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Why Morgan Stanley Is Betting That Tesla Will Kill Your Power Company

timothy posted about 4 months ago | from the pure-greedy-capitalism dept.

Businesses 502

Jason Koebler (3528235) writes One major investment giant has now released three separate reports arguing that Tesla Motors is going to help kill power companies off altogether. Earlier this year, Morgan Stanley stirred up controversy when it released a report that suggested that the increasing viability of consumer solar, paired with better battery technology—that allows people to generate, and store, their own electricity—could send the decades-old utility industry into a death spiral. Then, the firm released another one. Now, it's tripling down on the idea with yet another report that spells out how Tesla and home solar will "disrupt" utilities.

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This explains why republicans push coal (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47610111)

Gotta keep killing Americans any way you can, and right now coal is king of the American - killers.

Republicans are basically all anti-american traitors, who either by denying health care or encouraging poisoning by pollution only seek to kill or harm the maximum number of Americans.

Well, Tesla is coming, and your days are numbered - traitors.

This explains why republicans push coal (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47610147)

decent troll, i'd give it a 6/10

Re:This explains why republicans push coal (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47610205)

Troll, perhaps.

But just sit back and watch every Republican scream and throw fits and equate solar energy with communisim/islam/$conservative_groupthink_villan_of_the_week

You'll never lose if you always bet on the R's acting like cartoonish villains.

Re:This explains why republicans push coal (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47610269)

But just sit back and watch every Republican scream and throw fits and equate solar energy with communisim/islam/$conservative_groupthink_villan_of_the_week

It's easy to sit back and watch things that happen entirely in your imagination.

Re:This explains why republicans push coal (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47610289)

Troll, perhaps.

But just sit back and watch every Republican scream and throw fits and equate solar energy with communisim/islam/$conservative_groupthink_villan_of_the_week

You'll never lose if you always bet on the R's acting like cartoonish villains.

Though solar does suck and is unworkable on a grand scale.

Re:This explains why republicans push coal (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47610325)

Troll, perhaps.

But just sit back and watch every Republican scream and throw fits and equate solar energy with communisim/islam/$conservative_groupthink_villan_of_the_week

You'll never lose if you always bet on the R's acting like cartoonish villains.

Naw, not worth the time...

Re:This explains why republicans push coal (1)

mi (197448) | about 4 months ago | (#47610249)

Well, Tesla is coming, and your days are numbered - traitors.

What about those, who repent — and denounce their (ex-)fellow RethugliKKKunts to the local people's commissars [thepeoplescube.com] ?

Are their days just as numbered, or will they be allowed to survive on rations of beets, potatoes, and vodka?

A Republican clearing up your misconceptions. (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47610281)

Hello Friend,

I'm a Republican, and I'd like to help clear up some of your misconceptions about Republicans.

First of all, killing Americans is not our goal, and never has been. We love America. We love Americans. We love eagles, the most American of all of the birds.

And when I have to make a tough decision, I ask myself one question: What would Jesus do? The answer to that question is always the right answer.

When it comes to energy, I know that Jesus did not use solar panels, he did not use hydroelectric dams, and he did not use wind turbines. Jesus used coal, oil and wood as his primary sources of energy. When he needed to cook, he burned wood. When he needed light, he burned oil in a lamp. When he needed to warm his tent, he burned coal. If those energy sources were good enough for Jesus, then they are good enough for me.

When it comes to health care, I know that Jesus did not go to publically-funded hospitals! When he needed treatment, he acted like a responsible individual and treated himself, even after he had died. When others needed treatment, he acted like a responsible individual and healed them, and even gave them fish. That's why I think that prayer is the only method of medication one needs. If Jesus wants you to heal, he will heal you. If Jesus wants you to be with him, you will join him.

As you can see, we Republicans aren't the mean people that you have portrayed us as. We are loving people. We love America, and we love Jesus. We put the two of them together to form the ultimate kind of love: Republican Love.

Yours Truly,
Richard

Re:A Republican clearing up your misconceptions. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47610363)

I honestly can't tell whether or not this is satire.

Re: A Republican clearing up your misconceptions. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47610407)

It's satire.

Re:A Republican clearing up your misconceptions. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47610437)

3/10. You dropped the reaction line just a third of the way into that. The jesus shit shouldn't have come until the last third and before that it should have all been passive lead up using anything right-to-center and secular. Then jesus shit in the form of "but above all, I ask myself one questions ..."

We ACs need to bring the troll back under control. The quality needs to come up. Too many trolls have degraded into thoughtless "nigger" posts. We can breath life back into slashdot if we work together.

Re:This explains why republicans push coal (2)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | about 4 months ago | (#47610393)

I think you're being too kind.

Adapt or Die.

Looks like Morgan Stanley and Tesla are adapting.

Looks like deadenders aren't.

Re:This explains why republicans push coal (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47610567)

Not trolling. But I don't have a horse in that race. This is an American problem, let them clean their house.

Now, back on-topic, it's not Tesla. Don't be misguided. There's free energy falling right now on my roof, why wouldn't I use it? (well, technically, not right now, since it's night here).

The Chinese will do it with cheap solar panels. Don't wanna use them in the USA (by voting for protective import taxes)? Fine, I'll use over here. Our energy will become cheaper and blow your coal out of the water.

Wanna keep using coal? Be my guest to pay more for it.

