Weatherill defends big battery plan
SOUTH Australian Premier Jay Weatherill has brushed aside federal government disinterest in the state’s plan to build the world’s biggest battery to help stabilise its energy network and cut power prices.
Billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk’s company Tesla will build the 100 megawatt lithium ion battery within 100 days or deliver it for free.
But acting Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce dismissed the project as a nice idea but too small to make a difference.
“It’s a good idea but the capacity is not there,” Mr Joyce said yesterday. “A grain of sugar is an advantage to a teaspoon, but it doesn’t make a hell of a lot of difference.”
Mr Weatherill, who went to see the site for the battery, described the federal reaction as negative and opportunistic.
“Don’t say anything if you can’t say something positive,” Mr Weatherill said. “I think anybody who was actually looking at this objectively would say it was a great idea.”
Mr Weatherill said the battery project would also create jobs in the local area in tourism and other sectors and would help unlock other renewable energy projects.
SA also expects to cash in on the star power of Mr Musk with the announcement already gaining global attention.