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EXCLUSIVE: GOP Rep Asks Elon Musk For Help Running Power Grid As Americans Buy More Electric Cars

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Gabe Kaminsky Investigative Reporter
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  • GOP Texas Rep. Troy Nehls wants Elon Musk’s help to stabilize his state’s energy grid, according to a letter to the Tesla CEO obtained by The Daily Caller News Foundation.
  • Nehls wrote to Musk asking the billionaire for a sit down meeting to discuss private sector and government collaboration to address “the potential inefficiencies” of the Texas power grid as Americans buy more electric vehicles (EVs). 
  • “As we continue to work towards solutions to guarantee our power grids can meet the Nation’s increased electric demands, I believe with your help we can cultivate an effective relationship between private business and government to ensure the long-term stability of our electric grid,” Nehls wrote in his letter. “I would appreciate hearing from you on what Tesla Inc. is already doing, and plans to do in the future, to help stabilize the U.S. energy grid as electricity consumption is expected to increase as yours and other EVs become more popular.”

Republican Texas Rep. Troy Nehls is asking Elon Musk for help in stabilizing the nation’s energy grids, according to his letter to the Tesla CEO obtained by The Daily Caller News Foundation.

Nehls wrote to Musk Tuesday asking the billionaire for a sit down meeting to discuss private sector and government collaboration to address “the potential inefficiencies” of the Texas power grid as Americans buy more electric vehicles (EVs). Tesla is headquartered in Austin, Texas, and Musk has a major stake in ensuring “the long-term stability” of the state’s electric grid, says Nehls.

“As we continue to work towards solutions to guarantee our power grids can meet the Nation’s increased electric demands, I believe with your help we can cultivate an effective relationship between private business and government to ensure the long-term stability of our electric grid,” Nehls wrote in his letter. “I would appreciate hearing from you on what Tesla Inc. is already doing, and plans to do in the future, to help stabilize the U.S. energy grid as electricity consumption is expected to increase as yours and other EVs become more popular.”

Tesla vehicles accounted for nearly 80% of all new EVs registered in the U.S. for 2020 and Musk has a “unique perspective” on how to address power grid issues, given his long-expertise in the EV space, said Nehls. Power grids have struggled to keep up as electrical demands increase nationwide.

The average EV necessitates roughly 30 kilowatt-hours to travel 100 miles, the equivalent to daily use in the average American household of air conditioning, heating, lights, computers and other appliances, according to Pew Research Center. Increased electrification in every sector of the U.S. economy may result in as high as a 38% consumption hike by 2050, the U.S. Department of Energy found in a 2018 study.

Texas lost up to $130 billion after Winter Storm Uri hit in February 2021, according to state data. This economic loss occurred when the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), which manages the state’s energy grid, had a “near complete failure,” said Nehls.

ERCOT’s failure left 69% of Texans with no power and close to half with water service disruptions and at least 210 deaths, according to state data. Amid the ongoing Texas heatwave, ERCOT reached more than 76,600 megawatts last week, breaking a prior record, as consumers increase their air conditioning usage.

(Photo by Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images)

Musk criticized Biden and his handling of the economy in May, saying on a podcast that “it’s hard to tell” what the president “is doing to be totally frank.” In June, Biden praised Musk’s competitors, Ford and Stellantis, and indicated he thinks Musk’s accusation that the economy is “super bad” is unwarranted.

President Joe Biden has “declared an outright war on fossil fuels,” Nehls told TheDCNF and “continually boxes” Musk “out of any meaningful discussions” about EVs. But the president should not “ostracize” the CEO, Nehls says, but work with him so Musk can “provide his unique and innovative perspective” on addressing America’s expected electricity consumption hike.

Biden signed an executive order in August 2021 setting a goal for half of all new light trucks and passenger cars sold in 2030 to be “zero-emission” vehicles. Last November, Biden signed the $1.2 trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, which spends almost $7.5 million in tax dollars for a “national network” of 500,000 EV chargers along highways despite EVs accounting for fewer than 1% of light-duty trucks, cars and SUVs in the U.S., according to Reuters.

Tesla did not respond to a request for comment, nor did Musk or the White House.

EXCLUSIVE: GOP Rep Asks Elo… by Gabe Kaminsky

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