CleanTechnica is the #1 cleantech-focused
website
 in the world. Subscribe today!


Batteries Elon Musk On 100% Renewable Energy, Solar Energy Potential, Li-ion Battery Components…

Published on March 30th, 2014 | by Dr. Karl-Friedrich Lenz

55

Elon Musk On 100% Renewable Energy, Solar Energy Potential, Li-ion Battery Components…

Share on Google+Share on RedditShare on StumbleUponTweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on FacebookPin on PinterestDigg thisShare on TumblrBuffer this pageEmail this to someone

March 30th, 2014 by
 

Originally published on Lenz Blog.

It is of course correct that eventually all energy will be renewable, and the only question is how fast that happens. Fossil fuel will run out eventually.

It is also correct (in my opinion) that we should rather not gamble with the amount of CO2 that can be safely released.

The way to speed that transition up is to make fossil fuels more expensive. The way to make that happen is to mine it at a slower pace, and to keep larger reserves. As it happens, such a course of action would be highly profitable for everyone who owns fossil fuel reserves.

Keep up to date with all the hottest cleantech news by subscribing to our (free) cleantech newsletter, or keep an eye on sector-specific news by getting our (also free) solar energy newsletter, electric vehicle newsletter, or wind energy newsletter.

Print Friendly

Share on Google+Share on RedditShare on StumbleUponTweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on FacebookPin on PinterestDigg thisShare on TumblrBuffer this pageEmail this to someone

Tags: , , ,


About the Author

is a professor of German and European Law at Aoyama Gakuin University in Tokyo, blogging since 2003 at Lenz Blog. A free PDF file of his global warming science fiction novel "Great News" is available here.



  • http://solarbrokerscanada.com/ Solar Brokers Canada

    Great to hear that Will. Yes even I miss the “Make Money from Solar” aspect in the discussion. With Government support, people are getting empowered and are using free solar energy and also making money out of it by selling surplus back to the grid. See more here. http://www.solarbrokerscanada.com.

  • CaptD

    To Elon Musk ===> What will start a stampede of “Grid-Flight” especially for the rich, will be affordable battery storage that will pay for themselves in 5 to 10 years since so many home owners are now considering adding Solar and/or owning one or more eVehicles.

    I think Tesla has already figured this out and that is why they are jumping into battery manufacturing with both feet. Since they and their Solar “partner” can provide customers with “turn-key” Solar installation, cool eVehicles, additional storage batteries and the financing as one complete guaranteed package that allows home owners to rely upon one tech company that is renown for their customer service instead of having to struggle with being a “first adopter” with an engineering degree! I believe that this concept will sweep the USA because it will become as popular as air conditioning and just as easy to use!

    They might even surprise everyone with a new eTesla ( an entry level 2 person commuter) eVehicle that will cost less than the Smart Fortwo and have a range of “about 100 miles” thanks to their proprietary battery technology… and of course it could also be recharged using all the free Tesla Supercharging stations.

    This Tesla ePackage would force all the other eVehicle manufactures to form similar strategic alliances, which in effect would transform both the automobile and the Energy marketplace, since all those that either have or are thinking about having a Solar roofs over their head, also will want to own at least one eVehicle in order to make better use of their homes Energy generation.

    Just added this:

    SOLARWATT AND BMW I ANNOUNCE A COOPERATIVE EFFORT: COMPLETE SOLAR SYSTEMS FOR ELECTRIC VEHICLES

    http://www.solarwatt.de/en/about_solarwatt/news/news/solarwatt-und-bmw-i-verkuenden-zusammenarbeit-solare-komplett-systeme-fuer-elektrofahrzeuge/News/detail/

  • 3dmike

    All atomic species (periodic table) (elements) will be mined from the seawater ocean
    using their plasma technology.

