fix” for a crisis that is not just limited to South Australia.