Good, I say (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47610131)

Anything that reduces the average home owner's reliance on the grid is good in my book...especially as the infrastructure is so dated and fragile.

Re:Good, I say (1)

greenwow (3635575) | about 4 months ago | (#47610337)

> reduces the average home owner's reliance on the grid is good in my book

Wat

The old white men that rule this country want Teslas because they destroy the electric grid by massively increasing the amount of power their kind pulls from it. Republicans support this because it increases the load. Their kind knows Congress will order minorities cities to be unplugged so their kind can keep power. That is what this is about. Ellie Musk wants to destroy our power grid.

Re:Good, I say (4, Insightful)

bobbied (2522392) | about 4 months ago | (#47610373)

Anything that reduces the average home owner's reliance on the grid is good in my book...especially as the infrastructure is so dated and fragile.

Dated and fragile? Where on earth do you get that impression?

The technology of power transmission hasn't fundamentally changed in 100 years. Yea, there is some OLD equipment out there, but it is not like running electricity though wires somehow wears them out, so why would you replace it if it's still working just fine? The same for transformers, if they have enough capacity and are not leaking or arcing over someplace, why replace it? It's not like there is anything better, more reliable or more efficient out there.

The power grid is only fragile at times because we do not keep enough excess capacity in the system for efficiency reasons. But even then, Major blackouts are extremely RARE events and usually are caused by multiple faults and human error. The grid is actually a very tough system, designed to keep operating in the face of lots of unforeseen faults and failures. It routinely takes lighting strikes, component failures, human error and sabotage attempts in stride while it delivers huge amounts of power to almost every location you will find yourself.

What has changed in power distribution of late is the control systems and the efficiency of the power plants, but you are talking about the "grid" which implies the distribution system. Most of these control systems are for efficiency, monitoring and metering and don't really matter to the operation of the actual distribution system, which in most cases would be just fine without the control system watching.

Re:Good, I say (1)

dbIII (701233) | about 4 months ago | (#47610477)

The technology of power transmission hasn't fundamentally changed in 100 years

HVDC is the biggest and most fundamental change but it's still rare. However substations are also full of plenty of things granddad would not recognise.

Re:Good, I say (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 4 months ago | (#47610483)

gosh where indeed. oh right, a power issue in Canada takes out electricity for millions of people not even in the country. It was due to 1(one) fault.
SCADA infrastructure is woefully out dated.

"The technology of power transmission hasn't fundamentally changed in 100 years. "
um, yes it has. sure you see wires and thing its the same, but the tech to make the wires, to step up and down the power has vastly improved. This is why we have so little power loss compared to even 50 years ago.

"so why would you replace it if it's still working just fine?"
it's not.

Re:Good, I say (1)

sillybilly (668960) | about 4 months ago | (#47610383)

I still get a dam good price on my electric cooking from a private electric company, under $20/mo, mostly due to having a local public utility company to compete with, even if I'm not the public utility company's customer. From what I hear that's not the case in places like Carolina's, where monopolies run rampant and charge anything they feel like,. To them Tesla is a blessing, but I don't really give a crap right now. I do know however that almost any kind of energy independence starts through electric, as renewable energies like wind and solar are electric. Only biofuels are not electric, but the photosynthesis efficiency is like 0.25 compared to 15% for a silicon crystal solar panel, so you're talking a 60x difference in energy capturing area, and that's why they are not worried about natural gas prices, or wood pellets, but they are holding the line low on the electric front, at least in my area. Who likes to be shafted on the price by monopolies, throw yo hands in da aya, and say I!

Re:Good, I say (1)

sillybilly (668960) | about 4 months ago | (#47610497)

I used to eat a noncooked diet, but I find that cooking rice/potatoes/eggs, plus raw veggies + electric is a cheaper and tastier way to go than the allergy prone bread(wheat,gluten)/mayo(soybeans)/cheese(nonlactose but very expensive protein)/milk(lactose protein)/veggies diet. Out of the above the 20lb bag of rice from the Asia Supermarket nearby by far outdoes everything else on food vs. price, and ease of storage. Which must be why half the world's population lives on rice, not bread. , Only ease of consumption is more difficult for rice than the other, but not worse than wheat that has to be turned into bread, or potatoes that also have to be cooked forever - both my hotplate and microwave must be near 1500-2000W, and potatoes take 15-20 minutes to bake in the microwave, whether you bake 1 or 6 at the same time, while I can fry rice in less time on the hotplate, and drain the oil save it for next time, as that's the really expensive part. Then dump water on top of it, bring it back to a boil, once it bubbles, pull the plug and walk away. 15 minutes later it swelled up and ready. As a vegetarian, I really can't live without eggs, for protein. Rice, potatoes and bread just does not have enough protein for omnivores like humans, cheese does, but that's even more expensive than meat, compared to eggs being really cheap. I'm a vegetarian mostly for cost reasons, if they sold meat at 5 cents a lb and eggs over $1/dozen, I'd definitely be eating meat, as long as it's kosherly killed, and learn to deal with any repulsion I'd have against it, in the name of good economy.

Small-scale, real-time. (4, Interesting)

SeaFox (739806) | about 4 months ago | (#47610143)

I'd believe in small-scale power systems in basements that run off natural gas, or all-in-one nuclear reactors being more likely to disrupt the power industry/grid complex than solar and stored charge. Wind power still has a chance in rural areas were people have larger backyards, though.

