Whoever handles Elon Musk’s public relations deserves a medal.
The slippery snake oil salesman and rent-seeker extraordinaire has been down to South Australia – now reduced, pretty much, to a third world state under its disastrous left-wing administration – and conned the hapless locals out of $50 million to build them an all-but-useless giant battery to make up for the energy they have lost by blowing up their coal-fired power station and relying on wind power instead.
And how are the lickspittle media reporting this outrageous scam?
Incredible $50 MILLION bet between Elon Musk and Australian Atlassian tech king pays off with Tesla building a giant solar battery in Adelaide
With a media as compliant and unquestioning as this, is it any wonder Tesla’s price is still about $300 higher than it should be and that governments continue to spend taxpayers’ billions bankrolling his quixotic schemes?
Let’s just have a quick reality check here, shall we?
Meteorologist Roy Spencer has written a book which fact-checks Al Gore’s latest climate-disaster-porn movie An Inconvenient Sequel.
Spoiler alert: Gore’s scaremongering ‘facts’ are all inconveniently untrue.
Spencer, a principal research scientist at the University of Alabama in Huntsville, begins his book An Inconvenient Deception kindly, by noting that he much prefers the new movie to its 2006 Oscar-winning prequel An Inconvenient Truth.
It was much less of a PowerPoint presentation and more of a human interest story. It follows Gore over the years as he tries to convince fellow politicians, foreign heads of state, and the public that the climate crisis is real. While some have considered Gore’s role in the movie to be too self-indulgent, I thought it showed some humanity in someone many people over the years have considered too “stiff”.
But there the praise ends. When Spencer saw the movie, he was one of only three viewers in a 750-seat theater – and one of these people walked out half way through. This local reaction is borne out by the movie’s dismal reception at the box office. No one is going to see Al Gore’s terrible new movie. And – scientifically speaking, at least – they’re really not missing much.
Here are some of Al Gore’s dubious claims rebutted.
Gore is shown visiting cryospheric expert Konrad Steffen.
“Surface melting is shown with dramatic aerial video. Rivers of meltwater form and plunge down into huge holes in the ice sheet called “moulins”.”
“What isn’t mentioned is that this happens every summer, naturally.”
In fact this is a good example of Gore’s favorite cheat: show dramatic footage of a natural event – eg ice melting rapidly – and then leave the viewer to infer that this is another disastrous and unprecedented consequence of man-made climate change. It spares him the risk of telling flat out lies which might get fact-checked later. The viewer’s imagination does all Gore’s dirty work…
Meanwhile, in the real world, remember, Greenland recently recorded its coldest temperature ever measured in July for the Northern Hemisphere.
Yes. That’s right. Slowly, deliciously, like a leech starved of blood, the renewable energy industry is withering away and dying. It can only survive through government enforced subsidies or bribe-incentives. Once those dry up, so does its trade.
I wish I could say it gave me no pleasure to see all those jobs being lost, all those businesses collapsing, all those investors losing their shirts. But I’d be lying. The jobs aren’t productive ones, the businesses are an ugly manifestation of crony capitalism, and the investors should have realized that in finance there’s no such thing as a one way bet. And in any case the victims of the renewable energy industry’s ongoing collapse will be far outnumbered by the victors. Renewables are, and always have been, a scam perpetrated by the few against the many.
A tiny minority – Elon Musk; Dale “Dog on a Rope” Vince; etc – get very, very rich. But the ordinary folk forced to use their “clean” energy (whether they like it or not) just see their bills go up or, in the worst cases die in fuel poverty, even while the planet we’re supposed to be saving gets carpeted in bat-chomping, bird-slicing eco-crucifixes and bird-frying solar arrays.
This is a moment for Americans, once again, to savor just how lucky they are to have a President who doesn’t buy into this green nonsense. President Trump understands instinctively that renewables – apart from killing birds on an epic scale – are just rent-seeking with a smiley green face on top.
It’s also a killer for domestic jobs and industry, as Cato’s Jason Scott Johnston explainshere.
While Germany has succeeded in increasing the share of wind and solar in German electricity production to over 30 percent, the average German household spent 50 percent more on electricity in 2016 than 2007. German firms open new manufacturing facilities not in Germany, but in Slovakia and other countries with much cheaper electricity.