  • Rick Kargaard

    If there is one gallon less oil than is needed or one pound less lithium than needed the price will go up until that need is met or the need disappears. There is no cap on price increases unless arbitrarily set by governments.
    Oil price is going up because of declining production and increasing need (look to China, India and other developing economies.)
    Oil that is burnt is not recyclable, so no hope there.
    With no action whatsoever, oil will continue to increase in price at faster and faster rates.
    If oil prices were not the major cause of the 2008 economic collapse, they certainly hampered the recovery. Notice that recession in the developed world did not lower oil price appreciably.
    We are soon due for another oil price shock which can only be mitigated by less reliance on oil. Production run ups cannot go on forever.
    The response so far has been a greater reliance on other fossil fuels and some promising inroads made by renewables.
    Oil price increases can only lead to recession and stagnation in the short term. Contrarily this this can only lessen investment in alternatives. We need healthy economies to make the transition quickly.
    My point is that we should put maximum effort and investment into renewables. There is little point in wasting effort on hampering the petroleum industry.
    At some point we will reach the tipping point and reliance on fossil fuel will start to decline. With any luck that will happen before oil reaches a $1000 dollars per barrel.
    It is not going to be long before you won’t be driving much if you don’t have an electric car.

    • Bob_Wallace

      There’s nothing to indicate that oil prices will increase to the point of not being affordable over a small number of years.

      But let’s play the game of supply tightens significantly over five years. How would we cope?

      1) Put a lot more public transportation on line and ration fuel use based on need. We can build buses very rapidly. We can run more cars on commuter routes. We can stagger work hours so that loads are smoothed out. We can set up systems to highly encourage car pools.

      2) Give car manufacturers three years to switch production to “90%” EVs and PHEVs. People would buy them as fast as they came off the assembly line.
      We could cut our fuel use by 50% or more in short years.

      • Duncan Frame

        How are we going to pay for that rapid transition when the economy which relies on burning oil is suddenly heavily stressed by rising prices?

        • Bob_Wallace

          The first part of the transition is simply rule changing. We’ve done rationing and carpooling regulations before. That stuff can be put into effect in short months.

          New buses can be built in months.

          Price rises will slow and stall as demand falls. A large amount of oil use is elastic.

          It wouldn’t be like we would wake up one morning and find that gas at the pump has gone from $4 to $24. It would go from $4 to $4.50 to $5 to $5.50 over time. As prices rise new car sales would roll over to EVs and PHEVs.

          50% of all US driving is done with 5 year old or newer cars now. If we required almost all new cars to be EVs and PHEVs in 5 years we would cut oil for personal transportation in half. Even sooner as many would decide to get rid of their gasmobile sooner than otherwise.

          If you look at it right now one can lease a Nissan Leaf for $199 per month. A driver piling up the US average of 13,000 miles in a 25 MPG car burning $4/gallon gas spends $173 per month for gas. Plus oil changes and other costs which aren’t necessary with EVs.

          At $5/gallon fuel would cost $216, more than the lease cost for a new EV.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Let me run one more set of numbers. Elon is telling us that we may have a $30k, 200 mile range EV in the next few years.

            Suppose the oil supply tightened quicker than expected. That someone really needs to drive, public transportation is not an option. At $5/gallon they’re paying $216 per month plus other costs. At $6/gallon it’s $260/mo. At $7/gallon it’s $303.

            A no money down, $30k EV financed for 6 years at 2% would mean payments of $443/mo.

            Only 2% interest? National emergency. Loan out government money to companies financing EVs at 2% (or better). Put all the risk on the lenders. Get the money back over a 6 year period. Avoid economic catastrophe.

            Switch off oil. Help avoid climate crash.

      • CaptD

        Bob – I’s suggest adding another point:
        3) Start building more eVehicles and especially many more eCycles and EBicycles, which would make the US Cities look much more like Europe where huge numbers of people use bicycles instead of cars!

        • Bob_Wallace

          That’s another way to cut down on fuel use. We need some dedicated streets, not just bike lanes, for non-automobile traffic.

          Keep cars going more than 15 MPH off those streets. (Restrict access to only those who live on that block.) Make cross street traffic stop. Let people ride without worrying about speeding cars.

