Elon Musk Has Won his Bet, but What’s the State of Renewable Energy?
Elon Musk had agreed to the bet of the year: to build the largest solar battery in 100 days or otherwise he’ll give it for free to the Australians. The bet has started with a press conference and some social media teasing and though Musk had his fair share of failures over the years, the bold entrepreneur has won this one.
The 100 MW/129 MWh lithium-ion battery has 100 megawatts of capacity, it’s made of Tesla PowerPacks and it’s located in South Australia, where violent storms and heat waves have caused several massive outages in 2016. The project was supported by the $150 million renewable energy local fund and Tesla has won the bid, competing with other 90 companies. The system went through a series of tests, it was launched in December and now it can store enough energy from Hornsdale Wind Farm in order to supply 30,000 homes for an hour.
The world is turning its attention to clean energy
The Australian Government had made a constant effort to shift from coal-sourced power to renewable energy and in recent years, awareness has risen all over the world. In 2015, the money used for alternative energy production was double the amount of investment put into fossil fuel generation and according to the International Renewable Energy Agency report, clean electric energy is also more economical, so people have one more reason to choose it.
But many factors of action have to contribute in order to dramatically reduce greenhouse emissions that are likely to cause further severe climate modifications on Earth. According to the 2014 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Report for Policy Makers, oceans will continue to warm and acidify, sea level will rise, the Arctic region will be iceless during summer, heat waves and extreme precipitation events will occur frequently and will increase in intensity.
Besides the activity of environmental NGOs, citizens must push stubborn officials to act in their interest, like Australians have insisted on clean energy investments to continue despite the opposing position of its Prime Minister.
If people stick together for this vital common cause, more visionaries like Elon Musk will feel encouraged to use their financial and intellectual powers to research green technology. Though many projects of Musk are ethically controversial, like SpaceX and Neuralink, he came up with Tesla solar roof and home battery, which allows a property to go completely off-grid. He is also researching green and super-fast public transportation systems( Hyperloop and The Boring Co. tunnels) and his company has been hired to build batteries or solar farms to power islands, luxury resorts or colleges. But the most important thing is that his interests, no matter how eccentric, are centered on helping the human race survive and evolve.
Green energy pioneers
Many other entrepreneurs have also been taking the plunge into green innovation over the years and some have achieved remarkable results. Bill Staby founded Resolute Marine Energy Inc., a company which developed ocean-wave powered desalination systems to replace the diesel-electric ones. These converters are cheaper, easier to build and can help the populations living in coastal or arid areas cope with clean water deficiencies.
In Scotland, Scotrenewables Tidal Power installed in 2016 a newly developed a portable low-cost turbine, with a power generation capacity of two megawatts, the biggest of its type so far. If it affects local fisherman, the system can be deployed to another area.
Other types of initiatives, like Mosaic and SolarCity, are eco-innovative in a different way, helping people afford the investment of switching to solar power.
Companies are favoring eco-innovation
But not only new businesses make a contribution to green innovation. ABB was a company which focused on industrial digitalization but gradually adopted eco-friendly targets. It can now connect renewable energy sources to the electrical grid.
Moreover, three major truck manufacturers (UPS, Kenworth, and Toyota) have teamed up to fund development of fuel cells, which will power vehicles with oxygen and hydrogen, so they will emit only water and heat. By 2020, 20.000 fuel cells will be produced and the UK might become one of the leading countries which manage to bring green technologies to the masses.
Further on, huge companies like Google, Facebook, and Yahoo have decided to turn to renewable energy, not only to satisfy eco-conscious clients but also to lower their production costs. As a consequence, humankind is making big leaps toward a safer Earth, but it’s still every person’s duty to contribute to the big change.