Tesla’s New Gigafactory is Entirely “Off-Grid” and Powered by 100% Renewable Energy
Elon Musk, CEO and product architect of the company Tesla Motors, is an entrepreneur not only interested in making money, but also advancing solutions to humanity’s pressing problems. Musk is unabashed in his commitment to help transition our energy paradigm from toxic fossil fuels into clean, renewable energy.
Besides producing state-of-the-art electric cars which will be ready for the renewable future, Tesla has innovated something called the Powerwall. This home battery system is charged using electricity generated from solar panels, which has helped to open the floodgates to residential solar power generation.
Tesla’s next technological marvel is currently being built in Nevada, called the Gigafactory. It is so-named because it will ultimately manufacture 35 gigawatt-hours of lithium-ion batteries—more than the number produced worldwide in 2013. As full capacity is reached in 2020, Tesla intends to drive down the cost of their battery pack by more than 30 percent.
Tesla’s mission is to accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable transportation. To achieve that goal, we must produce electric vehicles in sufficient volume to force change in the automobile industry. With a planned production rate of 500,000 cars per year in the latter half of this decade, Tesla alone will require today’s entire worldwide production of lithium ion batteries. The Tesla Gigafactory was born of necessity and will supply enough batteries to support our projected vehicle demand.
In true visionary form, Tesla Motors announced that it will power the Gigafactory with 100% renewable energy, through a combination of sources such as solar panels covering the entire rooftop and wind turbines on a nearby slope. It will essentially be off-grid.
The Gigafactory’s forward-thinking design will make it a net-zero facility, which Tesla Chief Technical Officer JB Straube expanded upon in a recent talk.
The other interesting thing is we wanted to manage the emissions from the Gigafactory. Solar power can do some of that, but we took kind of a radical move in the beginning and said we are not going to burn any fossil fuels in the factory. You know, zero emissions. We are going to build a zero-emissions factory — just like the car. So, instead of kind of fighting this battle in hindsight, we just said we are not even going to have a natural gas pipeline coming to the factory, so we didn’t even build it. And it kind of forced the issue. When you don’t have natural gas, you know, none of the engineers can say, “Oh, but it will be more efficient, let me use just a little bit.” Sorry, we don’t even have it.
So it’s kind of been a fun activity and just, a lot of challenges that come up. But in every single step of the process, we have been able to reinvent and come up with solutions. There’s a heat pump technology that actually ends up way more efficient than just burning natural gas for steam. And then, we have a facility that has basically no emissions. The only emissions are related to the vehicles that might go there that aren’t electric or things like that. But we’ll try to attack that one piece at a time.
Elon Musk and his team at Tesla Motors are proving that success can be achieved through responsible means. The transition to renewable energy is inevitable, and they realize that the sooner it happens, the more we can avoid damage to environmental and human health.
The Free Thought Project reported in November that within 25 years, humanity will undergo its greatest energy shift since the industrial revolution. This is being achieved through market forces, and Tesla Motors is helping to drive that market. In turn, they will justifiably profit from being on the forefront.
Justin Gardner writes for TheFreeThoughtProject.com