          • CaptD

            Bob – I spoke to one of the CA Transportation Commissioners about doing just that only I suggested that the State allow special speed limits on dedicated bike route like 5 mph, so that vehicular traffic could still use it to access home and on street parking but all Bicycles would be able to enjoy speeding past cars.

            It would be like many campgrounds where the speed limit is 5 mph. It is wonderful for parents and kids that are using bicycles or just walking to feel safe!

          • Bob_Wallace

            It should be possible to limit auto driving to a single block. Just use the sort of traffic light cameras that are now in use and photograph/ticked any driver who moves from one restricted block to the next. Or who exceeds the speed limit.

            Make it safe, comfortable and easy to ride bikes and it would likely take enough traffic off other streets to more than make up for the inconvenience of losing one street to bikes.

      • Rick Kargaard

        I wasn’t thinking quite that short term, but would argue that the new norm of 100 dollar a barrel oil is barely affordable. We are only slowly adapting to it. If the worlds biggest economy, the U.S. gets rolling again, as it is showing signs of doing, the upward pressure on oil prices could be strong.
        All your solutions look good, but even to lower speed limits during a former oil crunch faced strong opposition.
        Rationing would probably be a nightmare to administer.Hopefully we don’t have a major conflict, with popular support to make that possible.
        I don’t see government getting enough public support to implement any of those measures until people are bleeding at the ears.
        The sense of entitlement is strong among North Americans.

        • Bob_Wallace

          I don’t see the price of oil moving up fast enough to force the government into rationing type action. It’s simply a strategy that could be used if necessary. (Very low probability event.)

          I think it’s likely we’ll see <$30k, 200 mile EVs in the next three years. Tesla is saying that they will have one for sale in 2017.

          $30k is sort of expensive for many people but if you're a higher mileage driver, say 20k a year, you'd have to pay $2,400 a year to fuel a 50 MPG $26,750 Prius with $6/gallon fuel. 1.5 years to recoup the extra cost of the EV.

          A basic Honda Civic lists at $18,190 with 36 MPG combined. 20k at $6/gallon would cost $3,333 in fuel per year. 3.5 years and you'd have paid off the difference with a $30k EV.

          That, to me, says that a $30k EV will be well within reach of most new car drivers. People driving a lot of miles (20k) in a 25 MPG car could pretty much make payments on a $30k car with gas savings alone. Assuming low interest rates.

          If oil prices start rising we'll see higher mileage drivers start to switch to more efficient cars, always happens. If we get 200 mile range EVs for $30k in 3 years I'd guess we'd have 200 mile range EVs for $28k a couple years later. As the price of oil goes up the price of EVs will be coming down. There's a point at which buying a new ICEV simply makes no financial sense. (Unless you are willing to drive an econobox and drive very few miles per year.)

          I see a natural transition off oil for personal transportation, one that has already begun and is accelerating. The faster oil prices rise, the faster we'll quit using it. We've got alternatives.

          • Rick Kargaard

            I see a rather rapid transition myself. A 30K car is certainly getting closer and in the realm of feasability for many new car buyers.
            We, still however need a peoples electric for those that normally drive used or that drive an econobox for low mileage (thats my choice until an electric comes along to fit my needs.)
            I can see no reason for electrics to be more expensive than gas fueled cars. I think we just need larger production runs for cars and batteries.
            You can’t put the cart before the horse, however, and are forced to wait for demand.
            A car at 20k with a 300 mile range would probably be an instant hit.
            I am betting you will see them in 5 to 10 years.
            Elon made the right decision to to start with a luxury car to build interest.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Carlos Ghosen (CEO Nissan/Renault) said, several years ago, that as soon as manufacturing levels reached 500,000+ units per year EVs would be as cheap as ICEVs. It will just take a few years to build to that level. (It would be great if several governments would help things along.) In 2013 sales for the Leaf and Volt were just under 25k each. Tesla S was just under 20k.

            The materials and manufacturing costs for batteries has to be lower than the hundreds of separate parts in an ICE.

