Monday, December 8, 2014

Could Elon Musk Put Southern California Edison On The Unemployment Line?

It could be that big utility companies like SoCal Edison are within a decade of going the way of the dinosaur. With the major oil corporations only a banana step behind them.

Why is that you ask? Technological progress in the creation of power through solar energy, along with rapidly developing electric car and battery technology, are now becoming advanced enough to present truly credible threats to the old school electricity and fossil fuel business models.

The world is moving forward, right before our eyes. Faster than ever. And what once seemed to be intractable technological problems are now being solved, and it is private industry that is getting this done. That and people are sick to death of having to shell out $400 and $500 a month to increasing at risk and poorly run electricity monopolies just to keep the lights on. Folks are beginning to look elsewhere, and at last there seems to be some options that make sense. And as I am sure you are aware, that need is growing.

And who is it that is leading the charge to make all of this happen? Apparently it is none other than Elon Musk, the creator of 300 mile range Tesla electric automobiles. Along with SolarCity Corp and a little company called SpaceX, which just did a rather huge deal with the Feds to provide the rockets necessary to put NASA and Pentagon satellites into orbit, this dude's portfolio is loaded.

Cutting edge engineering science and related private industries are today creating liberating technologies that old school utility and energy monopolies are increasingly incapable of even imagining. Making things work better at costs that actual Americans can afford, and doing it cleaner and more efficiently.

Just so you can hear it from someone else, here is an article that appeared recently on Bloomberg called "Why Elon Musk's Batteries Scare the Hell Out of the Electric Company."

Trust me, it is all very good news.

Here’s why something as basic as a battery both thrills and terrifies the U.S. utility industry.

At a sagebrush-strewn industrial park outside of Reno, Nevada, bulldozers are clearing dirt for Tesla Motors Inc. (TSLA)’s battery factory, projected to be the world’s largest.

Tesla’s founder, Elon Musk, sees the $5 billion facility as a key step toward making electric cars more affordable, while ending reliance on oil and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. At first blush, the push toward more electric cars looks to be positive for utilities struggling with stagnant sales from energy conservation and slow economic growth.

Yet Musk’s so-called gigafactory may soon become an existential threat to the 100-year-old utility business model. The facility will also churn out stationary battery packs that can be paired with rooftop solar panels to store power. Already, a second company led by Musk, SolarCity Corp. (SCTY), is packaging solar panels and batteries to power California homes and companies including Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (WMT)

“The mortal threat that ever cheaper on-site renewables pose” comes from systems that include storage, said Amory Lovins, co-founder of the Rocky Mountain Institute, a Snowmass, Colorado-based energy consultant. “That is an unregulated product you can buy at Home Depot that leaves the old business model with no place to hide.”

The Tesla systems are arriving just as utilities begin to feel increasing pressure worldwide from the disruption posed by renewable energy.

There's a lot more to this Bloomberg article, and you can read the rest by clicking here.

So here's the deal. With the kind of electric storage battery technology Elon Musk will be producing in Nevada you could soon find yourself becoming an entirely self-sufficient economic entity, one beholden to nobody but yourself.

And everything you need is coming on line now. All done with solar panels that produce free electricity that can now be dependably used 24 hours a day, plus wide ranging electric cars that will be charged with juice you yourself produce, and at absolutely no cost.

In other words, no more Edison, no PG&E, no Chevron, no Shell, no Exxon-Mobil-Arco-Valero whatever. None of that dismal, over-priced and air befouling antiquated nonsense. You will need to do business with none of them.

If you can handle it, get yourself ready to live independent and free. Like all Americans should.

Speaking of Dinosaurs, Let's Bag on SCAG for a Minute

Our utterly clueless regional planning organization, the Southern California Association of Governments (or SCAG if you like pretty acronyms), was recently featured in a rather uncritical Pasadena Star News article called "Economic summit addresses jobs, poverty in Southern California."

You can click here to read it in its entirety.

Basically what this article tells us is SCAG believes a lot of people are poor around these parts, they don't have particularly nice houses to live in, and somehow didn't get the educations they need to compete in a world run by smart and capable people. It really can be tough out there, especially if you didn't bother to take the time to properly prepare yourself for it.

But never fear. SCAG, which is run by a former Soviet apparatchik (link) and devours $10s of millions of dollars in state and federal tax dollars yearly, all to do some mighty thinking about just these kinds of problems, has a solution. Are you ready? Here it is:

SCAG’s Regional Action Plan on Poverty was developed by its business advisory group, the Global Land Use & Economics (GLUE) Council. It identifies three large-scale initiatives for immediate action.

The first could potentially create hundreds of thousands of construction jobs to improve and repair the region’s aging transportation infrastructure through SCAG’s Regional Transportation and Sustainable Communities Strategy.

