Premier’s bid to steal Tesla from SA
QUEENSLAND could be transformed from the Sunshine State to the nation's capital for hi-tech batteries.
The Courier-Mail can reveal Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has been in secret talks with billionaire Elon Musk's company Tesla about shifting its focus to Queensland.
It comes after South Australia's newly-elected Marshall Government promised to disentangle the state's involvement with Tesla and scuttle their predecessor's plans for the world's biggest "virtual power plant".
Senior Tesla executives met with Ms Palaszczuk at State Parliament this week and indicated their interest in the Government's 50 per cent renewable target by 2030.
The Premier confirmed she met with Tesla and talks were expected to continue.
"I made it clear that if South Australia is no longer willing to deal with Tesla, the Queensland Government would welcome them here with a possible eye to becoming a gateway to Asia," Ms Palaszczuk told The Courier-Mail.
With ballooning household interest in battery storage to lower electricity bills, the Palaszczuk Government has been pursuing opportunities to build battery production factories in Queensland.
The Premier met with Tesla executives while on a trade mission to the United States in 2015 and invited Mr Musk to Queensland so they could discuss a partnership.
"Tesla is a perfect fit for Queensland given their appetite for innovation in renewable energy, especially solar," she said at the time.
However, Mr Musk, who recently sold 20,000 hi-tech flamethrowers through his infrastructure firm, The Boring Company, has been heavily focused on South Australia.
After building the "world's biggest battery" to help support the state's trouble-plagued power system, Mr Musk recently struck an agreement with South Australia to install solar systems and Tesla Powerwall 2 battery units in 50,000 homes over four years for free.
Tesla would have continued to own the units which would be combined into an interconnected system to create a 250 megawatt "virtual power plant" that could feed electricity back into the grid.
While there was criticism over whether Tesla could raise $800 million from investors, analysis indicated power bills for participating households would be lowered by 30 per cent.
However, new South Australian Premier Steve Marshall last week killed off the deal, saying the virtual power plant was "not part of our agenda".
The decision has prompted Tesla to look for other destinations for its concept and a virtual power plant would help the Palaszczuk Government reach the 50 per cent renewables target.