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Riled Up is a journal of science, the environment, exploration, new technology, and related commentary.  Contributors include scientists, explorers, engineers, and others who provide perspectives and context not typically offered in general news circulation.  For interested readers, additional resources are included.

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Solarizing South Australia

Solarizing South Australia

Operational Mega-Lithium Powerpack Jamestown, So. Australia, (credit: Tesla)


A development that may be seen as a turning point when renewable energy production really began. It may be the start in electricity generation from solar and wind power. Tesla also won a bet.

Australia has been a world leader in promoting residential and commercial solar power. The nation is blessed with being one of the sunniest places on Earth. However, various Australian states have experienced supply and distribution problems in demand peak periods when wind and solar production is low. South Australia, in particular, has experienced 'brownouts' when parts of the state have gone 'went dark'. In stepped Elon Musk, Tesla's founder, who approached the Prime Minister and offered a bet: if Tesla didn't complete construction of a lithium storage battery within 100 days of contract signing, South Australia could keep the mega-battery for free. An agreement with South Australia was signed and the bet was on. South Australia switched on the Tesla Powerpack facility before the deadline. Tesla's mega-battery began suppling electricity to the state's power grid from electricity stored from the solar and wind facilities.

As might be expected in a nation that loves placing a bet, Tesla's battery project was closely watched by the Australian press. News organizations have started saying this was "history in the making" when Tesla's mega-battery began operating. The Australian project also caught worldwide attention when the Powerpack went online with the potential for renewable energy elsewhere.

The opportunity for renewable energy to play an increasing role in electric power generation has made a big leap into the future. The transition from coal-powered electricity has accelerated.


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