Mike Cannon-BrookesҠsolar, battery flop ֠The Australian Financial Review
The whole production was tacitly political, of course, touting the healing power of battery and solar power over the sinful filth emitted by regional Australia’s prevalent emergency diesel generators – a cheap and easy dawn raid in the energy policy wars, in which MCB is a self-styled general.
“We were having to go up every couple of days and refuel generators and support that operation continuously,” firefighter Marty Webster told Seven. “But once we can get an alternative in place like a solar installation, that’s fantastic because that takes the pressure off us to keep resupplying those sort of sites.”
“The whole thing started 3½ weeks ago, and we already have multiple sites live and the goal of being able to put 100 sites live in 100 days is pretty impactful,” MCB humbly submitted.
“So to be able to put one’s resources in and then see actual, physical goods appear it’s pretty motivating”.
Eleven months later, a cynical person might conclude that Cannon-Brookes’ foremost motivation was headlines, given most of the actual, physical goods never appeared.
To date, the Resilient Energy Collective has installed a grand total of six power units – only four more sites than were already live back when MCB was commending his own impactfulness. Forget 100 in 100 days, it’s six in 11½ months.
A more innocent explanation than guile is naivety. While Cannon-Brookes was telling the Sydney Morning Herald that “this is not a for-profit exercise for us there’s a movement of speed here that’s really, really important”, the local utilities were rebuilding their network infrastructure in five seconds flat, rendering MCB’s Musketeer kits superfluous.
Their survival depended on it. Did the billionaire really expect energy companies to help him permanently take its users off-grid?
In the words of Charlie Munger, “show me the incentive and I’ll show you the outcome”.
Or as Musk himself said (though clearly not to Mike and Annie), “You shouldn’t do things differently just because they’re different. They need to be better.”
The Resilient Energy Collective stands ready, with 94 rigs at hand, for the 2022 bushfire season