Elon Musk: This is Part of Master Plan Part 3

Welcome back to What’s Up Tesla! I’m celebrating today with you the fantastic opportunity I had to meet Elon Musk at Gigafactory Texas this past week.  I was invited to be present during Johnna Crider’s interview for her podcast, “Getting Stoned: Interview With Elon Musk.” So let’s have a slice of Pecan Pie, and enjoy! 

Elon Musk explained details about Master Plan Part 3 and making sure the power stays on in an easy-to-understand way. I am excited to share his words with you in this article!

3 Pillars to a Sustainable Energy Future

In the interview, Elon Musk said

“There are three pillars to a sustainable energy future. 

One is electric transport, the other is sustainable power generation, primarily through solar and wind, and then the third is stationary battery energy storage because the sun doesn’t shine all the time and the wind doesn’t blow all the time. 

You’ve got to store the energy while the sun is shining and the wind is blowing in the stationary batteries and then those batteries provide power to the grid. 

We can have a fully sustainable energy earth just with those three things. 

Tesla is working on all those three things.”

“There are three pillars to a sustainable energy future.” – Elon Musk

“The stationary battery part is a big deal and we are ramping that up. 

It’s going to be a very big part of our business long term.  It’s a very important part of the total energy solution for earth. 

Our estimate is that you need about 300 Terawatt hours of energy storage or 300,000 Gigawatt hours.  Other people may come up with different numbers but in order to fully transition the earth including all electricity, transport and heating, I think it’s probably around that number. 

So, that’s a lot of batteries that need to get made.  And if you assume a battery life, before it gets recycled, of 20 years roughly, then you need 15 Terawatt hours a year of annual production at steady state.  So, 15,000 Gigawatt hours a year.

Our current production is much less than that.  I think we might be approaching 1000 Gigawatt hours or thereabouts at this point.”

Giga Texas Battery Cell Production [credit: Tesla]

Master Plan Part 3

“And this is like my, sort of, my Masterplan Part 3. It’s about scaling. How do we scale?

How do we get to that fully sustainable energy economy?

And what tonnage do we need of what materials?

And what is maybe the best way to get all of those materials and turn them into batteries?

But the fundamental governor of the rate at which we can transition to sustainability is the rate at which we can grow the output of lithium-ion batteries.”

100% Renewable Multi-Customer Microgrid Is Now Operational at PG&E credit: PG&E

In response to Johnna’s comment that the weakest part of Texas is the grid, and here comes Tesla trying to strengthen that weakest part, Elon replied

“The batteries are helpful even without sustainable energy because they can sort of load balance the grid so if you have power spikes the batteries can absorb the power spike. 

If it dips or there’s a drop in power or an increase in power, like power fluctuations, the batteries can smooth it out. 

And so the Tesla Megapack and Powerwalls and stuff can be really helpful for stabilizing the grid even in the absence of sustainable energy.”

Making Sure the Power Stays on in Texas

I asked Elon Musk if he could talk a little about Distributed Energy Resources [DERs] and if Gigafactory Texas could be protected in the event of an emergency, Elon replied,

“Well, I think this is going to be in terms of batteries, a combination of large batteries, sort of utility-scale batteries with very big installations. 

Like we just did a big thing with PG&E at Moss Landing in California which is going to be very important for maintaining power in California.  There is a number of other installations happening. 

And then at the local level, you’ve got the Powerwalls that collectively can stabilize the grid within a neighborhood. 

So, the combination of centralized batteries with Megapack and distributed batteries at homes and businesses with powerwall working together can have a very positive effect in making sure the power stays on.” – Elon Musk

Tesla Megapacks at Moss Landing with PG&E [credit PG&E]

I stated that I think it brings people hope when we think about how much people depend on energy for just about everything.  Elon replied,

Absolutely, energy is the foundation of the economy.  Civilization would crumble immediately if we didn’t have it.  There would be mass starvation. Terrible. – Elon Musk

Conclusion

Elon Musk wastes no time explaining that Tesla is working on the three pillars to a sustainable energy future. These are electric transport, sustainable power generation, and stationary battery energy storage. Elon’s Master Plan Part 3 aims to quickly solve the problem of how to get to a sustainable energy economy. Elon said, “the fundamental governor of the rate at which we can transition to sustainability is the rate at which we can grow the output of lithium-ion batteries.” Energy is the foundation of the economy. Elon stated, “the combination of centralized batteries with Megapack and distributed batteries at homes and businesses with powerwall working together can have a very positive effect in making sure the power stays on.”

My thoughts

My impression of Elon Musk is that he’s extremely focused and dedicated. His attitude was one of genuine kindness and enthusiasm about doing the interview. Several times he also expressed a sense of urgency about wanting to get to work with the Tesla Team at Giga Texas that day.

The conference room the interview was in gives you a floor-to-ceiling view of the inside of the gigafactory [see below]. Factory sounds were present, including Model Y horns beeping beyond the glass. We are all a witness to the beginning of something very big. Gigafactory Texas will soon produce an unprecedented number of Model Y, batteries, and Cybertrucks at a steady, fast pace.

Many people are interested in learning more about energy storage, so to have the chance to ask Elon a question about Distributed Energy Resources [DERs] and keeping Gigafactory Texas’ power on was a real honor!

What would you ask Elon Musk if you had the chance?

Gigafactory Texas as seen from the interview conference room. [credit Gail Alfar, All Rights Reserved, June 25, 2022]

Want to read more excellent articles? I suggest…

You can subscribe to this blog here, and you can listen to the entire interview with Elon Musk here and on Spotify or Apple Podcasts

Gail Alfar. Exclusive to What’s Up Tesla – This blog post was created utilizing STARLINK satellite services. All Rights Reserved. July 3, 2022

8 thoughts on “Elon Musk: This is Part of Master Plan Part 3

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