Re:Small-scale, real-time. (1)

Gareth Iwan Fairclough (2831535) | about 4 months ago | (#47610303)

I'd believe in small-scale power systems in basements that run off natural gas, or all-in-one nuclear reactors being more likely to disrupt the power industry/grid complex than solar and stored charge. Wind power still has a chance in rural areas were people have larger backyards, though.

Why is this marked troll? If you disagree with an opinion don't just mark it troll, argue the case! I must disagree about the wind power though. I don't think it will work.

Re:Small-scale, real-time. (0, Flamebait)

fahrbot-bot (874524) | about 4 months ago | (#47610549)

I'd believe in small-scale power systems in basements that run off natural gas, or all-in-one nuclear reactors being more likely to disrupt the power industry/grid complex than solar and stored charge. Wind power still has a chance in rural areas were people have larger backyards, though.

Why is this marked troll? If you disagree with an opinion don't just mark it troll, argue the case! I must disagree about the wind power though. I don't think it will work.

My belief is that, generally, things like this are marked "troll" because the moderator(s) who marked it such is/are stupid or careless. (Either this should not be a surprise or welcome to /.) There are times when it's misused to slam something disagreeable to the moderator (usually a political comment, sometimes a spot-on political comment), but in this particular case, you are correct, there was absolutely nothing trollish about the parent remark. Just my $.02, which will probably get marked "troll". :-)

Re:Small-scale, real-time. (-1, Troll)

mrbcs (737902) | about 4 months ago | (#47610575)

Wind is not a viable option.

It's not green by any stretch of the imagination. It's not valueable. When it's very hot, no wind, when it's very cold, no wind. So basically useless when you need it the most.

I was an operator at the largest windmill company in Canada. There's lots of lying going around. It doesn't make any money, it destroys the health of the operators and technicians. I'm not even mentioning that the company has to pay another company to remove the dead bats at one farm. Truckloads every year.

Wind energy is the biggest bullshit story ever pulled on the public.

Most rural municipalities also have bylaws that prevent the deployment of turbines.

There was one setup here. The guys had a small turbine and a basement full of batteries. Always down for repairs. Finally broke down and had power poles run to his house so he could go on the grid. Wasted thousands of dollars.

Apparently... (5, Funny)

Type44Q (1233630) | about 4 months ago | (#47610153)

Apparently the over-priveledged and intellectually under-equipped "analysts" at Morgan Stanley are trying to give Gartner Group a run for their money... :p

Re:Apparently... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47610201)

Apparently the over-priveledged and intellectually under-equipped "analysts" at Morgan Stanley are trying to give Gartner Group a run for their money... :p

Nah, they probably just shorted some utility stocks.

Re:Apparently... (1)

bobbied (2522392) | about 4 months ago | (#47610401)

I think they just purchased some call options in Tesla and they are not in the money.

$107.3 Billion (3, Interesting)

rmdingler (1955220) | about 4 months ago | (#47610241)

...that's what Morgan Stanley got vis-a-vis bailout money when the US housing bubble burst.

They topped even Citicorp ($99.5 Billion) for the dubious distinction of top dog in the bonus round at the Bailout Games.

They're crooks of the highest order, and anything they ever utter again will fall upon jaded ears.

$107.3 Billion (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47610555)

Did they repay it with interest or not? Public good.

Re:Apparently... (2)

mrchaotica (681592) | about 4 months ago | (#47610277)

Indeed. I might have been inclined to believe it... until Morgan Stanley said it!

Re:Apparently... (5, Funny)

matbury (3458347) | about 4 months ago | (#47610545)

Morgan Stanley are a highly reputable financial institution and everything they do is completely legal and above board. It would be simply ridiculous to suggest that they would mislead their investors in order to make a quick buck themselves. Their CEO, James P. Gorman, is a truly dedicated and patriotic Amernican to the core (rumours of his Australianness have been greatly exaggerated). He pays all his taxes and declares all his income to the IRS and has never even been tempted to hide his money in off-shore banks and tax havens, and has never used his personal wealth or his bank's wealth to undermine democracy in state and national elections or through lobbying. He's a man who knows exactly what is going on in his bank and knows that everything is ethical and reputable and in the best interests of his investors and the American people.

Until we learn how to use less ... (1)

Taco Cowboy (5327) | about 4 months ago | (#47610177)

We human have become to dependent on gadgets - it is not that using gadgets is bad, but our over-reliance on the use of gadgets on our daily lives mean we are wasting unnecessary power and those wasted power adds up

Until we can live with using much less than we do now, I do not think the power that we can generate using solar / wind / or whatever green-tech can come up with will give us enough juice to power up all those gadgets that we use

In other words, Morgan Stanley's report are mere fearmongering --- perhaps they do it with an agenda of their own, perhaps they want to short sell the utility stocks and make a killing that way, I dunno

Re:Until we learn how to use less ... (0)

geekoid (135745) | about 4 months ago | (#47610217)

We could power all our electricity needs, 24/7 with solar. It would probably take about 10 years and 30 billion dollars.

Re:Until we learn how to use less ... (1)

cirby (2599) | about 4 months ago | (#47610327)

Thirty billion dollars?

You're off by a couple of orders of magnitude, at least.

