As we have learned to expect, Elon Musk and his electric vehicles company Tesla have been busy. Tesla responded quickly to the unfolding drama in the aftermath of Maria, the Category 4 Hurricane that devastated Puerto Rico.
Five weeks after Puerto Rico took a direct hurricane hit that wiped out the island’s electrical grid, nearly 75% of the island is still without power. But Tesla has been doing its part to help, within days of the storm, Tesla started shipping hundreds of battery packs and solar panels to the island. The Powerwall battery systems are being installed by Tesla employees, as reported in Fortune. (photo – mashable.com)
Solar Powering Up in Puerto Rico!
One of the first results of Tesla’s commitment in Puerto Rico was the restoration of power to the Hospital del Nino, a children’s hospital in the island’s capital San Juan.
According to Tesla this is just the “first of many solar = storage” projects destined for Puerto Rico and beyond. Bringing power to islands is not new to Tesla. In 2016 Tesla engineers installed an array of solar panels on the Western Samoan Island of Ta’u. The island’s 600 resident’s power needs are now almost exclusively met by solar, a much cheaper source than the imported oil previously used.
What do Musk and Richard Branson have in common?
They are both very rich, they are both conservations and they both have put their fortunes on the line.
Elon Musk Tesla’s CEO, has personally donated $250,000 to the Puerto Rico relief effort. Richard Branson, who was personally at home on Nekker Island in the British Virgin Islands as Hurricanes Irma and Jose devastated his island has discussed funding with representatives of the US and Britian to rebuild the storm damaged Caribbean Islands.
“As part of that fund we want to make sure that the Caribbean moves from dirty energy to clean energy,” Branson told Thomson Reuters Foundation.
“If all that money could be invested in clean energy, in powering the world by the sun and by the wind, where we won’t have to suffer these awful events in the future, how much better than having to patch up people’s houses after they’ve been destroyed?” Branson said.
Electric Vehicles Cheaper than Gas Guzzlers!
That’s the projection. In just a few years, clean, renewable energy, electric vehicles will be cheaper to operate than today’s internal combustion engines. This analysis comes from independent, investment bankers that declared that this reversal of costs will occur within the next five years as a result of falling battery prices. They also estimate that electric vehicles will make up 7.5% of global sales by 2025.
“Falling battery costs will mean electric vehicles will also be cheaper to buy in the U.S. and Europe as soon as 2025,” the report said. “Batteries currently account for about half the cost of EVs, and their prices will fall by about 77 percent between 2016 and 2030.”
“We see the competitive tides shifting in 2019 and beyond as European [car makers] roiled by the diesel scandal and loss of share to Tesla in the high margin luxury segment step on the gas and accelerate the pace of EV introductions.”
Auto Makers Shift Gears
Both Volvo and Volkswagen have announced they are shifting gears on electric versions of their models. Volvo declared that by 2019 all of its cars will have electric motors and Volkswagen plans to invest over 20 billion euros ($24 billion U.S.) by 2025 to produce 80 electric models and challenge Tesla’s product line. (photo – extremetech.com)
This follows upon reports that China, France and India intend to totally ban diesel and gasoline cars in the near future.
A True Energy Game-Changer!
So, what if we could meet 100% of our energy needs with solar? This is the basis of what could be a truly revolutionary technological breakthrough suggested in a recent paper reported in the journal Nature.
What if a transparent solar panel could replace or be placed over the estimated 5 to 7 billion square meters of glass in the United States alone. In other words, it would make all of our windows energy generators.
“Highly transparent solar cells represent the wave of the future for new solar applications,” said Richard Lunt, lead author of the Michigan State University report. “We analyzed their potential and show that by harvesting only invisible light, these devices can provide a similar electricity-generation potential as rooftop solar while providing additional functionality to enhance the efficiency of buildings, automobiles and mobile electronics.”
That’s a great idea and now that we can envision a future without fossil fuels we are opening our minds, wallets and imaginations to the potential of truly creative energy alternatives.
By Robert Frerck, Blue Ocean Network
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