Australia's most renewable-energy dependent state outlined plans on Tuesday to spend A$510 million ($385 million) to keep the lights on, just four days after Tesla boss Elon Musk offered to save the state from blackouts by installing large-scale battery storage.
The plan includes A$150 million to encourage development of a 100MW battery storage plant, possibly from Musk or from a number of local providers. The state will also build and operate a new A$360 million gas power plant to help stabilize its electricity system.
The South Australia (SA) government came up with the emergency plan after a state-wide blackout last September during a wild storm that left homes and businesses in the dark for up to eight hours and paralyzed some industries for up to two weeks.
The state, which relies on wind for about a third of its power capacity, has become vulnerable to outages and soaring prices as it doesn't have enough back-up power when the wind isn't blowing.
South Australia's last coal-fired power station shut down last May, as it was making losses, and one of two units at a gas-fired power plant has been mothballed as its owner, France's Engie, has struggled to secure affordable gas.