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Elon Musk’s Plan Claims a World Without Coal or Oil Saves Trillions – Converting world to entirely clean energy will require $10 trillion worth of investment, compared to a cost $14 trillion to stay on fossil fuels

Converting the world to entirely clean energy will require $10 trillion worth of investment, but continuing to rely on fossil fuels would cost about $14 trillion, according to Elon Musk.

A massive build-out of solar-panel factories and metal refineries are required over the next 20 years to deliver renewable-power generation and electricity-storage capacity needed to power the global economy entirely with carbon-free energy, Tesla Inc. said in its Master Plan Part 3 published Thursday.

The white paper fleshes out the details of Musk’s vision for a world without fossil fuels first outlined during last month’s investor day. “Earth will move to a sustainable energy economy,” Musk said during the event in Austin, Texas. “And it will happen in your lifetime.”

Tesla sees upgraded grids powered with wind and solar, global arrays of battery farms and underground hydrogen caverns to store energy, a retooling of heavy industries like steel and cement-making, and homes to businesses warmed or cooled with heat pumps.

The cost of the alternative — continuing to produce oil, coal and natural gas — is higher, Tesla argues, and at 2022 rates would total about $14 trillion over the next two decades.

Musk’s envisaged global energy system requires about 30,000 gigawatts of renewable-power capacity and 240,000 gigawatt-hours of storage batteries. Those figures compare to renewables capacity of 3,214 gigawatts in 2021 and a stationary energy storage sector that’s forecast to have 1,432 gigawatt hours of capacity by the end of the 2030, according to BloombergNEF. That would represent a huge boon to clean tech firms like Tesla.

While the $10 trillion investment cost of a cleaner world is high, Musk argues that’s just a fraction of the $100 trillion global economy and entirely feasible when spread out over two decades.

“Over 20 years, it would be 0.5% of the global economy,” he told investors last month. “So this is not a big number.”