For those of you who are not familiar with SpaceX and Tesla electric car company owner Elon Musk, he has quite an engaging personality that attracts people and he’s also known for being very straightforward. His name is not the only thing that is interesting about him, as he has some interesting thoughts on a wide variety of subjects. Recently he tackled the subject about how he would go about promoting renewable energy sources.
His thoughts came out when he made a guest speaking appearance at what is known as the South by Southwest Festival held annually in Austin, Texas. The festival brings together a mishmash of personalities that come from film, music and other interactive media sources. A number of philanthropists such as Musk were also scheduled to speak. Needless to say it’s an event that brings together some free thinkers that are not afraid to say what’s on their mind.
You don’t get much more free thinking than a billionaire who thinks colonizing mars is possible and the threat of AI is more real than nukes (Think the ‘Terminator’). Why does this man attract so much attention when he speaks? It’s because he has the type of personality that was not above doing a little jig while his brother Kimbal Musk’s band played in the background.
Elon Musk’s Thoughts on Renewable Energy Sources
Some of Musk’s thoughts about renewable energy sources came out in his guest speaking appearance and more light was shed on the renewable energy subject in a brief interview with HBO creator/director Jonathan Nolan.
Here are some of Mr. Musk’s more interesting comments on renewable energy from these two events.
First of all, Elon Musk firmly believes that dependence on fossil fuels is not the answer. Mankind is too dependent on them and they will eventually run out. Not to mention that they do as much or more damage to the environment than people say they do. That’s an interesting comment coming from a man whose rockets put more harmful carbon into the atmosphere when launched than any other single means of transportation on earth.
One gets the sense that with his thoughts on harmful carbon and emphasis on renewable energy he would not do this if he did not feel space transportation would be ultra-important someday. Mr. Musk has proven to be a very futuristic thinker and it kind of makes you wonder if he knows something we don’t.
He even emphatically stated that people are just fooling themselves if they don’t believe our dependence on fossil fuels will lead to an extremely bad outcome if we don’t change that trend now.
Why do We Need Shift to Renewable Energy Sources
Elon Musk believes that since renewable energy is so much more of a clean energy source than fossil fuels that it’s not only smart but essential for mankind to make a big push toward using more renewable energy sources. Fast forwarding this switch to renewable energy is the very thing that is needed to stop the extreme damage to the earth of which fossil fuel pollution is a big part.
Mr. Musk says the time is now because renewable energy sources and their associated technologies are better than ever. With major gains in renewable energy produced from winds and increased efficiency in solar panels, for the first time the switch to more dependence on renewable energy sources is more conceivable than ever.
Perhaps the most significant advances that are being seen that will enable the switch to more renewable energy sources are not in the collection technologies themselves. They have to do with the big improvements that are being achieved in the massive batteries that are needed to store the electricity that sun, wind and other renewable energy sources produce.
So what’s Preventing a Major Shift towards Renewable Energy?
So why does Elon Musk think we are not seeing people jump on the renewable energy bandwagon given the improvements in the technology? It’s simple; people have no incentive to change because the price of fossil fuels is once again so low. But there is a way around this.
Mr. Musk said that there must be a cost added to CO2 emitting fuels that encourages people to want to make the switch and push for it. This could be in the form of something like a CO2 tax. With the current pricing and status quo of fossil fuels Musk firmly believes people simply will not make the switch to renewable energy sources until their wallets start telling them it’s time to do so.
These are very interesting comments on renewable energy sources from a man who seems to be a very forward thinker and more in the know scientifically than most of us. As influential as this man is, it would not be surprising if some important politicians took a serious look at his thoughts on how to further promote the use of renewable energy sources too.