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Published on November 29th, 2016 | by Susanna Schick


An Open Letter To Investors In The Dakota Access Pipeline

November 29th, 2016 by  

While Norwegian investors pull out because the DAPL does not meet their Corporate Social Responsibility requirements, and Energy Transfer Partners sells its company to Sunoco to better compete against Russia, I would like to propose that all investors pull their funds from this project, as there are other energy projects with a much higher ROI that actually build a stronger US economy. I am addressing Goldman Sachs because of its stated commitment to environmental stewardship and its long track record of successful investments.

Dear Mr. Blankfein,

As one of the best investment banks in the world, Goldman Sachs’ job is to keep one foot firmly planted in the future. The oil industry is dying, and “energy” companies that refuse to expand into other forms of energy will die along with it. Do you wish you’d invested in a film camera company 15 years ago? This is the same situation, but with a much bigger industry.

As a journalist covering clean tech, I’ve seen the future, and it’s electric. This was never more clear than on October 28th, when Tesla announced its Powerpack 2 batteries, grid-scale batteries twice as energy dense at the same price. Customers like SoCal Edison will install them next month to decrease their dependency on natural gas, the main commodity ETP offers. The same commodity which recently caused the biggest methane leak ever in the US.

As you know, the biggest hurdle in EV pricing is the cost of batteries. The Gigafactory is ending this, and energy companies that jump on this trend now will benefit by being early adopters. The rest of us will benefit by having a habitable planet and drinking water not poisoned by fracking chemicals.

While watching Energy Transfer Partners dig its heels deeper into a terribly bad business decision, I decided to use my MBA and do a bit of research on your behalf. As an investor in the Dakota Access Pipeline, you might be wondering if there’s a less controversial and more profitable place for your client’s money. Well, there is. As Elon Musk stated in the film Before the Flood, Earth needs 99 more Gigafactories, and he doesn’t want to build them all. He called on automakers and energy companies to build them too. Tesla positioned its near what was known to be the largest lithium deposit in North America. Well, MIT made a map of all of them, and here’s an interesting article about a much larger one recently discovered in Wyoming.

As vehicle miles traveled decrease and people choose more efficient vehicles, gas stations are going out of business. Meanwhile, EV charging infrastructure is projected to grow to 11.4 million stations worldwide by 2020. This Navigant report shows the CAGR for PEVs in the US was 102% from 2011–2015. As batteries and solar panels continue to get cheaper, it won’t be long before developing countries don’t bother wasting money on gasoline infrastructure, just as they bypassed telecom infrastructure.

Exporting oil & gas only benefits a handful of people. One of the main reasons hybrids and EVs are growing in popularity is that they frees up money for people to spend on things other than fuel. And that’s how economies grow, when more people have more money to spend on a broader variety of goods and services.

Best Regards,

Susanna Schick

Thanksgiving 2016 was certainly the most difficult one for America to “celebrate.” While we gorged on delicious comfort food, Native Americans were tortured trying to protect water. Not just their water, water for everyone else near the pipeline. So rather than be one of the many white people going there to show my support, I figured this might be a bit more effective.

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About the Author

Susanna is passionate about anything fast and electric. As long as it's only got two wheels. She covers electric motorcycle racing events, test rides electric motorcycles, and interviews industry leaders. Occasionally she deigns to cover automobile events in California for us as well. However, she dreams of a day when Los Angeles' streets resemble the two-wheeled paradise she discovered living in Barcelona and will not rest until she's converted the masses to two-wheeled bliss.

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