It should surprise no one that Elon Musk, the founder of Tesla, Inc., is passionate about renewable energy. His company helped lead the way for electric vehicles and solar panel manufacturing. In 2003, he created SolarCity, a solar energy services company, a subsidiary of Tesla, and in 2015, he established OpenAI, a nonprofit research company that promotes friendly artificial intelligence.
Despite his personal controversies, which are numerous, he is still committed to leaving a greener Earth for future generations. Recently, Musk tweeted, “We know we’ll run out of dead dinosaurs to mine for fuel and have to use sustainable energy eventually, so why not go renewable now and avoid increasing risk of climate catastrophe? Betting that science is wrong and oil companies are right is the dumbest experiment in history by far.”
Though Musk’s objectives sometimes seem far-fetched, such as his aim to establish a human colony on Mars, his ultimate goal is to reduce global warming through the production and consumption of sustainable energy.
The South-African entrepreneur has also been generous with his technology. He supported manufacturing a $30,000 compact Tesla model and producing electric vehicle powertrain components so other automobile manufacturers could produce electric vehicles at affordable prices without developing their own technology in-house. In an interview with All Things Digital, Musk said Tesla would extend its network of supercharger stations to expand the viability of electric cars. Since 2014, Musk's annual salary is only one dollar. He receives the rest of his compensation in stocks and performance-based bonuses.
Also in 2014, Musk announced that Tesla would consent to share its technology patents with manufacturers to foster the expansion of electric cars. "The unfortunate reality is electric car programs (or programs for any vehicle that doesn't burn hydrocarbons) at the major manufacturers are small to non-existent, constituting an average of far less than 1% of their total vehicle sales," Musk said at the time.
Last year, Musk announced that a 129-megawatt per hour battery, the world’s largest, would store and transmit energy produced by a wind farm in Australia, which would provide consistent electricity supply for 3,000 homes, according to the Wall Street Journal.
After creating the battery, Musk tweeted that if the company failed, he would give Australia the battery free of charge. The initiative is part of a $390 million government energy plan. “South Australia is now leading the world in dispatchable renewable energy, delivered to homes and businesses 24/7,” South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill said. “This is history in the making.”
Australia had been dealing with recurrent blackouts that wreaked havoc in South Australia. The country had also been facing an energy crisis with the closure of a 1,600-megawatt coal plant, which had put pressure on the gas industry, which was dealing with skyrocketing prices and gas shortages.
Following his success down under, Musk aided Puerto Rico, which was facing an energy shortage after Hurricane Maria. His company helped power a children’s hospital in Guaynabo with solar panels and batteries.