Victoria’s new Tesla battery operated for 16 hours before exploding into flames

Australians are sick to death of politicians who don’t care about our energy security.

As we’ve said for years now, this country needs a new fleet of HELE coal-fired power plants to carry us through the decade, and a nuclear industry to carry us through the next century.

However, all we seem to get are Chinese-made batteries, solar panels, wind turbines and 101 per cent increases in energy pricesthe consequences of which Geelong experienced over the past five days.

Here’s a timeline of events:

  1. 5th of November 2020: Victoria’s Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change Lily D’Ambrosio announced her government would “sign a contract with renewable energy specialist Neoen to deliver a new [300-megawatt] Tesla battery [just outside Geelong] to transform Victoria’s energy system and improve reliability. It will be ready by the 2021-22 summer. The big battery will help protect our network in summer, create jobs and drive down energy prices”.
  2. 6.15pm, 29th of July 2021: According to energy expert Paul McArdle, Minister D’Ambrosio’s Tesla Battery showed “the first sign of any operations at 6.15pm on Thursday, with 25 megawatts of charging”.
  3. 10.30am, 30th July 2021: More than 30 fire trucks and about 150 firefighters from CFA and Fire Rescue Victoria responded to an incident at the Tesla Battery facility after reports that a fire had engulfed one of its 13-tonne lithium batteries.
  4. 12.53pm, 30th July 2021: A Watch & Act Warning was issued at 12.53pm for toxic smoke for Batesford, Bell Post Hill, Lovely Banks, Moorabool residents – suburbs close to the fire.
  5. 3.05pm, 2nd of August 2021: After more than three days of fighting the fire, the incident was declared under control, with a small number of firefighters and fire trucks from CFA to remain on scene for another 24 hours as a precaution in case of reignition.

This is a serious – and much-needed – wake up call for Australia’s politicians and bureaucrats who still think “solar panels plus battery storage is the conservative, common-sense option” for our energy grid as Bill Shorten remarked before being humiliated at the 2019 federal election.

Although the total cost of the project has been conveniently kept under wraps (NB: Neoen won A$160 million in cheap finance from the Australian government earlier this year for battery installations), it's clear the Aussie taxpayer has been left with yet another dud deal.

It’s obvious that batteries are unable to effectively underwrite an industrial energy grid considering Tesla’s new battery was on fire for over three times longer than it even produced energy.

No one can argue batteries are “cleaner” and “greener” than coal-fired power and nuclear energy after thousands of Victorians were told to “move indoors, close windows, vents and fireplace flues and bring their pets inside” due to the toxic smoke billowing into the air from the fire.

Perhaps even worse was how firefighters couldn’t put water on the fire or employ ordinary suppression methods. Instead, they had to let it “burn out” and wait for the container to cool down enough to open its doors, meaning the entire process of putting the fire out took over three days.

Australia – this is the very technology Victoria’s Energy Minister is proposing as a “clean, cheap, reliable” alternative to Victoria’s “ageing coal-fired generators”.

It's time we turfed these people out of Parliament and replaced them with people whose rationality isn’t compromised by pathetic green dreams of reaching net zero emissions and saving the planet.