Indeed, so economically suicidal is the renewable energy scam that you can use it as the benchmark against which to test a functioning Western economy. The more enthusiastic about renewable energy it is, the more deluded its leadership and the more likely it is to experience economic collapse.
My top financial advice for the week: #shortTesla.
Actually, this has been my top financial advice for some time. But it’s starting to look cannier and cannier as Elon Musk’s taxpayer-funded business empire begins to crumble and more and more people start to ask awkward questions like: “This solar snake oil you’re selling. How exactly does it work for anyone other than the guy who’s selling it?”
In Hong Kong they’ve already wised up to this. Tesla sales have plummeted to zero after the government removed the tax breaks.
People only buy impractical, expensive, virtue-signalling cars when heavily bribed by the government to do so. Who would have thought, eh?
But for Elon Musk likely the much bigger disaster just waiting to happen is the deal he has struck with the government of South Australia, promising to help resolve the state’s energy crisis by building the world’s largest grid-scale battery. The Independentreports:
South Australia has picked Tesla to install the world’s largest grid-scale battery, which would be paired with a wind farm provided by France’s Neoen, in a major test of the reliability of large-scale renewable energy use.
South Australia, the fifth-biggest state with a population of 1.7 million, has raced ahead of the rest of the country in turning to wind power. Its shutdown of coal-fired plants has led to outages across the eastern part of the nation, driving up energy prices.
The drawback to South Australia’s heavy reliance on renewables has been an inability to adequately store that energy, leading to vulnerabilities when the wind doesn’t blow.
To me this stinks almost as much as the deal the late Hugo Chavez once struck with the hard-left Mayor of London Ken Livingstone to help prop his Socialistic fiefdom with cut-price Venezuelan petrol. Basically it looks like another liberal elite stitch up at the expense of the honest, hard-working taxpayer.
How do we know this? Well we don’t, for sure, because the details are so murky. But people who have attempted to do the math aren’t convinced that South Australia’s energy users are going to get value for money. Forbes magazine reports:
On Twitter, Musk had made an attractive, but guardedly qualified price estimate of $250/kw-hr for installations larger than 100 MWhr. He quickly admitted that price does not include shipping, installation, taxes or tariffs. He failed to state that the price likely does not include site specific engineering, site appropriate cooling systems or site specific grid connection infrastructure.
Adequate cooling systems are important for high power, energy-dense battery installations. High discharge rates generate enough heat to damage the battery and its supporting electronics. Fires and explosions are more frequent occurrences than desired and are a high risk for improperly cooled or controlled systems.
With those additional installation investments, an estimate of $500-$600 per kilowatt-hour of storage is probably closer to reality. An installed 100 MW/300 MWhr lithium-ion power station would cost somewhere between $150 million -$180 million (200 million Australian dollars to A$240 million)
Within the context of addressing South Australia’s electric power system stability needs, a 300 MW-hr installation appears to have been unaffordable. Premier Jay Weatherill has a total of A$550 million available, and Tesla’s massive battery is only a part of the necessary capability.
Musk’s unicorns-for-fairydust scheme hasn’t impressed this Australian writer, Graham Richardson, either:
The car batteries used in a Tesla generate as much CO2 as driving a gasoline-powered car for eight years. And that’s before they even come off the production line.
This news, from a study by the Swedish Environmental Research Institute, will no doubt delight all those U.S. taxpayers who have been forking out billions of dollars to prop up Tesla’s share price having been assured by their government that subsidizing overpriced electric cars represents a vital step towards “combatting climate change.”
The report, commissioned by the Swedish Transport Administration and the Swedish Energy Agency, cannot easily be dismissed because it is a meta-analysis (ie a summary) of all the available studies on the subject.
The report shows that the battery manufacturing leads to high emissions. For every kilowatt hour of storage capacity in the battery generated emissions of 150 to 200 kilos of carbon dioxide already in the factory. The researchers did not study individual bilmärkens batteries, how these produced or the electricity mix they use. But if we understand the great importance of play battery take an example: Two common electric cars on the market, the Nissan Leaf and the Tesla Model S, the batteries about 30 kWh and 100 kWh.