Elon Musk, Solar Snake-Oil Salesman, Hits a New Mark…

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 Independent reports:

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-fairy-dust scheme hasn’t impressed this Australian writer, Graham Richardson, either:

Call me a cynic but I am always suspicious when the zillionaire flies into a fanfare of a hundred trumpets and a thousand cameras to make an announcement as big as this without mentioning, or even hinting at, what the enterprise might cost.

Musk is a proven grand master at relieving governments of huge chunks of taxpayers’ money. It is a fair assumption that he is not paying the whole of the bill. Well then, how much is he coughing up and how much is Jay Weatherill putting in. If Musk is putting it all in then surely the South Australian Premier would be crowing about his negotiation skills.

Indeed. What we do know is that of all the places in the world that have been royally screwed by the Enron economics of green energy none has taken a more vigorous and painful rogering than South Australia.

South Australia is a green experiment gone horribly wrong: crippled with blackouts and crazily high energy prices which have been hugely damaging both to businesses and consumers, as well as reducing a state in one of the world’s civilized countries to a level in energy-reliability terms is more akin to Zimbabwe’s or Iraq’s.

Its miseries are entirely man-made. South Australia – like the rest of the continent – is sitting on mountains of cheap, abundant fossil fuel. This energy disaster is purely the result of the local government being hijacked by green zealots who thought, somehow, it would be a good idea to force the state to rely for 40 per cent of its power on renewable energy, mainly bat-chomping, bird-slicing eco crucifixes.

Read rest at Breitbart

Comments (7)

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    An enthusiastic engineer with an unlimited budget. What could possibly go wrong? SNAFUBAR.

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      This was not an engineering fault…the Politicians LURE of selling a lot of Nat. Gas over seas and making money….shorted their responsibility to PREPARE sufficient backup for the winter which was nastier than usual.

      THIS was certainly NOT PROOF that SOLAR AND WIND were unreliable….it WAS PROOF that GREEDY HUMANS ARE unreliable.

  • Avatar

    Spurwing Plover


    Al Gore,Leonardo DiCaprio,Elon Musk,Greenpeace,EDF,Luarie David all out there selling snake oil(Global Warming)to the gullible dumb enough to still beleive them

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      Leave it to PLOVER to collect his favorite enemies list and use them to berate a leader in American Industry.
      “….THE Low Costs of Solar Power
      Wind Power
      Natural GAS:
      Crush Killer Coal Electric rates
      Crush Nuclear Electric rates

      December 25th, 2016
      “We already published a great article from Nexus Media regarding Lazard’s new report showing the extremely low
      (and falling)
      costs of solar power and wind power.
      (( SUPER CLEAN & SUPER DEPENDABLE as proven in TEXAS & IOWA ))

      “However, I’ve been wanting to highlight these awesome new findings since Larmion shared the updated report with us earlier this month, and I want to break out the amazing news in 5 specific ways.

      These are 5 messages that I think anyone wanting a better US economy (or a better economy in practically any country),
      anyone wanting national energy freedom (aka energy independence), anyone wanting to advance the most cost-effective choices for electricity generation, and
      anyone wanting to make logical energy decisions should know and share with others.
      “1. Wind & Solar Are Cheaper (WITHOUT SUBSIDIES) Than Dirty Monopoly KILLER COAL Energy

      The first point is the very basic fact that new wind power and/or solar power plants are typically cheaper than new coal, natural gas, or nuclear power plants — even without any governmental support for solar or wind.

      ((Killer Coal & OIL enjoy Subsidies/Supports/Industry specific Tax breaks/deferrals in excess of a TRILLION DOLLARS PER YEAR ))

      Not only are they typically cheaper
      — they’re MUCH cheaper in many cases.
      2. Wind & Solar Are Actually Even Much Cheaper Than Dirty KILLER COAL Energy (More So Than Lazard Shows)

      The estimates above are supposedly “unsubsidized,” but if you include social externalities as societal subsidies (I do), the estimated costs of fossil fuels and nuclear energy are hugely subsidized in those charts.
      3. Solar & Wind Became Much Cheaper In The Past 7 Years (85% and 66%, Respectively)

      No, wind and solar costs didn’t roll off a cliff because of Obama, but his staff did help to hasten the roll to some degree. Programs like SunShot have helped to bring down costs even faster than they were coming down anyway, as did greater deployment of renewables — with greater production and deployment, costs come down almost automatically.
      4. The Lowest Solar Costs Shown In The Lazard Report Are Considerably Higher Than Globally Recorded Low-Price Bids

      I won’t go into much detail right now, but I will update this article as more record-low prices for solar power and wind power are reported. For now, though, note that we’ve seen solar project bids for under 3¢/kWh in the UAE and well under 4¢/kWh in Mexico — prices that are well below the Lazard’s low-end estimates for the US.


      People Can Get Lower Prices But More Jobs With Solar & Wind

      Whether American, British, Canadian, Australian, Indian, German, Dutch, French, Spanish, or [fill in the blank], solar and wind power don’t just mean lower prices — they also typically mean more jobs. Much of the price of dirty energy power plants is in the fossil fuel — the physical resource. When we buy that fuel, much of the money goes to the billionaires and multimillionaires who “own” the fuel — the coal mines and the natural gas wells.

      Sunshine and wind, of course, are free, but distributed solar and wind power plants have to get built and installed — those are things humans do. When we pay for solar and wind power plants, we pay for human labor, and often help create or support local jobs.

      We don’t actually have to choose between low prices or jobs or protecting our air, water, and climate — we get all of those things with renewable energy options like solar and wind energy.”

      * http://www.climatechangenew

      BY THE WAY….all this articles HYPE about Australia is EXTREMELY DECEPTIVE…..S.AUSTRALIA sold way TOO much Nat. Gas to foreign countries without properly ensuring supplies for the WINTER SEASONS…..that has nothing to do with WIND or SOLAR being SOUND and MUCH MORE AFFORDABLE ENERGY SOURCES.

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        Rakooi, u donkey. Conventional electrical generators do NOT need back up. Green energy is not dependable, it does not answer the call when the call is made. When the wind blows or solar panels receive sunlight, you get some electricity. The electrical grid accommodates green energy.
        You and your friends have it all backwards. Why don’t your fellow donkeys pay for it if it’s so wonderful. Why must it be LEGISLATED, forced into our homes and budgets BY LAW? A half truth is a lie. Every one of you Green energy advocates are LIARS!!!!!!

  • Avatar

    Spurwing Plover


    Seperated at Birth Al Gore and Jafar,Barack Obama and Skar,DiCaprio and Captian Hook,Al Franen and Dick Dastardly,Luarie David and the Wicked with of the West,Nancy Pelosi and Ursula,Barack Obama and Monstar(Silverhawks)Joe Biden and monster sidekick Yesman

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