The cost to put solar panels on the roofs of just the houses in California - with "full capacity" standard-issue PV systems (at about $20,000 a pop), on 15,000,000 homes - is about $300 billion. And that doesn't include storage - it's for grid-tied systems.

Re:Until we learn how to use less ... (1)

praxis (19962) | about 4 months ago | (#47610379)

Thirty billion dollars?

You're off by a couple of orders of magnitude, at least.

The cost to put solar panels on the roofs of just the houses in California - with "full capacity" standard-issue PV systems (at about $20,000 a pop), on 15,000,000 homes - is about $300 billion. And that doesn't include storage - it's for grid-tied systems.

While geekoid's estimate is likely off, your estimate using current prices is also probably off. If we decided to put more effort into research, development and manufacture on larger scales those numbers would change.

Re:Until we learn how to use less ... (2)

jxander (2605655) | about 4 months ago | (#47610649)

Economies of scale would probably drop that significantly.

But even if the $300 B price tag is accurate, you could cover 1/3 of California using the bailout that Morgan Stanley received.

Re:Until we learn how to use less ... (1)

mark-t (151149) | about 4 months ago | (#47610377)

Just a quick look at the average energy density of solar energy that reaches the planet's surface, and how that density varies significantly with lattitude, coupled with the fact that you always want to actually generate the power somewhere that's relatively near to where the power actually gets used so you don't waste too much power transmitting it from remote locations, you'd discover that even 100% efficient solar panels wouldn't cut it for a whole lot of people who happen to reside further north or south than about 45 degrees from the equator.

Re:Until we learn how to use less ... (1)

The Grim Reefer (1162755) | about 4 months ago | (#47610457)

We could power all our electricity needs, 24/7 with solar. It would probably take about 10 years and 30 billion dollars.

Do you happen to feel like Dr. Evil demanding "one-million-dollars"? I'm guessing you meant 30 trillion dollars.

The largest solar plant Ivanpah [cleveland.com] cost $2.2 billion and can generate close to 400 megawatts. I don't think 13 or 14 of those is going to cut it.

$30 billion would probably be enough to build 7 nuclear plants. Assuming the cost would be similar to the cost of the Watts Bar 2 reactor [tva.com] Considering Watts Bar 2 will produce close to 3 times what Ivanpah can, it's going to be a little more than a couple billion.

Re:Until we learn how to use less ... (1)

currently_awake (1248758) | about 4 months ago | (#47610643)

Most people are not able to spend $20,000 to put solar/wind power on their house, and most apartment dwellers don't have that choice. Also most people would get a better return on investment by paying down their mortgage than installing solar or wind.

Re: Until we learn how to use less ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47610345)

Gadgets are not really the problem... A TV or blender uses hardly anything compared to domestic hot water and heating (both of which are even more efficient uses of solar)

har har. (1)

rogoshen1 (2922505) | about 4 months ago | (#47610185)

Translation: "A few of our VP's are long on Tesla stock, so please buy it. We double pinky swear it'll go up, trust us, we're Morgan Stanley".

Load of Horse Shit (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47610187)

That's a load of horse shit. Solar energy can't provide the demands of the average household let alone factories etc who use even more power. Good luck trying to run a washing machine, fridge, dishwasher or drier on solar. The technology is getting cheaper but it's still anywhere near not good enough to support large loads and wont be any time in the near future. The batteries are also very expensive. TFA is a load of ballocks.

Re:Load of Horse Shit (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47610235)

Batteries...

Did you know Tesla will be making these? You could easily plug your washer into the car for the necessary short burst of juice, and then let the car charge back up from the sun.

Re:Load of Horse Shit (1)

LynnwoodRooster (966895) | about 4 months ago | (#47610503)

You could easily plug your washer into the car for the necessary short burst of juice, and then let the car charge back up from the sun.

But how do I get my car down my stairs? The stairwell to the basement is too small...

Re:Load of Horse Shit (1)

rogoshen1 (2922505) | about 4 months ago | (#47610263)

I could see something like this working in a place like phoenix AZ. abundant sunlight, *tons* of single family homes. more sunlight than you could ever want to shake a stick at (it would catch fire from the heat).. did i mention it's really sunny? But I'd think the PV cells would need to be a bit more efficient, and the batteries as well.

But, it would probably be feasible *now* if not for running AC during the day. Letting the system charge during the workday. (Yes, you'd want to run your AC from about 5pm until 5am)

But shoehorning sustainability/environmentally friendly living into "oh it would work in a huge metropolitan area in the middle of a fricking desert is completely missing the point of the exercise.

Re:Load of Horse Shit (1)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | about 4 months ago | (#47610427)

Most people in Seattle don't run AC. In fact, most cars here rarely turn on their air conditioning.

Not everyone lives in the South.

Re:Load of Horse Shit (1)

angel'o'sphere (80593) | about 4 months ago | (#47610511)

Batteries are already very efficient.
Perhaps you mean their limited lifetime/charging cycles, or limited capacity in relation to size and weight?

Re: Load of Horse Shit (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47610265)

And yet there are large solar power plants producing electricity right now that power tens of thousands of homes. Take a look at Germany for an example. It's only going to get better.

Re: Load of Horse Shit (2)

Your.Master (1088569) | about 4 months ago | (#47610311)

The argument here is not about large solar power plants, it's about small-scale decentralized power generation.

Re:Load of Horse Shit (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47610271)

I already do. I produce enough power to feed back to the grid. My NET power production exceeds my use by 2.

