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Elon Musk's Tesla Battery So Popular It Sold Out Through 2016

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Elon Musk's Tesla Battery So Popular It Sold Out Through 2016

Demand for Tesla Energy's revolutionary battery "has been crazy," according to the company's founder and CEO Elon Musk. Yesterday, in a second quarter earnings call, Musk revealed there have been more than 100,000 reservations (roughly worth $1 billion) of the rechargeable lithium-ion batteries, which have sold out through 2016.

While Tesla is mostly known for its auto industry-disrupting electric cars, the company isn't shy about wanting to wean the world off of fossil fuels through its suite of batteries as well. The Powerwall offers homes and small businesses the means to use and store energy generated from residential solar panels or when utility rates are low. The larger Powerpack (for large businesses and utilities) allows battery owners to store excess energy on site, or as Forbes contributor Jeff McMahon explained in a report, the "batteries allow utilities to store energy when demand is low and use it when demand is high, without turning on more power plants."

As Musk boasted during his call, "You can basically, in principle, shut down half of the world’s power plants if you had stationary storage."

With the battery, utilities no longer need to build power plants to meet peak demand, McMahon added.

“The fundamental economics of cost are always true, meaning there’s always a cost advantage of system-wide implementation of stationary storage because of high peak to trough of electricity usage,” Musk said.

The energy stored by Tesla's batteries doesn't necessarily have to come from renewables, Musk pointed out. "It seems like people link this too much to renewable energy,” he said. “Of course we are great believers in renewable energy, but that is not the gating function for stationary storage.”

Chief technical officer JB Straubel reported during the call that 70 percent of the battery reservations have been for the Powerpack and 30 percent for the Powerwall.

Musk also said his company plans to sell $40-$50 million in batteries in the fourth quarter and will ramp up battery production (undoubtedly at Tesla's massive Gigafactory in Nevada once it's complete) in the coming years to meet the predicted demand.

“It’s probably at least a few billion dollars in 2017,” Musk said.

Watch Musk's Powerwall keynote in the video below.

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A plume of smoke from wildfires burning in the Angeles National Forest is seen from downtown Los Angeles on Aug. 29, 2009 in Los Angeles, California. Kevork Djansezian / Getty Images

California is bracing for rare January wildfires this week amid damaging Santa Ana winds coupled with unusually hot and dry winter weather.

High winds, gusting up to 80- to 90 miles per hour in some parts of the state, are expected to last through Wednesday evening. Nearly the entire state has been in a drought for months, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor, which, alongside summerlike temperatures, has left vegetation dry and flammable.

Utilities Southern California Edison and PG&E, which serves the central and northern portions of the state, warned it may preemptively shut off power to hundreds of thousands of customers to reduce the risk of electrical fires sparked by trees and branches falling on live power lines. The rare January fire conditions come on the heels of the worst wildfire season ever recorded in California, as climate change exacerbates the factors causing fires to be more frequent and severe.

California is also experiencing the most severe surge of COVID-19 cases since the beginning of the pandemic, with hospitals and ICUs over capacity and a stay-at-home order in place. Wildfire smoke can increase the risk of adverse health effects due to COVID, and evacuations forcing people to crowd into shelters could further spread the virus.

As reported by AccuWeather:

In the atmosphere, air flows from high to low pressure. The setup into Wednesday is like having two giant atmospheric fans working as a team with one pulling and the other pushing the air in the same direction.
Normally, mountains to the north and east of Los Angeles would protect the downtown which sits in a basin. However, with the assistance of the offshore storm, there will be areas of gusty winds even in the L.A. Basin. The winds may get strong enough in parts of the basin to break tree limbs and lead to sporadic power outages and sparks that could ignite fires.
"Typically, Santa Ana winds stay out of downtown Los Angeles and the L.A. Basin, but this time, conditions may set up just right to bring 30- to 40-mph wind gusts even in those typically calm condition areas," said AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Mike Doll.

For a deeper dive:

AP, LA Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Washington Post, Weather Channel, AccuWeather, New York Times, Slideshow: New York Times; Climate Signals Background: Wildfires, 2020 Western wildfire season

For more climate change and clean energy news, you can follow Climate Nexus on Twitter and Facebook, sign up for daily Hot News, and visit their news site, Nexus Media News.

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