Monday, April 27, 2015

Musk as a Producer Class hero

Climate change is exposing a serious problem in the social order.  Because the underlying cause of atmospheric carbon loading is the use of fire, it is a problem completely outside of the known methods for collective social action.  I mean, think about it, have you ever read any religious or political manifesto that condemns the use of fire?  I have been around religion and politics my whole life and I have never seen anything like that—although I supposed it might be theoretical possible.  MOST religions and political movements spend their major energy on the subject of sex.  It's kinda of like rock music that way.  I remember the music of the late 60s and early 70s as the sound track of my political activism.  Yet now that I have made a serious attempt to collect the best pop music from that era, I discover that about 95% of the genre is a manifestation of the band's sexual energy.

So here we have have it—a problem that is right in the wheelhouse of the nerd elites.  I have a friend who took a course at Harvard called "Physics for Poets."  Such a class might be good in theory but the outcome is that he never learned real physics.  At least he didn't learn the main reason for such a course at Harvard—the idea that science is this exotic sub-specialty that you hire done if necessary.  Because if you confuse thinking about the social implications of a phenomena like fire, with the thinking necessary to replace a human activity that has existed since before recorded history, you wind up becoming Bill McKibbon—the author of over 20 excellent books on climate change who couldn't dream up any solution more meaningful than a march on the UN.  Of course Veblen nailed it in 1899 when describing the Leisure Classes—if you don't respect the useful arts, the best you can be is a third-rate critic of the practitioners of those arts.

But as so many people have pointed out to me, of course a global problem like climate change is political.  "At least we can vote out the people who stand in the way of a serious effort."  It's a valid point.  Yes it would be a good idea to incarcerate the brazen criminals who have seized control of society's economic levers to enrich themselves.  Yes it would be wonderful if the politicians would vote to spend a serious fraction of the $100 trillion it will require to update the global infrastructure.  But just remember, even IF we were to close down Goldman Sachs and sentence their big criminals to hard labor, AND got the congress to fund a development bank to spend the big bucks for new systems, we would still only be at day one of real solutions.  So when I argue that climate change is not a political problem, I am really arguing that compared to solving a problem like eliminating fire, the politics is just a Leisure-Class detail.

Fortunately, we really aren't at day one for building out solutions.  Because while a Harvard boy was organizing a march on the UN and concerned bureaucrats were jetting to Durban and Lima, some members of the Producer elites have been busy actually rolling out their vision for a new society.  Earlier this month, I wrote a post about a man named Fred Olsen who is making the crazy-difficult problem of erecting off-shore wind turbines almost routine.  And today we see an enthusiastic California lefty praising the accomplishments of Elon Musk.  A good reminder that if the problems of climate change are to be solved, it will be done under the direction of engineering visionaries like Musk and Olsen.  The best the Leisure Classes can do is ensure that such people are properly funded, and then get out of the way.

Just remember, the recent explosion of solar installations is not due to hectoring by the NGOs, or a religious awakening, or the fact that we all got good karma at the same time.  Solar installations are exploding because folks did the hard work of figuring out how make affordable solar panels.

The 24/7 Solar Battery Systems

Tesla Tackles Global Warming


Somebody’s gotta do it!

Meanwhile, America’s Congress ignores one of the biggest problems of all time, global warming/climate change. America’s entrepreneurs know better. They’re not waiting for Congress to fiddle whilst the planet burns.

American ingenuity, in the hands of Tesla Motors Inc., is taking on global warming head on. Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla, is risking a fortune to make a fortune with renewable energy. And, yes, he’s in it for profits, not as a benefactor to “Greenies,” but who really cares if he sets in motion an unstoppable nationwide renewable revolution.

In that regard, America is about to witness one of the greatest economic revolutions of all time as renewable energy creates jobs galore, high-paying jobs, and America’s infrastructure gets a well deserved scrubbing, out with fossil fuels, in with solar and wind.

After all, somebody has to fill in for Congress’s shortsightedness, as several prominent members of that august (cough) body don’t even believe in anthropogenic global warming, denigrating human-caused climate change at every photo-op. But, then again, what do they really, truly believe in? Where’s the nation’s “vision” when it’s so desperately needed, rather than obstruction?

But the situation with Congress is even worse than their outright obstructionism. While Tesla works to create a clean energy country, several members of Congress are scheming behind the scenes to knock down the EPA’s Clean Power Plan, which will be “the first-ever national limits on global warming pollution from power plants,” according to the Union of Concerned Scientists. What’s wrong with this picture? A lot! Really, really a lot!

Nationwide Renewable Energy Announcement Coming, April 30th

Shouldn’t Congress be making announcements like this?

Elon Musk recently informed Wall Street to prepare for a major announcement come April 30th when Tesla will announce a home battery system and a “very large” utility-scale battery for 24/7 solar power. Of utmost interest, Tesla will explain the advantages of the new battery solutions as well as the reasons why past battery solutions were not compelling.

A system of 24/7 solar energy, including auxiliary battery-power, is America’s energy dream come true in response to critics who astutely point out that solar doesn’t work so well when the sun sets.

Tesla’s innovation not only revolutionizes energy worldwide, it impacts foreign policy throughout the Middle East, breaking the U.S./Saudi juggernaut, which arguably keeps the region in constant conflict. After all, Saudi Arabia may go broke.

Not only that, America’s Congress should be shamed, embarrassed, humiliated as they’ve been sitting on comparable technology used by the International Space Station for years.

Anyway, the Tesla story only gets better. Here’s what Tesla Chief Technology Officer, J B Straubel said last month at the Vail Global Energy Forum: “Eventually you’re going to have a 100% battery electric vehicle fleet, working in tandem with an almost 100% renewable electric utility grid full of solar and wind” (Bloomberg News).

Significantly, Tesla’s charge into renewables for home and biz is not a pipedream. It’s happening right now in real time.

24/7 Solar Battery Systems

“Tesla has been able to install more than 100 projects, really without anyone noticing,”

Andrea James, analyst with Dougherty & Co. (Bloomberg News, April 22, 2015).

Tesla has already installed its batteries in 300 California solar-powered homes.

Wal-Mart has already installed Tesla batteries in eleven California stores with solar power.

According to Wine Business Monthly, Jackson Family Wines in Santa Rosa, California is in partnership with Tesla for battery storage and vehicle charging stations.

Cargill plans to use a one-megawatt system with Tesla batteries for clean energy at its Fresno, California plant.

The Temecula Valley Unified School District in Southern California is planning on use of Tesla batteries for their solar installations. According to Janet Dixon, director of facilities at Temecula, “We spend roughly $3 million a year on electricity, and most of that is lighting and air conditioning. We are going solar to reduce our overall costs and the battery storage should help us manage our peak demand.”

At the end of the day, one can only wonder whether Elon Musk’s face belongs on Mt Rushmore right next to Abraham Lincoln who saved the country from itself by winning the battle against ignorance, intolerance, and small-mindedness. Although not a public servant like Lincoln, Musk is fighting the same battle today on behalf of the entire country.

Musk’s technological genius is a potent dynamic, offsetting all-powerful political forces that deprive the country of a nationwide renewable energy plan… clean energy!

All of which goes to underscore the shamelessness of dirty politics and dirty fossil fuels, which go hand-in-hand. more

1 comment:

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