Something very unique is happening in the far flung state of South Australia right now and Elon Musk is playing a lead role. South Australia is a state that is being plagued by all kind of power issues at present. The current electricity providers and the electricity grid have failed a number of times over the extremely hot summer, leaving the entire state without power. Clearly this is a major breakdown on many levels and the people are angry and rightly so.
As is often the case, the Government is busy pointing their finger at energy providers and energy providers are busy pointing their finger at the Government - but no one seems to be doing anything about it, and the people (and businesses) of South Australia are caught in the middle.
In a show of the new world immediacy that we live in, Australian software billionaire, Mike Cannon-Brookes reached out to Elon Musk to find a solution outside of the outdated red tap clogged system that is failing.
Negotiations between the two were conducted over Twitter - and in a few short exchanges, Mike Cannon-Brookes offered to find the funding and get past the red tap, within 7 days, if Elon Musk could build a 100-300 mega watt hour battery farm in South Australia.
Elon Musk not only committed to delivering the project he went on to guarantee that he could build the battery farm in 100 days and if it took any longer, it would be free to the people of South Australia.
I have no doubt that both the State and Federal Governments are taking this very seriously. Some old, and many would say archaic relationships between big power and Government are now going to be put to the test. Potentially the Australian power industry is about to "Uberized". And it started on twitter.
Now whether or not this project actually gets off the ground is not the point at this stage in my view. The intent is there. The ability for new world entrepreneurs who are cashed up, connected and capable are showing how progress can actually happen. I'm sure there will be many nervous discussions being held behind closed doors and not only here in Australia.
So whilst the closed door discussions will be about how to keep the status quo regardless of the rapidly increasing power costs and breakdown of service that is now being experienced around the country, the open conversations being had by the people are excited discussions about the future because we trust the likes of Elon Musk and Mike Cannon-Brookes to get the job done more than we trust big power and Government to come to any kind of meaningful and affordable long term solution.
Power supply may be the first step, what will come next? I'm sure many of us are hoping that the sooner Governments release the grip on services and utilities, and stop hiding behind the "national security" banner, we might actually start seeing some of the world's most intelligent companies being allowed to do what they do best, innovate. And not innovate according to the Government definition, which is pretty much anti-innovation, but instead innovate for the good of the people.
So Elon Musk and Mike Cannon-Brookes may well be on the verge of "Uberizing" big power in Australia and I for one say bring it on.