Over the last two years, Elon Musk has been lionized as a climate hero for creating a high-performance electric car (Tesla) and a fast-growing solar panel company (Solar City).
Critics have noted that both companies have depended heavily on taxpayer subsidies — $4.9 billion, to be precise.
Elon's defenders have rightly noted that nuclear, too, has received government funding.*
But now, Tesla, which absorbed Solar City last year, has come out in favor of closing Diablo Canyon nuclear plant, California's largest source of clean energy.
Imagine the outcry if a nuclear energy company tried not just to kill solar subsidies but actually remove Solar City panels from rooftops in order to build more nuclear plants.
In Tesla's comments to the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), Tesla makes a transparently self-serving argument in favor of closing Diablo Canyon: it can be replaced by solar panels and batteries.
"Energy storage resources paired with solar generation," Tesla's attorney chirps, "can take advantage of federal tax credits..."
This is appalling — and symptomatic of the corruption of the CPUC, which is currently under federal and state criminal investigation for closing our second to last nuclear plant, San Onofre.
*For the record, renewables received about 100x more in subsidies than nuclear did last year