Elon Musk Says We Must Switch to Renewables or Plunge Into “the Dark Ages”

"If it's not renewable, it's going to run out at some point."

10. 30. 17 by Kyree Leary
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Image by Creative Commons

Replacing the Batteries

Tesla and CEO Elon Musk have a hand in the future of Australia’s energy grid. Back in June, the company signed a deal with Transgrid to supply New South Wales homes with their Powerpacks; in July, Tesla landed a second contract to build a 100-Megawatt battery system in South Australia, which Musk proposed to have finished within 100 days.

It should come as no surprise, then, that Musk believes renewable energy will be a key factor not just in Australia’s future, but in humanity’s as well. During a 60 Minutes interview with presenter Liz Hayes, Musk made this belief abundantly clear, saying if energy isn’t renewable, it’s not going to last.

“It’s a definition that if it’s not renewable, it’s going to run out at some point,” Musk explained. “And we will have the choice of the collapse of civilization—and into the Dark Ages we go—or we find something renewable.”

While renewable energy is important for the benefit of our planet, Musk was speaking specifically about Australia. There’s currently a sizable fight occurring between Australia’s six states and the Commonwealth over Australia’s future energy sources, and how much energy will cost—a conflict Musk and Tesla are now caught in the middle of. Electricity has become so expensive that some people have decided to live without it in order to save money.

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“I didn’t realize there was this big battle going on,” said Musk on 60 Minutes. “I just didn’t know.” In an attempt to belittle Tesla’s endeavors, Liberal Party of Australia member and Treasurer Scott Morrison has taken to comparing Tesla’s 100-Megawatt battery to a tourist attraction, a statement Musk is familiar with.

“We get that (criticism) all the time,” said Musk. “It can be a little disheartening.”

Positive Change

Despite the complicated situation for Australia’s energy grid, Musk thinks residents “should be proud of the fact that Australia has the world’s biggest battery.” Beyond that, he also suggested that people should be happy Australia is leading the charge in the search for better energy sources; it can be an example that shows other countries that the switch from fossil fuels to renewables is possible and in everyone’s best interest.

“It is an inspiration and it will serve to say to the whole world that this is possible,” said Musk.

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In recent months alone, we’ve seen what Tesla’s battery packs are doing in other parts of the world. Notably, in Puerto Rico, Tesla has started restoring power to local hospitals following the damage caused by Hurricane Maria.

For proof of what Tesla and renewable energy can do for Australia, look no further than Logan City in southeastern Australia, which managed to save $1.5 million after installing one of Tesla’s power packs. The financial benefits wouldn’t stop there, either. According to Musk, Australia has an abundance of natural resources, meaning “electricity should be cheap.”


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