One of the most dangerous lies in the world today is the idea that unreliable solar energy, if combined with batteries, can power the world. And the most dangerous advocate of this lie is the brilliant Elon Musk--because he is so admired for his brilliance.

For years, Elon Musk has been claiming that solar panels plus batteries can power the world. Because Musk is a brilliant engineer, this claim seems credible. But as I will show by examining a recent version of this claim (pictured), it is deeply dishonest.
Musk says that "to power the whole Earth" we need just solar panels and "some batteries."

What is "some batteries"?

To store a mere three days worth of energy, to be prepared for weeks (let alone seasons) with lower-than-usual sunlight, takes 1330 terawatt-hours in batteries.
What does 1330 terawatt-hours in batteries cost? At current Megapack prices quoted by Elon Musk himself--$300 per kilowatt-hour--that's about *400 trillion dollars*.

To put this in perspective, global GDP is $87 trillion.

So, Musk's "some batteries" cost >4.5X global GDP.
More dishonesty by Musk: claiming that solar provides "roughly 200MW/km^2." But this is how much solar would produce during the sunniest part of a cloudless day if no space were needed among the panels. In the real world, solar production averages 6MW/km^2--1/34th Musk's figure.
Still more dishonesty by Musk: claiming solar and batteries can "power the whole Earth," then talking about how many Megapacks would be needed to "overnight"--when he knows full well that his hypothetical scheme would require days of storage, not "overnight."
For more of the fallacies, lies, and distortions in Elon Musk's claim see the winners of the contest I held last week.

Musk's energy dishonesty is so dangerous because Musk is deservedly admired for many reasons.

I admire his "first principles" approach to business+engineering problems as well as many of his products. And I'm all for cost-effective EVs, autonomous driving, and boring tunnels.
To learn the truth about energy from someone who is not as smart as Elon but is much more honest, go to

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More from @AlexEpstein

6 May
One of the most obvious opportunities the US is currently squandering is the export of LNG--liquefied natural gas. LNG can provide low-cost, reliable, clean natural gas around the world. But LNG's enormous potential is being strangled by irrational permitting policies.

Natural gas is an incredibly versatile fuel--providing low-cost, clean residential heating; low-cost, clean "industrial process heat"; and low-cost, highly controllable and reliable clean electricity.
While natural gas used to be so hard to get that the US imported it, thanks to fracking and other shale energy technologies, the US now has a virtually limitless supply of low-cost, reliable, versatile, clean natural gas.
Read 11 tweets
30 Apr
The US is headed toward energy suicide, in large part because smart people are completely misrepresenting the capabilities of solar and wind energy. To counter this, I held a contest to answer some recent distortions by @elonmusk. Here are the winners. 🧵

Read 10 tweets
29 Apr
Anti-development policies on America's federal lands have created crisis after crisis: from forests with deadly "fuel loads" to dependence on China for vital materials. The Biden Administration's anti-development "30 by 30" plan would make our public lands crisis far worse.

Imagine that as a large landowner you hire a property manager whose policies lead to: a failure to do proper maintenance, huge opportunities squandered, and catastrophic fires.

You'd fire that person and immediately change policies. That needs to happen with our federal lands.
For decades America's federal lands, which were supposed to be managed to allow commercial development of resources, recreation, and enjoyment of nature, have been mismanaged by *anti-development policies*--policies based on the idea that all human impact on nature is bad.
Read 9 tweets
29 Apr
If we didn't live in a society so saturated by anti-humanism--specifically the dogma that human impact on the planet is immoral and inevitably self-destructive--we would be open to the possibility that rising CO2 levels, by bringing about more warmth and greening, are desirable.
In a pro-human society, without the pseudoscientific, primitive religious Earth worship that dominates ours, we'd see more headlines like this: "Earth is not the best place to live, scientists say."…
"Being slightly warmer would also make a planet more habitable, with an ideal of about 5 degrees Celsius hotter than Earth thought to be the biggest improvement."

So why are we outlawing most of our energy supply to stop us from getting 2 degrees warmer?…
Read 6 tweets
29 Apr
All pro-freedom US Representatives should join Rep @chiproytx in his effort to bring to a vote Rep @laurenboebert's bill that would reverse President Biden's unconstitutional and immoral moratoria on oil and gas development.…

It is rare and commendable when elected officials propose a truly pro-freedom policy. I rarely see any legislation that I can support. @laurenboebert's HR 859 is an exception, because it directly stops @JoeBiden's unconstitutional and immoral moratoria on oil and gas development.
Here's an overview of why Biden's moratoria--aka bans--were so bad.

Read 8 tweets
29 Apr
What @benshapiro is saying in general is particularly true in energy. Bumbling, "boring" @JoeBiden is unconstitutionally pledging the US to an interpretation of the Paris Climate Accords that gives the Federal government fascist control over all energy.
As if energy fascism isn't an immoral and economically destructive enough framework for energy policy, Biden's particular variant of it involves dictating that we use almost exclusively unreliable solar and wind--which, let us not forget, proved perfectly useless in TX recently.
Read 6 tweets

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