Elon Musk’s pledge to fix South Australia’s energy issues prompts Ukrainian PM to get in touch for talks

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SUN VALLEY, ID - JULY 07: Elon Musk, CEO and CTO of SpaceX, CEO and product architect of Tesla Motors, and chairman of SolarCity, attends the Allen & Company Sun Valley Conference on July 7, 2015 in Sun Valley, Idaho. Many of the worlds wealthiest and most powerful business people from media, finance, and technology attend the annual week-long conference which is in its 33nd year. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Elon Musk’s pledge to fix South Australia’s energy crisis within 100 days, or do it for free if he doesn’t meet the deadline, has prompted calls from citizens of New Zealand and the Ukrainian prime minister for the billionaire to bring similar projects to their own countries.

Storms have caused severe blackouts in the Australian state leading to price spikes with local energy firms struggling to meet demand as a result of damage to infrastructure. SolarCity is an energy firm Musk founded with his cousin Lyndon Rive. It recently merged with Tesla, the car company Musk is CEO of.

Rive told Australian news site AFR last week that SolarCity could provide the energy storage required through the battery technology it produces and this would be possible within 100 days. Mike Cannon-Brookes, the Australian founder of Nasdaq-listed tech firm Atlassian asked Musk on Twitter if this was a real bet. Musk replied that it was, adding that if the company couldn’t do it within 100 days, the contract would be free. SolarCity makes solar solutions for areas which can store up energy during the day and feed that back into an area’s grid.

The promise was applauded by Australians including Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, who thanked Musk on Twitter for an “in-depth discussion”.

Now citizens from other countries have taken to social media to ask Musk to bring his technology to their countries. A user by the name of @5AllanLeVito urged Musk to bring a similar project to Ukraine. Musk replied “sure”, and laid out the cost.

The price Musk quoted was the same figure he had told Cannon-Brooks for the South Australia project – $250 per kWh (kilowatt-hour) for 100 MWh-plus (megawatt-hour) systems. Musk’s response prompted Ukrainian Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman to ask for Musk to talk the proposal “over in details”.

And Matthew Warner, a co-founder at agricultural technology firm Acuris Systems, asked the Tesla CEO if he could come to New Zealand, where the entrepreneur is based. Musk replied that he is “looking forward to it”, adding that his favorite book is the “Lord of the Rings”. The movie version of the trilogy was filmed in New Zealand and Musk said he wants to visit.

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