How does Marshall battery plan stack up with Tesla-Weatherill plan?

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

How do the competing battery storage rollouts compare? Is the Marshall plan better than the Tesla proposal embraced by Weatherill?

share
Print Friendly, PDF & Email


One of the key decisions new South Australia premier Steven Marshall, and his new energy minister Dan van Holst Pellekaan will have to make in the next 100 days is going to be on the rollout of his much-vaunted battery storage plan.

Readers will remember that the Liberals promoted a policy to use $100 million to subsidise the installation of battery storage units in 40,000 homes at $2,500 each.

The former Labor government trumped that idea by embracing a proposal from Tesla to create the “world’s biggest” virtual power plant, linking solar and storage in 50,000 homes, targeting low income households, and offering the technology for free, and funded by private investors.

Marshall got himself into a heap of trouble when suggesting that the Tesla plan “was not part of our agenda”, despite contacts already being written for the first two stages which target 1,100 installations.

It raised concerns that a plan that would deliver 250MW and 650MWh of solar and battery storage to Housing Trust tenants and other low income households would be dumped in favour of a scheme accessible only to those who could afford rooftop solar, and extra payments for batteries.

Judging by the response on RenewEconomy and on social media, the reaction was huge. So we’re delighted to publish this like for like comparison of the Tesla proposal embraced by former premier Jay Weatherill, and the Marshall plan.

The table was prepared by Simon Holmes à Court, a senior advisor at the Energy Transition Hub in Melbourne. He says the table shows there was a lot to like about the Tesla plan developed with the former government.

“It would have delivered immediate electricity bill relief to low income houses, a known quantity of additional generation and dispatchable energy,” he says.

It also featured central coordination — allowing the battery to provide the services that the Hornsdale megabattery provides — and was to be mostly funded by the private sector.

The first cut of the Marshall Plan, however, involves much greater government expenditure, benefits will flow to those under much less bill stress (existing solar owners), will result in an unspecified amount of storage and will not directly result in any more generation.

Importantly, without a co-ordinated approach, household systems will not be able to provide the level of service that Tesla’s existing battery has become famous for.

That’s something for Marshall and Pellekaan and their advisors to think about. We suspect that software developers and integrated battery storage companies are already knocking on their doors.

Holmes à Court says it’s important to realise that Marshall developed this plan from opposition, and he will now have access to much greater expertise and is in a position to revise the plan.

“He now has an opportunity to improve upon the initial Tesla plan, and put his own stamp on it.”

Or, as RenewEconomy suggested the other day – he could go ahead with both and get 100,000 homes connected to storage, and each other – with the benefits likely to significantly outweigh the cost.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email


31 Comments
  1. Joe 2 years ago

    What chance that the Marshall does in fact do both his ‘The Marshall Plan’ as well as ‘ex-Premier Jay’s Plan’ . He can call it Marshall 2.0….will create a lot of winners.

    • Chris Drongers 2 years ago

      We can hope. Perhaps accept the ‘fullfillment’ of the Tesla plan as a pre-existing contract while quietly (and slowly because of costs and perceptions of favouring the we’ll off) the Marshall plan.
      Will be interesting to see Frydenberg and Canavan squashing Marshall back into the gas generator box.
      And reality is setting in with the real likely costs of the nsw connector becoming more widely known. NEG will get up as it is the only game allowed but more riders are being added (installed batteries large and small, surging solar installations large and small) at the same time that population awareness of issues and costs is slowly improving.

      • Joe 2 years ago

        It’s gonna be one helluva lovein seeing the Joshie, the COALavan and the Marshall…all squishing together as you say in the gas generator boxy.

        • rob 2 years ago

          Ewwww. Images……..I have a very visual mind….sorry hettie

    • manicdee 2 years ago

      Buckley’s and none.

      The Federal-level Liberal Party has already expressed their enthusiasm for Marshall’s dumping of a Labor policy and instituting a Federal Liberal-friendly policy in its place (importantly: dumping a policy that would have brought a public benefit and replaced it with a policy that gives free money to rich people).

      One option that Marshall has is to perform a Cost Benefit Analysis where the benefits and costs include state-wide and nation-wide analysis of electricity costs, economic benefits to state housing tenants of a 30% discount on electricity prices, etc. Being able to brandish such a weapon will help him fend off the inevitable interference from the Federal Liberals.

      But when have Liberals ever performed a Cost Benefit Analysis when their ideology is on the line? Even starting such an effort will be political suicide for Marshall.

  2. Alan S 2 years ago

    One positive is that Dan van HP’s electorate of Stuart includes Port Augusta. Ever since it was proposed by Repower Port Augusta, he was the lone voice amongst opposition Libs in support of the solar thermal storage power station. Now he’s in govt lets hope the enthusiasm continues.

    • Joe 2 years ago

      ‘The Pelican’ will stay home and roost nice and cosy atop his solar thermal tower.

      • Simon Holmes A Court 2 years ago

        mr percival!

        • Joe 2 years ago

          Who will ‘The Storm Boy’ ?

