The new premier of South Australia, Steven Marshall, is unconvinced about a virtual power plant project that had been proposed by Tesla and accepted by Jay Weatherill, the Australian state’s previous premier, in February.
The project aims to put thousands of solar panels and batteries on South Australian homes, starting with public Housing Trust properties, to create a 250MW distributed “power plant,” which can respond to grid signals and isolate itself (or “island”) during outages. The project would have received a AU$2 million (US$1.54 million) grant from the state, as well as AU$30 million (US$23.16 million) in state-backed loans.
Marshall’s objection to the project seems to be rooted in its structure rather than in a blanket opposition to energy storage. On Monday, when a reporter asked Marshall about the plan to outfit Housing Trust homes with solar panels and batteries, he replied, “That’s not part of our agenda. Our agenda is 40,000 homes.” The 40,000 homes is a reference to Marshall’s plan to put up $100 million in subsidies to offer a $2,500 grant on each battery storage unit installed at 40,000 homes.