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Saturday, May 2

Elon Musk may be writing the 21st Century faster than anyone imagines

Christian Helman, "big oil/big energy" columnist at Forbes, got out his calculator to fisk Tesla's new Powerwall and Powerpack, which by this hour has probably been discussed by every tech site on the planet.   Hellman's verdict: just another toy for rich Green people; for regular homeowners the energy cost is outlandishly expensive.

For those who haven't yet heard the news, here's Science Times on the unveiling of the new gizmo:
Elon Musk's visions haven't just changed the tech industry, they've changed the world and even space exploration. But a new venture and interest in batteries will mean that Tesla is expanding into the solar energy game, and Musk is offering homeowners the opportunity to capitalize on the power of the sun.
Known as the "Powerwall", Tesla's newest invention is a thin, wall-mounted battery that is the size of a flat screen TV. And with this new battery homeowners who have already invested in solar power will be able to entirely go off the grid, and even to sell their excess solar juice back to energy companies.
Tesla's Powerwall engineers will have to answer Helman's calculator. But even if Helman is right, this tech-challenged blogger asks whether a group of middle income homeowners might form a cooperative to use Powerwall in a way that accomplishes what individual millionaires can do with it.

And if Big Government and Big Industry have a symbiotic relationship, could "Enlightened Self-Sufficiency," as I tentatively termed the emerging New Age, be given a boost by many people going off the electricity grids maintained by the alliance of Big?  In other words, form their own mini-grid?

The answer Christoper Helman might give is, 'Do you want to crash the American economy?'  That seems to be the stock answer to all visions of a world in which entire neighborhoods are self-sufficient.

My reply is, 'What happens if the economy crashes anyhow, and nobody has any practice at being self-sufficient?'

That is a national security question, by the way, not a philosophical one.

Anyhow, the tech minded with an interest in solar energy can have fun fooling around with calculations on both sides of the Powerwall argument.   Others can watch Musk's 20 minute presention of Powerwall, taped on Thursday. The Verge calls the speech the best hi-tech rollout they've ever seen -- better even than Steve Jobs' 2007 introduction for the iphone.  Visit Verge's website for the video.  


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