    • BushAxe 2 years ago

      Dan will be lynched if the Lib’s let the Aurora project fall over, there’s alot riding on it for Pt Augusta.

  3. john 2 years ago

    Marshall will glory in the present commitments and be able to say he has delivered.
    Regardless at least some solar and some battery will be put in place.
    Putting a lot of batteries in homes will lower the duck curve to some degree which will be beneficial.
    Mind what is needed is a whole lot more to lower the curve.

    • Joe 2 years ago

      That’s the nature of politik, first you slam your opponents plans and then take the credit for all their good stuff when they are no longer around. Whether it is Labor or Liberals ( I am a Greens supporter ) in power I just want to see good policy delivered by whomever is sitting in the Big Chair. If the Marshall continues with Labor / Jay’s thread of RE implementation then I will be the first to applaud that. But if he reverts to the COALition DNA position of obstruction and delay of the RE transition in order to promote FF, then I like many, will call him out.

      • john 2 years ago

        Very true Joe.

      • rob 2 years ago

        Congrats for being a fellow GREENY! Great comment by the way! cheers rob

    • Ian 2 years ago

      F the duck, that’s coal-talk. SA is way beyond the old baseload problem. It’s task is to manically over-generate electricity and then find ways to either use it all, store it, pass it on to its neighbours or waste it.

      • john 2 years ago

        Duck curve is the result of Solar being put in place, previously the energy usage or demand was a bell curve now it is a duck in the morning before solar fires up it is above the daytime usage and in the evening when solar goes down is the highest demand for power.
        Just image if millions of people had batteries to power that demand in the evening it would again flatten the duck curve.
        As to the morning demand only those with rather large storage would be able to deliver.
        However I see this happening in the not so distance few years.
        Well those who are still connected to the grid that is.

      • john 2 years ago

        It is not coal-talk it is how it is for a few years.

  4. Gary Rowbottom 2 years ago

    Seems pretty clear cut to me. The Weatherill plan trumps (oops) the Marshall law on every front. I’ll see what Dan Van Holst Pellekaan has to say about this.

    • Anne McInnes 2 years ago

      Both plans and sell Port Augusta’s excess to NSW when coal blacks them out 😉

      • manicdee 2 years ago

        The Marshall plan has no capacity to sell excess power from rich people’s stand alone batteries.

    • Rod 2 years ago

      Me too, one is a very good plan for households and the grid.
      The other is no more than a brain fart. And still waiting for the means test income and asset limits.

      • Roger Brown 2 years ago

        Thinking what the LNP, “Would do” ? No asset limits and income up to $250,000 yr , after their off shore accounts filled up , and only 5 Holiday homes each.

        • Rod 2 years ago

          I’m a tad more cynical and think the asset and income limits will be set low enough to exclude those with the means.
          And those on low incomes are unlikely to take up the offer.
          The outcome would be a very low uptake which fits in with the COALition doing very little to promote renewables and spending very little.

  5. Ian 2 years ago

    South Australia has two electricity economies, the grid supplying homes and businesses and the off-grid mines in the far north . Attention needs to be focussed on the mines which often use diesel for their electricity supply. This is totally unacceptable as most are surrounded by the best SA has to offer – space and blue skies. Olympic dam is deciding on a massive expansion and they plan 600MW of gas generation on site. https://www.bhp.com/-/media/bhp/regulatory-information-media/copper/olympic-dam/0000/draft-eis-main-report/odxeischapter5descriptionoftheproposedexpansion58to510.pdf

    Methinks all the home battery initiatives by both faces of the SA political coin are a smoke-screen for this travesty to climate change. The Penii at BHP have an opportunity to do the right thing and maximise the use of local renewables resources such as solar and wind, but it seems they are limiting their options to CO2 – emitting technology.

    Unless this below-the-radar activity is brought to public attention SA will be locked-in to this climate-damaging disaster.

    • itdoesntaddup 2 years ago

      I would strongly suspect that the economics of BHP’s plan make much more sense than your proposal. Just wait and see how much subsidy Gupta extracts from you fro Whyalla. Is BHP asking for subsidies?

  6. A Bullock 2 years ago

    The Labor plan did actually contemplate a co payment by non- housing trust homes. The figure was never announced but it is misleading to show $0 cost for households.

    Further the plan was the equivalent of a toll road, low cost to government but make a heap of money for the private investment.

    • Lightfoot 2 years ago

      Not at all. It wasn’t going to be forced on anyone the way toll roads are – participation was entirely optional, and would result in lower electricity bills for low income participants.
      It was a great plan. Long live Premier Jay.

  7. willholmau 2 years ago

    As of 13:45 24/3/18 S.A.’s electricity supply is 74% renewable , 26% gas. Mission accomplished Jay!

    You can take a rest now.

    • Joe 2 years ago

      …er.,not quite just yet. Still that matter of 25% storage to be brought online…..bring back the Jay.

  8. CsabaU 2 years ago

    Excellent summary by the author!

  9. JoeR_AUS 2 years ago

    Holla For The Marshall Battery

Comments are closed.

Donate Now

x
Get up to 3 quotes from pre-vetted solar (and battery) installers.