Elon Musk on the Renewable Transition

March 31, 2014

From go100percent.org

No secret that Elon Musk is the new Thomas Alva Jobs Einstein.

7 Responses to “Elon Musk on the Renewable Transition”

  1. I believe the big challenge is if we can electrify the extraction of raw materials from the ground. No doubt that will take a long time so we really should save fossil fuels to stretch that one out if we want to maintain anything resembling industrial civilization.

    Other than that I do agree with Musk about renewables, there really is no alternative – unless we all want to go out with a bang.

  2. Phillip Shaw Says:

    There is an old saying that the best time to plant a tree is twenty years ago – and the same is true of technological development, it can’t happen overnight. In the coming decades we will need to transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources for both electrical power and transportation and the sooner that process starts the less disruptive that transition can be.

    One of the things I admire about Elon Musk is his ability to look well ahead and anticipate technology needs, to think strategically, and to act intelligently to take advantage of nascent opportunities. Examples: he saw the need for a (reasonably) easy and secure means to transfer funds over the internet [Paypal]; that the retirement of the Shuttle would leave a shortfall in our launch capability [SpaceX]; that leasing instead of buying PV would enhance the adoption of residential and small commercial solar [SolarCity], that electric vehicle development is terribly expensive and leveraging the buying power of wealthy ‘early adopters’ could underwrite the development and infrastructure for mass-market EVs [Tesla]; and that for EVs and distributed energy storage (DES) for future electrical grids battery prices need to drop considerably and one approach to doing this is through economies of scale [Battery Gigafactory].

    Given his track record I wouldn’t bet against him on anything.

  3. Thanks, Peter, for this video. I enjoyed the simplicity and power of his thinking.

  4. Thought I’d mention that according to recent sales numbers, Tesla was the most sold car in Norway for March! Actually the highest number of any single car type sold in a month here:


    You’ll have to Google translate that one. 😉

  5. Without Elon Musk we are doomed! Or is it that it does not matter one bit if there is or there is no Elon Musk?

  6. By definition we must move to renewable energy.”

    That depends, Elon.  Whose definition?  If you adopt an axiom without properly vetting it, you can get utterly nonsensical conclusions.  Also, whose definition of “renewable”?

    If the definition is “energy from the wind and the sun”, you get one answer and one set of technologies.  If the definition is “energy that will let us sustain civilization indefinitely”, you get a different one.  The problem is that the cultists behind program #1 have been attacking the engineers of #2 for decades, and show few signs of giving up.

    Musk shows his confusion of the issues here.  Sure, solar keeps the oceans and atmosphere from freezing, and drives the winds and hydrological cycle.  That does not mean that the sun supplies energy at the times and in the amounts and forms required to maintain civilization.  That requires extra effort to capture and store the variable and oft-times absent flows of energy.  That barrier is high enough to make it worth using something where the capture and storage has been done for us.  We need to stop using captured energy which dumps carbon in the atmosphere, but that still leaves us an amazing amount put into dense forms, not by algae growing in shallow seas or trees falling in peat bogs, but by a supernova which seeded our solar system’s primordial cloud.

  7. […] 2014/03/31: PSinclair: Elon Musk on the Renewable Transition […]

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