            200 miles is plenty. Better a cheaper purchase price than range that we don’t actually need.

            If Elon pulls off the $30k 200 mile EV by 2017 I think we’ll be seeing major buying changes by 2020 and ICEVs a thing of the past by 2030. As Tesla’s $30k/200m becomes more ‘real’ I suspect other car manufacturers will greatly step up their game. There’s not much profit to be made by getting out in the lead, but I suspect most everyone is ready to jump in when profits are available.

          • Rick Kargaard

            200 miles may be plenty for the average commuter who really could use public transportation or a bicycle any way. It is pretty marginal otherwise where you may ony have 50 % charge (for fast charging) or when other factors such as weather reduce your mileage per charge.
            I think manufacturers may have to provide a choice between low price and a longer range..
            As batteries get lighter and their costs come down, that higher range may not be that expensive.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Fast charging for the Toshiba SCiB lithium batteries is 90% in 20 minutes. Start with a full 200 mile range, charge 20m, drive 180, charge 20, drive 180. You’ve covered over 500 miles with two moderate stops.

            That’s a practical car. You’re going to arrive at about the same time as someone driving a gasmobile. They’ll stop less minutes for refueling. They might beat you by a half and hour. But if they stop for food/whatever then you’re going to arrive at about the same time. You can get food while your car is charging.

            A car that could be driven all day or days on a single charge would be sweet. But that’s something more than what is needed for the “practical threshold”. When one can purchase an affordable car that they can drive from coast to coast almost as quickly as they could a gasmobile then we’ve reached practicality. At that point, IMHO, it’s game over for fueled cars. The very low cost of driving with electricity spells doom for oil.

          • Rick Kargaard

            You forget that charging stations would have to be perfectly spaced for that to work anywhere near as well as you suggest. We are a long way from having even basic services in most of the world. Is the cost of batteries mentioned competetive? I lack information here.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Look down the page to the map and then move the slider to the right.

            http://www.teslamotors.com/supercharger

            This is Year 1 of installing superchargers. Europe is also being wired, 14 stations so far.

            Stage 1 will be to give EVs the ability to drive between any two cities of any appreciable size. Later on more out of the way places will get served.

            Look at the slider set on now and at ‘end of 2015′. Then think out five more years.

            If Tesla is saying that they’ll have a 200 mile range EV for $30k in the 2015 to 2017 window then they must see a route for cheap enough batteries. Elon has said that the new factory they are building will bring battery prices down 30% by the end of the first year.

            It’s going to be interesting to see how the Tesla superchargers play out. They expect to have at least one station in most states by the end of this year. They’re tied into SolarCity for their electricity. Tesla may have decided to become the world’s “electricity station”.

            By the end of this year they are going to have crews of trained and experienced installers. They should know how to navigate the morass of utilities across the country.

            They’ll know where more chargers are needed by watching where people have to wait a while for an open bay. In fact, they will probably be able to anticipate stations reaching max demand and install additional stations before anyone has to wait. I’d bet they already have software telling them the next places additional stations will be needed and how soon.

          • Rick Kargaard

            I am impressed with Elon Musks ability to make things happen. He is inspiring other entreprenuers which will speed things up. I am sticking with my prediction that we will see cheap long range electrics in 10 years or less

          • Bob_Wallace

            Depends on how one defines “cheap”. I can see $20k 200 mile range EVs in a decade. I’m not so sure about hitting the $12k range of econoboxes.

            Actually, if Elon gives us $30k EVs in the next three years and we hit $20k in five or so more years I suspect the days of the econobox will be over. The market is likely to be flooded with high mileage used ICEVs. Someone looking for a low entry price vehicle should be able to pick up a low mileage nicer car for a better price than an econobox.

          • Rick Kargaard

            It doesn’t spell doom for oil, but certainly would reduce demand for gasoline tremendously.

    • Duncan Frame

      Evidence suggests that oil prices spiked at 130 dollars a barrel just prior to the 2007/8 collapse. It seems to me that spike helped push an overly stressed debt based economy over the edge.

