Australia is still one of the largest producers and even more exporters of coal worldwide and made itself unpopular at the beginning of 2020, for example, when plans for a huge new hard coal mine continued despite much criticism from the country itself and the rest of the world. At the same time, however, Australia is one of the sunniest areas in the world, and several of its states have set up programs for photovoltaic systems and storage so that the large amount of solar energy is also used. Tesla plays an important role in this. And according to the latest statements by a manager from the company, Australia as a whole could go from being a coal nation to a country that is playing a central role in the restructuring of the global energy system.
Climate solutions from Australia
In Australia, Tesla installed its first large-scale stationary storage system in 2017, which for a long time remained the largest lithium-ion battery in the world and is still one of the largest today. 40 more industrial-scale storage projects are currently being planned in the country, said Mark Twidell, Director of Tesla’s energy division, at a conference. According to a report by the Australian Financial Review (AFR), his team built Tesla’s first giant battery in Australia.
Overall, the country could benefit enormously from the accelerated switch to renewable energies, said Twidell, according to the AFR report. On the one hand, it is about raw materials: In Australia there is not only climate-damaging coal, but also, for example, plenty of lithium as the element without which, in keeping with the name, no lithium-ion battery can do. There is also more than enough of these and other energy transition raw materials in the country, and the demand for them is increasing rapidly, said the Tesla manager.
In the meantime, this is no longer just a question of ecological advantages, but also of tangible economic benefits, said Twidell, according to AFR. According to forecasts, the entire supply chain for lithium-ion batteries will reach a market volume of 400 billion dollars by 2030. And for Australia, the Tesla manager doesn’t just have exports of electric cars and battery raw materials in mind: it could sell entire “climate solutions” to the rest of the world, he said.
Tesla as a distributed electricity supplier
This is likely to relate both to the private solar and storage programs in the country, some with Tesla technology, and to the activities of companies on a utility scale. In Australia, Tesla is also already offering an electricity tariff for owners of photovoltaic roofs and Powerwall batteries, which is based on the production of renewable sources. The AI software Autobidder takes care of the coordination.
In the long term, CEO Elon Musk wants to make Tesla a globally distributed supplier whose energy business could be bigger than that of electric cars. And in Australia there are apparently not only the raw materials necessary for this, but also otherwise good prerequisites for driving the global energy transformation forward.