Tesla Flips Switch on Gigafactory to Accelerate World’s Transition to Renewable Energy


Elon Musk‘s Master Plan to accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy is becoming reality. Tesla and Panasonic have officially kicked off the mass production of lithium-ion battery cells at the massive Gigafactory outside Sparks, Nevada.

“Tesla’s mission is to accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy through increasingly affordable electric vehicles in addition to renewable energy generation and storage,” the company announced in a blog post on Wednesday. “At the heart of these products are batteries.”

Tesla’s highly vaunted Gigafactory is currently being built in phases so that the company and its partners can manufacture products while the building continues to expand. Construction is expected for completion by 2018, at which point the Gigafactory stands to claim the title of world’s largest building by footprint.

According to Electrek, “Tesla aims for the Gigafactory to become the biggest building in the world by footprint at 5.8 million square feet and second largest building in the world by total square footage of over 13 million.”

Tesla touts that its current structure already has a footprint of 1.9 million square feet, which houses 4.9 million square feet of operational space across several floors.

“And we are still less than 30 percent done,” the firm adds.

Not only that, as EcoWatch reported in July, the enormous building will be powered 100 percent by renewables such as solar, wind and geothermal, and will feature energy-storage technology. The company also plans for the building to achieve net zero energy.

Once it reaches full capacity, the Gigafactory will produce 35 GWh/year of lithium-ion battery cells annually, which is “nearly as much as the rest of the entire world’s battery production combined.”

Tesla built the Gigafactory in order to fast-track a cleaner, more sustainable future.

“With the Gigafactory online and ramping up production, our cost of battery cells will significantly decline due to increasing automation and process design to enhance yield, lowered capital investment per Wh of production, the simple optimization of locating most manufacturing processes under one roof, and economies of scale,” the company explained in the blog post.

“By bringing down the cost of batteries, we can make our products available to more and more people, allowing us to make the biggest possible impact on transitioning the world to sustainable energy.”

Tesla said that bringing cell production to the U.S. will create thousands of American jobs.

“In 2017 alone, Tesla and Panasonic will hire several thousand local employees and at peak production, the Gigafactory will directly employ 6,500 people and indirectly create between 20,000 to 30,000 additional jobs in the surrounding regions,” the company said.

But how does Tesla’s vision of a sustainable energy future fit in with Donald Trump’s incoming presidency? We all know that Trump’s forthcoming administration is one that’s filled with climate change deniers and fossil fuel executives.

And according to a new Bloomberg report, a small group of renewable energy/Tesla critics called the Institute for Energy Research and its advocacy arm—the American Energy Alliance—have formed to oppose “almost any government aid for renewable energy.”

The fossil fuel industry-funded group has reportedly been an influential force in shaping the president-elect’s highly publicized plans to undo President Obama’s signature environmental initiatives.

The alliance has posted an online blueprint that urges Trump to expand drilling and rescind “job-killing” regulations by axing federal fuel economy standards and Obama’s Clean Power Plan.

Even though Musk once said that Donald Trump “doesn’t seem to have the sort of character that reflects well on the United States,” last month, the Tesla/SpaceX CEO joined the president-elect’s Strategic and Policy Forum, an advisory board for the president on business issues.

The Tesla boss is very outspoken on climate change issues and has built a renewable energy enterprise.

“Our goal here is to fundamentally change the way the world uses energy,” Musk told Bloomberg in 2015. “We’re talking at the terawatt scale. The goal is complete transformation of the entire energy infrastructure of the world.”

In his appearance in Leonardo DiCaprio’s climate change documentary Before the Flood, Musk said that it would only take 100 Gigafactories to transition the world to sustainable energy. That is, if “governments can set the rules in favor of sustainable energy” by putting a tax on carbon.

Perhaps Musk can convince Trump that clean energy investments are not just good business sense, it’s also good sense for the future of our planet.

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