Much like the nation’s Works Progress Administration (WPA) program during the Depression, the plan would provide construction jobs for people who desperately need work.

There it is. SCAG (or is it GLUE) wants to solve society's ills by bringing back a cutting edge solution from the 1930s. You know, way back during the depression era.

Compare that with what is going on at companies like Tesla today and you can get a pretty good idea of just how archaic and useless SCAG really is. A unmitigated waste of valuable taxpayer dollars.

It's time to start pulling the plug on the past. And that would certainly include SCAG.


  1. SCAG wants to bring back the WPA? Wow. Is that really all they got?

  2. In the end it will be private industry and technology that will take on global warming. Not SB 375, not SCAG and their rat warren high density housing schemes, and definitely not any of the pay to play idiots up in Sacramento. You will be able to drive your emissions free car to your off the grid solar home deep in the suburbs and harm none. Though you might want to wave to all of the deserted transit village SCAG housing as you drive by.

  3. Edison going away? Stop teasing me.

  4. Musk and his Tesla biz (as well as his brother & Solar City) only stay above water due to "crony capitalism".

    Tesla gets huge tax subsidies ( paid for by taxayers' money). The only net income Tesla makes is from the sale of artificial tax credits due to AB 32. Tesla & Solar City only exist because Uncle Sam & Uncle California throw OUR money at them.

    Don't take my word for it, pull up Tesla's financials. IMO it's a house of cards. Pull out the subsidies and it will be Buh-Bye Tesla.

    Solyndra will look like a pipsqueak compared to Tesla going down.

    1. Can you name any corporations in this country who have not gotten benefits such as these? I would argue that the war in Iraq was more about taking care of the oil business than anything having to do with weapons of mass destruction. Which, as we all know, turned out to be a hallucination of the president at that time.

    2. Ok, Apple Computer. Denial is not a river in Egypt.

      If you can figure out how to make a gazillion dollars from solar/batteries without tax subsidies, go for it big guy/girl!

      But don't use my tax monies to dispense tax credit favors.

      Besides, if you're successful you'll make more money than Warren Buffett.

    3. 7:54 if Iraq was about oil, why didn't the US take any of it or sell any of it?

      Now you're just sounding naive (sounds better than stupid.)

    4. You mean to say we get no oil from Iraq? They even screwed that up?

    5. One of the benefits of being less dependent on foreign oil is we will not have to get involved in so many wars in the Middle East.

    6. 8:52 - once removed. Apple was bailed out by Microsoft in 1997.

  5. with the republican party soon to be in charge of both houses most good energy and environmental policys will be overturned

  6. Speaking of incentives,the turf removal rebates from the City are open for application starting today. The allotted monies will go quickly so get in an application ASAP if your removing turf.

  7. In defense of the article here, regardless of tax subsidies, the real focus here is that Tesla is being incredibly innovative, unlike our pathetic state, local, and federal governments that couldn't innovate their way out of being trapped in a paper bag. Absurd amounts of tax payer dollars are frivolously wasted (pensions, entitlement programs, interest to foreign governments, etc.) to the point that I'd much rather see it support a guy like Musk to do what he does best, innovate. Speaking of tax payer dollars, don't forget about B.O.criticizing Bush for "irresponsibly" increasing our national debt to the tune of $4.5 trillion dollars, while he's currently taken us upwards to the staggering, truly irresponsible figure of $7.5 trillion, making our new national debt $18+ trillion.

    1. I call it the Bushbama administration.

    2. 10:52. the Tesla business is what venture capitalists are supposed to invest in not the gov. Using our money.
      ah yes, and the reason gas prices are going down lately is because of all the oil fracking we are doing here in the U. S., on private land, w/o government help. trust me, the Saudis aren't happy.

    3. Tesla alone is valued at $18 billion. SpaceX has gov contracts in excess of $6 billion. Any govt money that has come his way was thrown at him. The oil companies and their political messenger boys hate him.

    4. 2:47, the Saudis are complicit with the US in the lower global oil prices, the aim is to put the screws to Russia, Continuing low oil prices well into next year will push Russia into a recession and put political hardship on Putin, the Saudis have agreed to not cut production, a clear sign that money, this time around, is not the motivating factor.

  8. So people being able to get out from under electric companies and oil companies by using new solar technology is a bad thing? Can I ask how?

  9. Do a little research and find out the concessions and incentives he got from the taxpayers of Nevada to open his new manufacturing plant there, people of Nevada bent over and grabbed their ankles, they can keep him. On the other hand he did release all of his patents, of which had dozens.

    1. Nevada opted in because he produces jobs. But hey, in California we have SCAG and the new WPA for that. Grab a broom, pal.


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