Elon Musk has come out as a supporter for Ukraine. He is offering Ukraine Starlink terminals, free Tesla supercharging, and solar and battery equipment. This is all remarkable for the world’s richest person to publicly offer his help. Along the way, he’s offered some insight that the world needs to continue non-renewable, fossil fuel usage as renewables ramp up speed.
The US and UK have made moves to ban Russian oil and gas for Putin’s Folly in Ukraine by the end of this year. The EU is looking to reduce Russian natural gas by 2/3 in 2022 as economic punishment. Yet, it is Russian oil that is the major economic powerhouse for the Kremlin. Shutting off this spigot will set back Putin’s monetary resources for maintaining the Ukraine war.
The world has four ways it can proceed.
- Option 1: Status quo. In this time of need and high prices, renewable energy takes a back seat. We focus on more oil, coal, and natural gas to power the world. We continue to support Putin and other dictators, allowing them to use energy as a weapon to fund their aggressive behavior.
- Option 2: Go heavily into renewable energy, cut off non-renewable energy quickly. This may leave susceptible nations exposed to an energy price shock along with inadequate supplies. This is the course many nations have taken. It is no longer feasible in a world moving away from globalization.
- Option 3: Don’t actively do anything and pray for the best. Leaving fate to decide an important issue is not responsible or smart.
- Option 4: Actively pursue better insulation and renewable energy, produce more non-renewable energy in the short term, including nuclear, and safely fail over to full renewable energy once enough redundancy has been built.
Option 4 seems like the best option. It requires hard work, coordination, unity, action and thought to pursue. Many will convince you that option 1 and option 3 are the best choice. As a civilization, we need to investigate who benefits from pumping more non-renewable energy. The price of these commodities is set globally, making energy independence impossible for a country. The energy must be produced and consumed locally for energy independence to be a reality.
Renewable energy is local. It is decentralized. It is economical. It is renewed daily by the sun shining, wind blowing, or water flowing. Therefore, it is sustainable. It may be our best chance to stop aggression, deny funding for poor state actors, and secure a durable peace. It has the extra benefit of addressing climate change and reducing energy prices. We can debate how long we keep non-renewable energy as we transition. What we cannot debate is urgent action is needed.
Extraordinary times demand extraordinary measures.Elon Musk on Twitter
With love, peace, and hope,