With energy blackouts and price spikes plaguing South Australia, Tesla Inc. chief executive Elon Musk is betting that his company can quickly solve the problem - or he'll hand over $25 million worth of the company's battery packs for free.
Thursday night, in a short back-and-forth on Twitter with Australian software billionaire Mike Cannon-Brookes, Musk confirmed the company's offer was sincere, writing, "Tesla will get the system installed and working 100 days from contract signature or it is free. That serious enough for you?"
Cannon-Brookes responded, "You're on mate. Give me 7 days to try and sort out politics & funding."
Intense heat waves, made more likely by human-driven climate change, have scorched Australia this year, with temperatures regularly topping 100 degrees Fahrenheit. That has stressed the province's power infrastructure, causing energy demand to spike, supplies to dwindle, and a major blackout to occur last month.
Australia is the world's top market for rooftop solar, and South Australia uses more renewable power than anywhere in the country. But fierce debates over energy policy have raged as supply has flickered.
In September, after storms collapsed electricity towers and left the entire state without power, Australia's premier Malcolm Turnbull called the blackout a "wake-up call" for politicians eyeing renewable energy targets he deemed "completely unrealistic."
And that's where Tesla enters the scene.