Tesla slams South Australia’s proposed security target

South Australia’s proposed energy security target has been slammed by Tesla as a “relic” that incentivises old energy technology over new, including the kind of grid-scale lithium-ion battery system that the US giant is building in the state.

The proposed EST, designed by Danny Price from Frontier Economics, has attracted broad criticism for a design that is said to favour and deliver potential windfalls to incumbent gas plants.

Some of the most searing criticism has come from Tesla, which has warned that the retrograde policy position – which it likened to choosing paper records over digital files – would jeopardise South Australia’s leadership role on renewable energy.

“We do not feel that the draft Regulations and supporting consultation paper are representative of the current South Australian position as leaders and innovators in the renewable energy space,” Tesla wrote.

In a submission, written in May, Tesla said the EST proposal favoured only one incumbent technology (gas), and assumed that kinetic inertia was the only way to manage frequency excursions in South Australia.

“The Regulations support incumbent gas generation assets that are neither low-emissions, nor capable of providing a long-term flexible technical solution to South Australian grid frequency excursions.”

“International evidence shows synthetic inertia provides improved network reliance, and it can provide a superior option for South Australia,” it says.

The criticisms pour cold water over last month’s announcement of the battery installation to be built for the government by Tesla at the Hornsdale wind farm in Jamestown, to provide essential grid services and peak supply.

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Giles Parkinson