      The only way you can get investment in renewables is either by funding investment in sustainable energy sources or push the price of oil up. Currently oil is kept at a falsely low level to keep the economy turning over. At some point we need to transition away from an oil burning economy to prevent hitting an energy cliff where prices very rapidly rise and our entire supply chain, which relies on oil at every level, collapses.

      • Bob_Wallace

        Oil prices were rapidly rising prior to the recession. That might have been due to the general feeling of wealth and people willing to pay more. Prices collapsed along with the recession as oil use quickly dropped.

        Who is keeping oil at a falsely low level?

  • http://electrobatics.wordpress.com/ arne-nl

    “The way to speed that transition up is to make fossil fuels more expensive. The way to make that happen is to mine it at a slower pace, and to keep larger reserves. As it happens, such a course of action would be highly profitable for everyone who owns fossil fuel reserves.”

    I’m not sure how to understand this, but that doesn’t seem logical to me.

    Expensive fossil fuels means the transition to non-fossil energy will be quicker and fossil fuels will become obsolete earlier and more of those reserves become a stranded asset, causing incalculable loss to everyone who owns fossil fuel reserves.

    • Cult of Bob

      you must be in the inner circle of bob cult

      • A Real Libertarian

        arne-nl, are you a Reverend of the Church of the SubGenius?

  • Doug Cutler

    Last I looked there’s enough world lithium reserves for about 1B EVs with current tech. That’s should be enough to keep everyone busy for a while. After that new deposits, zinc-air, hydrogen, technology X. We should be good.

    Remaining fossil fuels stay in the ground until we really need them in about 60,000 years from now when orbital variables align for another ice age.

    • Bob_Wallace

      Don’t look at reserves. Look at occurrence. Let me repost something from a while back…

      The 100 mile Nissan Leaf uses 4kg of lithium in its batteries. Let’s say magic happens and between 2015 and 2035 we put 1.2 billion 200 mile range EVs on the world’s roads, each using 8kg of lithium in their batteries. (And that’s if range increase comes only from more batteries rather than the more likely improved anodes and cathodes.)

      That would mean that in that 20 year period we would need to produce 480,000 metric tons of lithium per year.

      And after that we could just recycle what we’ve already extracted.

      At 20 mg lithium per kg of Earth’s crust, lithium is the 25th most abundant element. Nickel and lead have about the same abundance. There are approximately 39 million tonnes of accessible lithium in the Earth’s crust. An 81 year supply.

      Argentina, Australia, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, China, Portugal and Zimbabwe have roughly 13,000,000 metric tons of lithium that can be extracted. That’s a 27 year supply.

      Bolivia has 5.4 million of the 13 million tons. Over 11 years.

      There are approximately 230,000,000,000 tons of lithium in seawater. A 479,167 year supply.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lithium#Terrestrial

      • Doug Cutler

        Okay, so lots and lots of lithium. Here’s how the 1B number got lodged in my brain:

        http://www.greencarcongress.com/2011/06/albertus-20110617.html

        but you suggest even that is conservative. I brought the point up because I’ve actually run into the odd Luddite who thinks we’re going to run out of lithium.

        • Bob_Wallace

          There were a lot of people who were worried about lithium supplies very early. That was because they didn’t grasp the difference between production, reserve and occurrence. Reserve numbers can be low simply because there is not enough reason to go looking for more.

          Now that lithium is looking like it will be more useful we’re starting to find more. A big find was recently announced in Wyoming. The find could contain as much as 118 million tons of lithium. That would be enough for about 27 billion Nissan Leafs. (If I didn’t experience a math failure.) http://missoulian.com/news/state-and-regional/lithium-discovery-could-be-new-industry-for-wyoming/article_46d9c438-add8-11e2-be38-0019bb2963f4.html
          Lots of people were worried about cost as well because they were looking at small quantity prices and not bulk prices. Bulk lithium is trading between $6k and $7k per metric tonnes. A tonne would be enough for 250 Leafs, so $24 to $28 worth of lithium in a Leaf battery pack.

