Al Gore praised Australian state plagued by blackouts for ‘leading the world’ in green energy

Former Vice President Al Gore praised an Australian state for “leading the entire world” by signing a deal with Tesla to build a massive green energy battery storage system.

But Gore is ignoring the main reason behind South Australia’s decision to build battery storage — a massive blackout caused by wind turbines.

In fact, South Australia still struggles with rolling blackouts and brownouts because it lacks enough reliable power to keep the grid running all the time.

“The electricity from both solar and wind continues to come down every single year. And the new historic development is battery storage is coming down significantly in cost,” Gore told the Aussie press, referring to South Australia’s deal with Tesla.

“And this historic announcement that South Australia is leading the entire world with the installation of the largest battery in the world, it will be the first of many to come,” Gore said.

Tesla plans on building 100 megawatts of lithium-ion battery storage in South Australia that will be paired with a wind farm. Founder Elon Musk said Tesla would complete with battery project in 100 days or it’s free.

The batteries would be able to provide power to 30,000 homes, meaning it would be the largest battery storage project in the world. No one knows for sure how much the project will cost, but estimates range from $25 million to $183 million.

“Solar and wind and batteries are the future and we see it all over the world,” Gore said.

But gore is leaving out some big problems South Australia has had with green energy.

In September, 1.7 million people were left without power for up to two weeks in some cases after 200 megawatts of wind power stopped coming on the grid during a storm. That was enough to destabilize the grid.

The storm caused some problems in the province’s transmission lines, but the blackout didn’t happen until wind power went offline. The question of how to handle future blackouts sparked a political fight.

South Australia closed its last coal-fired power plant in July, and energy experts warned there could be reliability problems as reliance on wind increased. South Australia gets 41 percent of its electricity from solar, wind and other green energy sources.

Australia’s Energy Council reported South Australia’s reliance on solar panels and wind turbines “has not only led to a series of technical challenges,” but “also increased wholesale price volatility as the state rebalances its supply from dispatchable plant to intermittent generation.”

Add in the fact Australia is shipping large amounts of natural gas, and you have a situation where energy shortages are possible. Coal plants are being closed, and gas exports put a strain on electricity supplies and prices.

South Australia’s power woes weren’t relegated to just September. Poor weather and demand predictions have caused rolling blackouts and brownouts for many business across the state.

“It’s getting to the point that we need to think about investing in a back-up generator, which is going to be extremely costly, because we can’t rely on SA power for businesses services,” said Mattis Vanzati, a cafe owner in Adelaide.

About one-quarter of the homes in South Australia have solar panels, which adds to the complexity of maintaining the grid. Wind power has also caused wild price spikes in South Australia, in some cases reaching $14,000 per megawatt hour.

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This article originally appeared in The Daily Caller

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About the Author: Michael Bastasch

Michael Bastasch writes on energy, climate and the environment for the Daily Caller.

  • James in Texas

    FatAL, doing what he does so well…………….Making himself more wealthy and Lying his backside off, Period!

  • WalterHorsting
  • Karl

    So Musk is using U.S. tax-payer money (subsidies, Tesla would be shuttered without them) to construct a huge battery storage system for Australia. I wonder how much CO2 will be released in constructing this monstrosity? Then, what will happen to it and all the toxic heavy metals when its no longer works effectively?

    • far2right

      Elon Musk. One of the greatest con men of the modern day.

      Second only to Algore.

  • First , “100 megawatts of lithium-ion battery storage” like specifying an area instead of a volume . It’s nearly meaningless without including : for how long . Is that 100 MW hours ? Is that 30k homes ( not factories ) for 1 hour ? Wind is known to fail over continent size areas for periods on the order of weeks .

    Second , the best statement on “sustainability” I’ve seen remains John Christy’s :

    If it’s not economically sustainable , it’s not sustainable .

  • Pam Dunn

    So, Just HOW MUCH POLLUTION did ManBearPig ALGore create FLYING there in his private polluting jet aircraft? Just How MUCH POLLUTION will manufacturing those
    lithium-ion batteries cause and how much pollution to dispose of them when they cease to function?

  • Siding WithConservatives

    The author, perhaps inadvertently, does a good job of outlining the proposed solution to SA’s interim outages…..bring on battery power to power the grid when the panels and turbines together do not meet the grid demand. Seems reasonable as long as it is cost effective.

    Then in the last half of the article the author does not put together a sound quantitative case as to why batteries will not help to resolve the ups and downs of alternative energy supply.

    I get it. There are substantive tax payer subsidies behind getting alternative energy off the ground and liberal politicians are basically liars in not disclosing this to the public. But a more meaningful article is going to outline the inability or ability of batteries to help resolve the current world wide problem of alternative energy supply problems.

  • far2right

    Algore: “Energy for me, but not for thee”. “You stupid Aussie’s”.