A few months ago, we caught wind of a bet enormous in more ways than one. The state of South Australia, wracked by an energy shortfall resulting in outages, was looking for more renewable energy. Tesla CEO Elon Musk bet that Tesla could build the world’s largest lithium-ion battery installation alongside a wind farm within 100 days, or he’d do it for free. That’s a hard offer to turn down, especially considering Elon Musk has historically been very bad at meeting self-imposed deadlines! Looks like South Australia might have to pay up, though — the latest reports out of South Australia have the installation as halfway done.
While news of the bet broke a few months ago, the 100 days didn’t start until recently. Tesla first had to win the contract in an official bidding process, then get state approval for construction. That means Tesla has cheated quite a bit — they had already been working on the project before the 100-day clock started! That’s not a sporting way to go about a bet, but hey, if it fixes the state’s power problems, there probably won’t be many complaints.
Tesla will get the system installed and working 100 days from contract signature or it is free. That serious enough for you?
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) March 10, 2017
The installation is being built with the help of Neoen, a renewable energy company. The idea is that the 100 MW battery installation will store energy harnessed from the nearby Hornsdale wind farm, which will then be used to supplement the state’s existing power grid when it gets overtaxed. The whole project got started when Elon Musk got into a Twitter conversation with Australian entrepreneur Mike Cannon-Brookes, during which he made the bet that Tesla would finish the project in 100 days or do it for free.