Re:Load of Horse Shit (2)

Proudrooster (580120) | about 4 months ago | (#47610349)

Yes it can, as long as battery technology improves. Did you happen to see the article on the new Panasonic/Tesla GigaFactory for batteries? Really the only thing holding us back is batteries. As long as the sun keeps on shining, we have a near infinite amount of FREE energy.

Re:Load of Horse Shit (2)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | about 4 months ago | (#47610419)

Solar energy can't provide the demands of the average household let alone factories etc who use even more power. Good luck trying to run a washing machine, fridge, dishwasher or drier on solar.

Strange. My dad and his wife do perfectly fine in their three story house in Vermont running on solar.

Maybe you're stuck in the 70s?

Good (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 4 months ago | (#47610207)

Home generation through solar is good for everyone.

Re:Good (1)

rolfwind (528248) | about 4 months ago | (#47610465)

Yeah, but we still have the battery problem. And the huge upfront investment.

No one in cities has the space to dedicate for solar other than a rooftop supplemental.

Solar panels went down a lot in price and will continue to do so (still quite an expensive component though), but batteries haven't really quite kept up. Unless a new tech comes in as well like some sort of super capacitors (or ultra cheap sand battery tech), we also have the lifetime/limited cycles to consider along with capacity.

Am I going to be scared just to turn on my induction stove or A/C just because what wear and tear it will cause my system?

Re:Good (0)

bobbied (2522392) | about 4 months ago | (#47610507)

Home generation through solar is good for everyone.

Not true. The sad fact here is that Photovoltaic power generation is not yet cost effective and only recently went "Power positive" (where over their useful life a cell can generate more power than it took to make it in the first place.) Then, when you start load shifting using batteries to store and release power for later, things get even worse. It's way too expensive for what you get.

The biggest problem here is that it doesn't make financial sense to go with photovoltaic. They still cost more per kilowatt hour than buying power from the power company. Why? Basically it is Fracking. Natural Gas is CHEAP and shows no sign of getting more expensive anytime soon. This is keeping the cost of electric power very low.

Unless of course you are one of those, carbon emissions are really bad and should be avoided at any cost folks who are all upset about global warming/climate change/climate disruption or what ever it's called today. In that case, there is nothing I can say that will make any difference to you..

..so.. (1)

_hAZE_ (20054) | about 4 months ago | (#47610213)

.. how is this a bad thing?

Macroeconomic investment theses are always wrong (4, Insightful)

JoeyRox (2711699) | about 4 months ago | (#47610215)

Generally such theses are well founded in reason and logic but it's very difficult to make money from them, in this case by shorting the power companies, because not only does the basic premise need to be correct but so does the secondary and tertiary effects of that premise. In other words, these theses have to get multiple predictions correct, some of which are nearly impossible to do so considering all the permutations of possible outcomes.

Re:Macroeconomic investment theses are always wron (2)

Rockoon (1252108) | about 4 months ago | (#47610389)

I think its more correct to say that its difficult to make money from them because the biggest portfolios are already on it. Macroeconomics is too simple. Before anyone retorts about banks needing bailouts... banks arent holding companies. Look at what Warren Buffet is doing (ignore what he is saying, although what he says often jives with what he does) ...

Berkshire Hathaway (Buffets holding company) current has over one billion invested in each of these companies respectively:

Wells Fargo, Coca-Cola, American Express, International Business Machines, Wal-Mart, Procter & Gamble, Exxon Mobil, U.S. Bancorp, DIRECTV, DaVita HealthCare, Moody's, Goldman Sachs, USG, and General Motors

They are ordered from highest ($23 billion) to lowest ($1 billion)

The only energy company, Exxon, is primarily oil and doesnt do much in the generation business. Most of his money is riding on banks right now, and most of those that arent banks are putting out healthy dividends.

Re:Macroeconomic investment theses are always wron (2)

gutnor (872759) | about 4 months ago | (#47610597)

More importantly - timing matters. Even if they are 100% correct, power companies will continue to make money for a decade. As for the "market disruptor", if you are just a few year wrong, you would have put your money in MySpace rather than Facebook. If you sold your investment in real estate in 2006 you hit gold, if you did it in 2004 or 2008, you lost.

In the words of Grumpy Cat....Good (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47610223)

Seriously, the grid's best use is sharing excess power with close-ish neighbors. Long distance power transfers are lossy.

Let the sun provide what power we need where we need it. Think about robust, from a civil defense POV, this is. No more crippling a country by knocking out one powerplant. You have to EMP/level the whole damn place.

Encourage people to dig wells and plant some veggies and we can undo some the last 50 years of over-centralization that has happened.

Re:In the words of Grumpy Cat....Good (1)

Proudrooster (580120) | about 4 months ago | (#47610365)

To reinforce your point, just ask the people in Toledo Ohio about a centralized water supply that is crippled due to an algae bloom in lake Erie.

Re:In the words of Grumpy Cat....Good (1)

frank_adrian314159 (469671) | about 4 months ago | (#47610403)

As opposed to individual contaminated ground water wells? Or a million homes' pipes somehow stuck out into the lake? WTF?

Or are you just bad at coming up with analogies? Because those are the water installations analogous to the situation described.

Re:In the words of Grumpy Cat....Good (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47610519)

Wells tap the water table. I'm not sure why the lake would be involved.