          Extracting lithium from seawater would make it 3x to 5x more expensive. Could raise the Leaf battery lithium price from $28 to $140.

          • Doug Cutler

            Looks like at least 80 or 100 years off but by the time you’d actually need to go after seawater lithium who knows where the tech will be. By then zinc-air, hydrogen or something else could be highly developed and more practical.

            Just as long as we de-ICE the roads ASAP.

          • Bob_Wallace

            118 million tons from one deposit.

            8.8 pounds in a Nissan Leaf battery.

            2,000 / 8.8 = 227 Leaf batteries per ton.

            227 * 118,000,000 = 26,786,000,000 Leaf battery packs.

            We’re currently producing about 60,000,000 cars annually in the world. That would be 446 years at today’s manufacturing rate. From one site.

            (Please check my math.)

          • Doug Cutler

            Actually, maybe your math IS off. Surely we need to account for the high likelihood that in the years ahead carbon fiber or other types of superlight nanotech materials will come to the fore thereby increasing the de facto capacity of a given car battery. Perhaps we need to add a couple of centuries to your calculation.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Yeah, I have no ability to imagine much past the next 20 years. There are all sorts of potential battery technologies that are being played with, very hard to tell what might work.

            My view is that we need to take what we have right now and start running hard with it. We need to get ourselves off fossil fuels in less than 35 years. Better we get off of them in less that 25. Get the CO2 problem under control and then we can start worrying about what to use later on.
            If lithium is the only working solution then it looks to me that between recycling and ocean water we could go centuries. If we leave those who follow us a livable planet and a future battery problem I don’t think they’ll be too pissed at us.

          • Doug Cutler

            Lithium is it right now. I hope its enough. Potential for future innovation is amazing but best pursued in the context of stable societies, not ones crumbling all around from the pressures and upheavals of climate change.

            Sunnier note: Interesting to see a bunch of Southern States competing for the new Tesla mega factory. Suddenly everybody’s cool with EVs now that $5B is on the line. I’m rooting for Texas. I’d love to hear Rick Perry’s dedication speech.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Too bad Detroit isn’t being considered.

            Stick it right in the Big Three’s face.

          • Zer0Sum

            Part of the problem is that the really advanced battery technology is still considered a military secret. The Chinese have some amazing energy weapons but they aren’t about to start putting the tech into cars when we have the current bunch of criminals in charge of the military industrial complex.

            There are other people who have advanced knowledge that are not Chinese but they have learned the hard way that this is the wrong time/wrong place for their knowledge to be shared.

            Anyway, Sodium batteries are on the way now and that will make batteries a good deal cheaper and less dangerous again.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Could you provide some backup for your claim that there is really advanced battery technology held secret by the Chinese military?

          • Doug Cutler

            This recent story also concerns resources required in CleanTech’s advance: a big find of rare earth metals off coast of Japan. Rare earth metals, of course, are used to make the super magnets in modern electrical generators and motors:

            http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/comment/ambroseevans_pritchard/9951299/Japan-breaks-Chinas-stranglehold-on-rare-metals-with-sea-mud-bonanza.html

          • Bob_Wallace

            A geological nano-second…

          • Larry

            Bravo! Can Rick Perry read? Even with a ghost writer that would be a stretch.

          • Doug Cutler

            As something of a student of Gandhi I’m not so inclined to make exaggerated claims against adversaries. Obviously not above a little pointed sarcasm though.

            Otherwise, the hypothetical Rick Perry speech would actually have some political interest as a case study in a man caught between two paradigms.

            As far as the great polarization of America, I’m slightly heartened that forces on the left and right can come together over solar power. We’ve seen this in the Green Tea Coalition in Georgia (Green Party/Tea Party mash-up) and in the TUSK (Tell Utilities Solar won’t be Killed) initiative in Arizona headed up by arch-conservative Barry Goldwater Jr.

