Elon Musk emphasized the importance of batteries for renewable energy in a response to Fox News recently. While doing so, he also highlighted a common problem while also providing a solution to that problem. Anyone who follows his work closely would already know that batteries are the solution to the intermittent nature of renewables but a reminder is always a good thing.
Fox News recently published an article stating that the Washington Post had been blasted over its reporting on a Stanford report that switching to 100% renewable energy could avoid blackouts. Elon Musk of Tesla had some other things to say.
Switching to renewables with batteries would avoid blackouts. Batteries are essential, due to the intermittent nature of renewables.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) February 22, 2022
Washington Post’s article cited a study that showed electricity blackouts can be avoided by switching to 100% clean and renewable energy. Critics called the Washington Post delusional and asked if they were completely stupid. Some even called the study a lie.
The study, which was conducted by researchers at Stanford, found that switching to 100% renewables would “lower energy requirements, reducing costs, create millions of new jobs, and improve people’s health.” Researchers used simulations that assumed the use of battery-electric or hydrogen fuel cell vehicles and the elimination of fossil fuel sources of energy. They found that the total end-use energy demand would decrease by around 57%. In addition, they added that the per capita household annual energy costs were around 63% less than the business-as-usual scenario.
Jobs, Jobs, Jobs
Another claim by the study is that by completely switching to renewable energy sources, 5 million long-term, full-time jobs would be created. The article noted that the study didn’t share how many jobs could be lost from completely scrapping the fossil fuel industry.
Companies like Tesla, Panasonic, and CATL are innovating in the field of battery technology, and Tesla itself is leading the auto industry towards electrification. These types of changes aren’t sudden and will take time. The fossil fuel industry still has time to evolve and to help people transition from fossil fuel careers to clean energy careers. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
In 2021, Governor Edwards asked Congress to lift its pause on oil and gas leasing in the Gulf of Mexico. He said there was a chance that 250,000 Louisianans could lose their jobs. He said that basically because it was a script written by the Louisiana Mid-Continent Oil & Gas Association (LMOGA), which was exposed by the Huffington Post for behind-the-scenes lobbying. According to Huff Post, the lobbying group provided Governor Edwards with industry talking points on how restricting oil and gas development would hurt Louisiana’s economy.
For renewable energy to work for our economy, it will need those former oil and gas employees. These employees already know the energy industry and how it works. Their skills, knowledge, and passion will be equally as needed in the renewable energy sector as they are currently in the oil and gas sector.
Our Cleantech Future
I think Elon Musk was right to correct Fox News and he did so in a way that acknowledged the problem that you get with renewable energy while also providing a solution for that problem. That solution is the ongoing advancement of battery technology. And as companies such as Tesla, Panasonic, CATL, and others continue to do so, the fossil fuel industry still has time to evolve. Instead of wasting time spreading anti-clean energy propaganda, it should be focusing on evolving. Batteries are the spice that will enable the eventual move toward 100% renewable energy.
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