Wouldn't electric cars have the opposite effect? (2, Insightful)

mi (197448) | about 4 months ago | (#47610227)

The energy needed to power vehicles used to come from oil-derivatives (gasoline, diesel fuel). In a way, each car was its own little power plant.

With more and more cars becoming electric — for better or worse — the need for somebody to turn fuel into electricity will increase. That somebody can only be a power company, really... Solar panels remain joke — you need too many of them [howstuffworks.com] and making them is rather harmful to Earth [ehow.com] . And disposing is a problem too [theguardian.com] .

So, even if they lose some business to the consumers' ability to generate some share of their own electricity, they'll gain from our increasing total demand for electricity.

Re:Wouldn't electric cars have the opposite effect (4, Informative)

geekoid (135745) | about 4 months ago | (#47610297)

From your link:
Solar Energy Comparison with Fossil Fuels
By comparison, solar power is still the clear winner, according to ecology.com, in terms of being more environmentally friendly. When solar power generation is matched against fossil fuel-based energy production, solar is less damaging to the earth. Even the dangers that are presented by solar power are found as often, or more so, in the by-products of fossil fuels, and there is no escaping the fact that a solar panel can provide as much as 20 years of power generation for a single carbon investment of manufacturing the system, which cannot be duplicated by any other commonly used type of energy production, other than wind system

Read more : http://www.ehow.com/list_63278... [ehow.com]

Re:Wouldn't electric cars have the opposite effect (1, Interesting)

mi (197448) | about 4 months ago | (#47610543)

By comparison, solar power is still the clear winner, according to ecology.com

That sites like "ecology.com" declare solar to be a winner is not surprising. That they even ask a question, however, is a sign, that things aren't as obvious and clear-cut, as some would like the rest of us to believe.

Just twenty years ago we were lead to believe, growing more corn for conversion to ethanol would save the Earth and otherwise make the world a better place. That turned out to be a lie [ap.org] , but you wouldn't find a mention of it on ecology.com [google.com] . Or, maybe, you would nowadays [ecology.com] , but it is hardly trumpeted the way "progressive" politicians were praised for pushing ethanol and the "kkkonservative" ones — lambasted [democratic...ground.com] for opposing it.

Re:Wouldn't electric cars have the opposite effect (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47610315)

and oil with all it's means of extraction, explosions, fires, leaks and lets not forget wars has been just fantastic for not only the Earth but also its peoples. Riiiiiight.

Re:Wouldn't electric cars have the opposite effect (1)

theIsovist (1348209) | about 4 months ago | (#47610421)

You would think, but the big issue with renewable energy is that when the power is flowing, you have to use it. Storage is not increasing at the rate of improvements in tech. But that's changing. With better batteries, electric cars plugged into the grid can act as a large storage system. The batteries can be both filled and drained by the grid, meaning that energy can be stored and pulled from the network of cars that are sitting idle. This (potentially) fixes the storage issue of renewables, and allows for a decentralized grid, which is far more resilient to damage. So, as Morgan Stanley suggests, the age of the centralized power source may soon be over.

Re:Wouldn't electric cars have the opposite effect (1)

mi (197448) | about 4 months ago | (#47610605)

But that's changing. With better batteries, electric cars plugged into the grid can act as a large storage system.

We are a long way from when a portable battery can compete with a tank full of diesel fuel in power density. It is vaporware at best [cleantechnica.com] ...

The batteries can be both filled and drained by the grid, meaning that energy can be stored and pulled from the network of cars that are sitting idle

Sure. And the liquid fuel can be transfered from one gas-tank to another — and with less of it lost due to spillage.

So, as Morgan Stanley suggests, the age of the centralized power source may soon be over.

I wish it were true, but I doubt it — and suspect, MS is either engaging in wishful thinking or simply trolling the rest of us, while keeping their stocks of power-producers (and buying more).

Re:Wouldn't electric cars have the opposite effect (1)

angel'o'sphere (80593) | about 4 months ago | (#47610463)

Solar panel production can only have environmental disadvantages in third world countries without environmental regulations.
I doubt you live in such a country so stop spreading FUD.

Re:Wouldn't electric cars have the opposite effect (1)

mi (197448) | about 4 months ago | (#47610639)

Solar panel production can only have environmental disadvantages in third world countries without environmental regulations.

Perhaps. Would not that explain, why China's share of the panels produced in the world has been steadily climbing and reached 45% in 2010 [wikipedia.org] ? Making the devices in countries with effective regulations is cost-prohibitive.

Re:Wouldn't electric cars have the opposite effect (4, Informative)

complete loony (663508) | about 4 months ago | (#47610577)

In Australia ATM, a dodgy deal with the monopoly owners of the grid's "poles and wires" has enabled and encouraged a massive over investment. Causing prices to rise for just about everyone. At the same time, in response to recent economic woes, the government was offering large subsidies to residential investment in solar panels.

As I travel around our suburbs now, solar is everywhere. And there is actually talk about the grid going into a death spiral. Their customers are reacting to rising prices by installing more solar arrays, even though the government subsidies have ended. There's a good chance that some of the over investment in the grid will never be needed at all.