            Heck, even Glenn Beck’s ranch house is covered in solar panels. If I ever wound up beside him on a plane I’d get him talkin’ solar panels.

          • Robert Walters

            If one has deep pockets full of gold, I say it’s ok, I agree all out on lithium battery. The battery difficult to manage as the supplied controller over charge when one cell give up, then, destroy entire good set of pack cells, left out of pocket replace the whole set, then one face reality when cost to replace them with the right manufactures controllers with new lithium battery.

    • Duncan Frame

      Lithium is also recyclable. Unlike burnt oil.

      • Doug Cutler

        Yah, one lithium molecule to another: once a battery always a battery.

      • Bob_Wallace

        Toyota, perhaps other manufacturers, has battery recycling processes in place. Right now we don’t have a lot to recycle, that’s probably a decade away.

  • Ross

    The planet’s carbon budget to limit the amount of Global Warming means we’ll never run out of it. We’ll just leave it where it is, already naturally sequestered.

  • Will E

    What I miss in the discussion is that Solar makes money, it is your goldmine upon you.
    I make money with Solar, every day.
    and you can and everybody can. Buy Solar and make money, everywhere.
    endless supply, easy.
    I have to retire to spend my Solar dollars. I go to Spain for three months and my Solar system produces Solar dollars, seven days a week at home.
    where ever I go.. once installed free dollars .
    you want more dollars install more Solar.
    Every community should install Solar to make clean money for the schools, hospitals and the people.

    • CaptD

      Will E – Agreed, this is why I believe “soon” what you and I already know will become common knowledge and when that happens, we will see Solar installed everywhere, which will transform our Society and our relationship to Energy!

    • jojo707

      If we pool our purchasing power, not only can ordinary people own their own pv production plants, but invest in low cost pv development. There are many low cost advances that just need funding. PV can follow the same cost curve as ss memory, and when this take hold, remember that energy makes up 80-90% of the cost of all goods, and this will radically shift the paradigm of all of our economics. Excess cheap energy produced on a local or micro grid basis could happen in 10 yrs, if we learn to coordinate our purchasing as global purchasing and manufacturing cooperatives. And, yes, no more grid connected solar, it will never really be cheap.

  • JamesWimberley

    “The way to make that happen is to mine it at a slower
    pace, and to keep larger reserves. As it happens, such a course of
    action would be highly profitable for everyone who owns fossil fuel
    reserves.”

    I don’t think it’s that simple. Eventually renewables will replace so much fossil energy that the small remaining demand for fertilisers and the like can be easily met. At that point the oil or gas price drops to cost parity with 2c per kwh solar and the assets aren’t worth much. Another scenario is that fossll fuels lose their social license and are virtually banned. A €100 per ton carbon tax, within the range of scientifically reasoned green proposals, would be a death sentence. Oil and gas producers can look forward to a decade of rising prices, perhaps two, but beyond that their future is very cloudy. Coal is doomed already.

    An early phaseout of oil and gas does of course require progress that goes well beyond the 100% renewable electricity generation we can already see on the horizon. It will need mass electrification of land transport, ultra-low-carbon buildings, biofuelled aviation, and Solution X for shipping, cement and steel. This is not certain (especially the last); but it’s likely enough to give nightmares to the Kochs, which is why they are fighting against the Change on a broad front.

    • mds

      Agree, but the far larger subsidies and tax breaks given to fossil fuel companies should be terminated now. It makes no sense to continue to invest our tax dollars in buggy whips and horse carriages. Maybe some of the money saved could go to incentives & research on solar, wind, storage, and EVs/EREVs. The later are going to be the more profitable industries for most of the rest of this century, not fossil fuel based technologies. It would benefit the US to be leading in those new technologies.
      Musk does have a point. You only have to look at the increase and transition in production to military vehicles, ships, and planes during WW2 to understand the level of change we could accomplish in a few short years …if we could just convince the pee-brained flat-earth society members in our population and government.

Back to Top ↑