Elon Musk Renewable Energy – Its mission is to accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy through increasingly affordable electric vehicles and energy products. Increasing production to 500,000 cars a year would require a global supply of lithium-ion batteries today. The Gigafactory was created out of necessity and will provide enough batteries to meet the demand for cars. Today, the Gigafactory makes Model 3 electric motors and batteries, in addition to its energy storage products, Powerwall and Powerpack.
In June 2014, the Gigafactory, located outside of Sparks, Nevada, broke ground. The name Gigafactory comes from the word “Giga”, a unit of measurement meaning “billion”. The Gigafactory is being built in phases so that end industries can start production immediately and scale up later. The current structure is 1.9 million square feet and includes approximately 5.3 million square feet of usable space on multiple floors. Gigafactory performance is around 30 percent. Once operational, the Gigafactory will be the world’s largest building powered entirely by renewable energy sources. Planned to be a zero-energy plant upon completion, the facility will be powered primarily by solar energy, and construction is underway.
By mid-2018, Gigafactory 1’s battery production reached approximately 20 GWh per year, making it the world’s largest battery factory. It currently produces more kWh of batteries than all other automakers combined. As the Gigafactory ramps up production, the cost of battery cells will drop significantly due to simplified optimization of scale, innovative manufacturing, reduced waste, and simplified optimization of most manufacturing processes under one roof. Lower battery prices will make the products more affordable for more people and allow us to have the biggest impact on the world’s transition to sustainable energy. Elon Musk, chairman of SolarCity and CEO of Tesla Motors, speaks with SolarCity’s Inside Energy. Summit in Manhattan, New York, October 2, 2015. /Rashid Umar Abbas/File photo
LONDON, Feb 10 () — Tesla CEO Elon Musk is the ultimate poster boy for low-carbon technology. However, the electric car maker’s endorsement of bitcoin this week could accelerate global use of the currency, which produces more pollution than a small country each year.
Tesla Inc ( TSLA.O ) revealed on Monday that it has bought $1.5 billion in bitcoins, which it will soon accept as payments for cars, sending the price of the cryptocurrency through the roof.
So what’s the problem, you might ask? Bitcoin is virtual, so it is not made of paper, plastic or even metal.
Digital currencies are created when powerful computers compete with other machines to solve complex mathematical puzzles, an energy-intensive process that currently relies mostly on fossil fuels, especially the dirtiest coal.
According to the latest data from the University of Cambridge and the International Energy Agency, “mining” like Bitcoin will consume the same amount of energy as the Netherlands in 2019.
A 2019 study in the journal Science Joule estimated that bitcoin production emits 22-22.9 metric tons of carbon dioxide each year, equivalent to the level produced by Jordan and Sri Lanka.
At a time when ESG, or environmental, social and governance issues have become a major factor for investors around the world, Tesla’s strong inclusion of cryptocurrencies in its investment portfolio could complicate the company’s zero-emissions ethos, according to some investors.
“We are very concerned about the level of carbon dioxide emissions from bitcoin mining,” said Ben Deer, CEO of Osmosis Investment Management, a sustainable investor that manages $2.2 billion in assets that include shares of Tesla and has several portfolios.
“When Tesla’s Bitcoin deal closes, we expect them to fully measure their environmental factors, focus on defining their market, and include relevant energy consumption data if they continue to buy or actually start mining Bitcoin . finding”.
It’s not all environmental doom and gloom, however, and Tesla’s bet on Bitcoin comes amid growing efforts by the cryptocurrency industry to minimize the environmental damage that mining has caused. The move could be spurred by billionaire entrepreneur Musk, who this week offered $100 million for inventions that could remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere or oceans.
Some sustainability experts believe that the entry of large corporations into the crypto market could increase the incentive to produce “green bitcoins” using renewable energy. Companies can get carbon credits to get offsets, they added.
However, in the short term, Tesla’s disclosure of its bitcoin investment in a securities depository could indirectly exacerbate the environmental costs of mining.
Other companies are following suit by buying the currency, according to investors and industry experts. Increased demand and higher prices mean more miners are competing to solve puzzles to earn coins using more powerful computers that require more energy.
“It (bitcoin) is not a sustainable investment and it is difficult to sustain it with the system it is embedded in,” said Sanna Settervall, a consultant at South Pole Corporate Sustainability Consultants.
Estimates of Bitcoin’s reliance on fossil fuels and renewable energy vary, and detailed information on the energy mix of the Bitcoin mining industry is hard to come by.
From Canada to Siberia, projects are looking for ways to defossilize bitcoin mining, or at least reduce the carbon footprint and make the currency more acceptable to mainstream investors.
Former Hong Kong bitcoin trader S.J. Oh, he knew his passion for the environment was somewhat at odds with his day job. So a year ago, he founded Pow.re, a greenback bitcoin mining company in subarctic Canada.
Labrador’s Pow.re machines are powered by hydroelectric power, and heat generated from mining is planned to be used for local agriculture, heating and other needs, he said.
“I think for the most part the bitcoin industry will make a concerted effort to be environmentally friendly,” said Oh, who believes Musk and his company can find better ways.
Other projects aimed at reducing bitcoin’s carbon footprint include Russian gas producer Gazprom’s ( GAZP.MM ) project in Siberia’s Khanty-Mansi region.
There, energy generated from burning gas, a byproduct of oil extraction, is used to mine cryptocurrencies. Gazprom Neft, which oversees the project, said the process leaves a smaller carbon footprint than coal-based power.
In theory, blockchain analytics firms say it would be possible to trace the source of bitcoins, increasing the likelihood of receiving commissions from green bitcoins. Stronger climate change policies by governments around the world would also help.
“The problem is not bigger than bitcoin.” said Yves Benneim, founder of Switzerland-based cryptocurrency think tank 2B4CH.
“People say it’s energy-intensive and therefore polluting, but that’s the nature of the energy we use today. As Bitcoin grows, there is more incentive to invest in renewable energy.”
Meanwhile, bitcoin supporters point out that the current financial system, with its millions of workers and computers running in air-conditioned offices, uses a lot of energy.
However, it is still early days for such green projects, and some ESG experts believe that Bitcoin may struggle to gain mass adoption by mainstream investors in the near future.
“I think the big players will stay away from Bitcoin for these specific reasons. One, the very negative angle of the climate given the way it is mined, and two, the rules and ethical issues surrounding it,” said president Sasja Beslik. J. Safra Sarasin of Zurich Bank for sustainable business development.
Some industry experts and scientists warn that China’s dominance of miners and its unwillingness to trade cheap fossil fuels for more expensive renewables will not quickly solve the emissions problem.
According to Cambridge University’s Center for Alternative Finance, Chinese miners account for around 70% of bitcoin production. They tend to use renewable energy, mainly hydropower, during the rainy summer season and fossil fuels, mainly coal, during the rest of the year.
Jack Liao, CEO of Chinese mining company LightningAsic, added: “Every miner’s goal is to make a profit, so it doesn’t matter if they generate from hydropower, wind, solar or burning coal.” Government incentives for renewable energy by miners can help.
“Renewable energy production is highly unstable and not suitable for sustainable forms of energy,” said Alex De Vries, founder of research platform Digiconomist.
“The problem is that the miners that will last the longest will be the ones that use cheap fossil fuels because they are the cheapest and most stable sources.” Tesla CEO Elon Musk spoke to North American Bitcoin miners, who pledged to form a Bitcoin Mining Council to “advance energy transparency and accelerate sustainability initiatives around the world.” They also allowed printing
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