Sure, but... (1)

r_jensen11 (598210) | about 4 months ago | (#47610243)

In order for solar+battery tech to become a viable solution, there needs to be ways to move the electricity generated by the solar panels to batteries you want to use. I.e. co-locate the two (e.g. panels & cars at home; panels & cars at work) or network them together (e.g. panels at home, cars at work.) The first scenario isn't very likely considering the sun generally shines when people are at work and the concentration of vehicles at work will overshadow the electricity generated by panels at an office building. The second scenario begs the question "who maintains the grid." In the US, this is the power companies, who could presumably adjust their business models and charge network access fees instead of production fees.

Re:Sure, but... (1)

stabiesoft (733417) | about 4 months ago | (#47610369)

They effectively already do this in austin. The latest solar rate structure pays 10.5c/kwh but they charge 12.5c/kwh for users using over 1000kwh/mo. So even when I don't use the network I pay 2.5c/kwh for solar power I generate. Unfortunately they do not meter push/pull to/from network, they charge based on total solar generation and total usage. And of course they reserve the right to adjust how much they pay me at will. Last year solar power pay'ed 12.5c so it was a wash.

Re:Sure, but... (2)

geekoid (135745) | about 4 months ago | (#47610445)

Yes, then when you get home you charge it from the batteries that were charging while you were at work.
Also, there is vast unused solar space.

How many large parking lots could be covered but aren't? all of those could be generating electricity. It would even have the side benefit in that there will be less impact on micro-climate then asphalt.
The cover could be 30 feet high, so trucks wouldn't have a problem. And it would be better for shoppers during 'bad' weather.
The sides of the freeways could have linked solar panels AND act as a carrier for cross counter electricity.

The sad thing? the engineering isn't that difficult and is doable. Climate change deniers are spending money like mad, lying, and impacting us all.
I speak without hyperbole when I say, run away green house means the extinction of our civilization, and quite possible the human species.

Re:Sure, but... (1)

Rockoon (1252108) | about 4 months ago | (#47610505)

. I.e. co-locate the two (e.g. panels & cars at home; panels & cars at work) or network them together (e.g. panels at home, cars at work.)

Even assuming co-location is a viable thing (probably not yet) it will still be a very slow roll-out. Global panel manufacturing capacity absolutely could not support anything even close to resembling a fast roll-out, and you can forget about battery manufacturing which would be needed for both the electric vehicles and the homes that charge them. That gigafactory isnt even going to be operational until 2020 or later, and will only support at most the production of 500,000 electric vehicles per year.

Morgan Stanley has other motives. Unfortunately they are hard to figure out because it almost certainly has nothing to do with the actual operation of their business which is financial services. They dont invest in anything. They get other people to invest in things.

Money, Mouth (1)

LordLucless (582312) | about 4 months ago | (#47610279)

So an investment company has published reports.

Have they started pulling out of investments in power generation and transmission, then?

Re:Money, Mouth (1)

EmagGeek (574360) | about 4 months ago | (#47610293)

No, but they have likely taken up short positions and are now trying to drive the price down.

Re:Money, Mouth (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47610475)

> So an investment company has published reports.
>
> Have they started pulling out of investments in power generation and transmission, then?

Probably. But the point is that it would have been unthinkable for that crowd just 5 years ago. Whatever you think of wallstreet's ethics, the fact that they are betting against old-school power generation is a positive sign for those who want new-school power generation to become widespread.

Re:Money, Mouth (1)

LordLucless (582312) | about 4 months ago | (#47610653)

My point is exactly the opposite - are they betting against old school power? This article just says they're *talking* against old school power. I'd be seeing where they put their money before I believe what they say.

Sounds like a pollution nightmare (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47610285)

Have a search on Google about the environmental destruction the manufacturing of solar panels involves. You'll take the pollution of nuclear power plants over what solar panels use.

Re:Sounds like a pollution nightmare (1)

riverat1 (1048260) | about 4 months ago | (#47610495)

Sounds like you're just looking for an excuse to dis solar power.

insider trading (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47610291)

they know Musk, along with partner Panasonic, are close to building a working Arc Reactor.

Any reason not to... (1)

jpellino (202698) | about 4 months ago | (#47610309)

sign up with a solar lease for my house, flatten my mains bill for 20 years and THEN go buy a volt / leaf / pip / tesla? Or is this subject to the dreaded fine print?

Affordability (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47610313)

If more people could afford a Tesla, it would be disruptive. As it stands, it's about as disruptive as homeless people banding together to take down DeBeers.

Half of Americans rent (5, Insightful)

jgotts (2785) | about 4 months ago | (#47610323)

Half of Americans rent. People who rent can't do anything to their property. Apartment buildings are stuck with whatever they were built with 40 or 50 or more years ago. They're built using the cheapest technology available at construction time and they're never upgraded. When they get old enough they become the bad part of town or in some cases the outright ghetto until they collapse or are torn down. Some people rent houses, but there is no way your landlord going to put solar panels and a charging system in your rental unit, at least not this decade and not bloody likely the next.

When I read here on Slashdot about intelligent devices in homes, or this thing people have called garages, or home chargers for vehicles, or fiber to the home, it kind of makes me laugh because these aren't most people. These are the things that less than half of Americans even have a chance of using.

People who rent aren't necessarily poor. Many renters in New York City, Boston, and San Francisco would be informally considered rich in most of the United States.

The electric company will continue to serve at least 50% of Americans indefinitely.

