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Elon Musk shocked by how much Australians pay for power

Billionaire energy mogul Elon Musk was almost brought to tears by Australia’s deepening electricity crisis that has prices soaring out of control.

The Tesla boss was confronted with figures showing record numbers of people were disconnected because they couldn’t pay their bills.

‘Wow, really?’ he said in disbelief when told by 60 Minutes that power was becoming a ‘luxury item’ for many families.

Elon Musk in July promised to build the world’s biggest lithium ion battery in South Australia after the state’s disastrous blackout

‘I didn’t realise it was that expensive. Australia has so many natural resources that even if you go the fossil fuel route, electricity should be very cheap.’

His shock turned to sadness when he was told many people were worried they wouldn’t be able to turn on their lights or cook food.

‘I did not expect that,’ he said, his voice wavering, before pausing several seconds and promising: ‘We’ll work harder.’

Mr Musk in July promised to build the world’s biggest lithium ion battery in South Australia after the state’s disastrous blackout.

The billionaire energy mogul  was almost brought to tears by Australia's deepening electricity crisis that has prices soaring out of control

The billionaire energy mogul was almost brought to tears by Australia’s deepening electricity crisis that has prices soaring out of control

But he didn’t realise he was walking into a political firestorm that saw his ambitious project mercilessly mocked by the Federal Government. 

‘By all means, have the world’s biggest battery, have the world’s biggest banana, have the world’s biggest prawn like we have on the roadside around the country, but that is not solving the problem,’ Treasurer Scott Morrison said at the time.

‘Thirty thousand SA households could not get through watching one episode of Australia’s Ninja Warrior with this big battery, so let’s not pretend it is a solution.’

Mr Musk was confused as to what the Big Banana actually was, but admitted criticism from Australia’s government go to him.

‘I didn’t realise there was this big battle going on, I just didn’t know,’ he said on Sunday night’s program.

‘We get that all the time. It can be a little disheartening, yeah.’

He didn't realise he was walking into a political firestorm that saw his ambitious project mercilessly mocked by the Federal Government

He didn’t realise he was walking into a political firestorm that saw his ambitious project mercilessly mocked by the Federal Government

The government is sticking to its guns, with Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg saying it wasn't enough to stop another blackout

The government is sticking to its guns, with Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg saying it wasn’t enough to stop another blackout

The government is sticking to its guns, with Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg saying it wasn’t enough to stop another blackout.

‘Elon Musk’s battery was a fraction of the size of the Snowy Hydro Scheme,’ he said.

‘It was sold to the people of South Australia by Jay Weatherill as an answer to their woes, whereas in reality, it’s just a fraction of what that state needs.’

Mr Frydenberg talked up the government’s National Energy Guarantee, even though he himself said it would only cut bills by up to $115 a year. 

Mr Musk said Australia was ‘perfect’ for solar power and not only could it get all its energy from solar, wind, and other renewables – it could even export it.

‘Australia could export power to Asia, there’s so much land there you could actually power a significant chunk of Asia,’ he said.

Mr Musk believed his 100 megawatt (129MWh) battery could be the first step to Australia becoming a renewable energy powerhouse

Mr Musk believed his 100 megawatt (129MWh) battery could be the first step to Australia becoming a renewable energy powerhouse

He believed his 100 megawatt (129MWh) battery could be the first step to Australia becoming a renewable energy powerhouse.

‘You have to do these things to get the world’s attention, otherwise they just don’t believe you, they don’t think it’s possible,’ he said.

‘People in Australia should be proud of the fact that Australia has the world’s biggest battery.

‘This is pretty great.’It is an inspiration and it will serve to say to the whole world that this is possible.’

Mr Musk said the world needed to quickly switch to renewable power or it would be sent back to the ‘dark ages’.

‘We will have the choice of the collapse of civilisation and into the dark ages we go or we find something renewable,’ he said.

Michael and Melissa Powney installed a Tesla lithium battery and connected it to their solar panels, which can charge up in a few hours of sunshine

Michael and Melissa Powney installed a Tesla lithium battery and connected it to their solar panels, which can charge up in a few hours of sunshine

 Instead of huge power bills, the family even made $32 in money sent back to the grid in the past month - and had the only house on the street with power during the blackout

 Instead of huge power bills, the family even made $32 in money sent back to the grid in the past month – and had the only house on the street with power during the blackout

Batteries on a much smaller scale were already available and helping Australian families slash their power bills.

Michael and Melissa Powney installed a Tesla lithium battery and connected it to their solar panels, which can charge up in a few hours of sunshine.

Instead of huge power bills, the family even made $32 in money sent back to the grid in the past month – and had the only house on the street with power during the blackout.

‘We were seeing electricity bills of over $1,000 before we put the solar in, so I can only imagine what they would be like now if we didn’t,’ Mr Powney said.

 

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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