Re:Half of Americans rent (1)

praxis (19962) | about 4 months ago | (#47610433)

People who rent can't do anything to their property. Apartment buildings are stuck with whatever they were built with 40 or 50 or more years ago. They're built using the cheapest technology available at construction time.

This is not universally true. The problem is apartment buildings owned by national corporations. A building owned by a reasonable land lord often do get upgrades or do make upgrades or modifications at the request of tenants.

Re:Half of Americans rent (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47610479)

People who rent can't do anything to their property.

And increasingly, thanks to HOAs, people who buy can't do anything to their property either.

I hope they're right. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47610339)

I honestly do, in spite of my beliefs that they are wrong.

All I ask is that they let it happen. Not, you know, write a report about what they fantasize will happen, and then try to influence companies and governments to make their fantasy a reality.

Here is WHY that won't happen anytime soon... (0)

MindPrison (864299) | about 4 months ago | (#47610355)

...it's because of the electric car.

We invented the electric car MANY years ago, way before batteries got anywhere useful. And we also made cars run on hydrogen, but the powers-that-be aka the oil industry didn't like that idea ONE bit.

This is no different, sure we can do so many things (and we pretend we can't, so the little milking cows that we have will go grazing on the grass we give them), except...they're not grazing, they're smoking it.

We can do this today, the technology is here, just look at super & ultra capacitors. We don't even NEED batteries. The sun has ALL the energy we'll ever need. They're even researching small powerful fusion generators that we can have in our back yards, afaik they even have made these, but do you see these selling yet? The only ones that surfaces...are those hoaxes you see on YouTube, those idiotic "free energy" things that pop up like dandelions in my yard all the time. But the real deal exist, whether it be solar or fusion. But the powers-that-be have a LOT more "power" than you and me.

YOU FAIL IT!? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47610357)

Nah... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47610361)

The power utility will just move to lobbying in order to prevent the sales of Solar Panels.

So let me get this straight.... (5, Insightful)

russotto (537200) | about 4 months ago | (#47610391)

A company making an electric car, which has the potential to roughly double residential electrical demand, is going to put the utilities out of business? Using two of the biggest vaporware technologies around -- practical residential solar and really good batteries? The only thing they left out is nuclear fusion.

Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt (1)

Ichijo (607641) | about 4 months ago | (#47610425)

"The more customers move to solar, the [more the] remaining utility customers' bills will rise, creating even further 'headroom' for Tesla's off-grid approach."

That's a good example of FUD, because if solar systems ever get cheap enough for large numbers of people to go off the grid, then as the remaining customers' bills rise, it will make more and more sense for them to go off the grid as well. "So it'll just work itself out naturally," to quote one of the Bobs.

Heads in the Sand (4, Interesting)

kf6auf (719514) | about 4 months ago | (#47610515)

The utilities are sticking their heads in the sand and trying to pretend that technology won't move forward. In some places they are trying to add an interconnect fee for those with solar panels that's as large as my electricity bill. They also are requiring solar panel inverters to stop working entirely when the grid goes down, instead of just providing power for the house and still leaving the grid upstream unenergized. All this, and the price of electricity keeps going up. And they expect people won't move forward with batteries as technology improves?

Disconnecting from the grid entirely is large investment: people need a large solar array, several days worth of batteries, and probably smart appliances (mainly air conditioners and refrigerators). Or the utilities can make money helping to create a lower-investment intermediate option: staying connected to the grid with a smaller solar array and half a day worth of batteries which both help the utility with load balancing and can keep the house powered when the grid goes down. If they do this right, they will be able to remotely control when the system is storing energy or sending it to the grid, which probably means it's in their best interest if they write the software and maybe even make and sell (and install?) the hardware.

Plus, they can provide monitoring services and, if they want to really diversify, insurance services or financing options. Otherwise, as more people abandon the grid, it will become more expensive per person to maintain it, creating a downward spiral of grid usage.

Industrial Production? (1)

jamesl (106902) | about 4 months ago | (#47610533)

And all those great new Tesla batteries will cut the cost of producing steel in electric arc and induction furnaces. And then there's converting bauxite into aluminum.

Cars will be (almost) free. Bridges will be cheap. There will be an airplane in every garage. I can't wait.

J. P. Morgan (1)

midifarm (666278) | about 4 months ago | (#47610591)

Trying to still keep Nikola Tesla down even from the grave!

Solar city model (4, Interesting)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | about 4 months ago | (#47610607)

One of the main stumbling blocks for residential solar is that a typical home owner is ill equipped to make the decision, (investment needed, financing, amortization schedules, expected future price of grid electricity, sizing etc) and find the contractor to execute it. Also resale, value of home etc etc come in. The solar city model is where they own the panels, they install it, you only pay metered electricity, you get to keep the grid for back up. In the end they pack it and take it away when you want to sell the home if the buyer is not interested in it. Suddenly the home owner can try solar for very low risk.

Even without subsidies, this model has reasonable pay back period in places like Arizona or Hawaii. Of course storage technology is very bad at residential levels. Solar thermal has better storage using molten salt. But not viable at homes. But home storage does not have the size, weight and crashworthiness requirements of auto batteries. The flywheel storage mechanical batteries might become viable. But almost all the proposed storage have issues.

shrug (1)

roc97007 (608802) | about 4 months ago | (#47610633)

shrug. I kinda doubt it, but if so, maybe utilities need to be disrupted.

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