“This is crazy,” Musk said. “Should use Tesla Megapacks for load-leveling the grid. More effective, more reliable and costs less.”
Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway conglomerate wants to establish a Texas Emergency Power Reserve and build 10 natural-gas power plants across the state by November 2023, the Dallas Morning News reported.
It has offered to invest $8.3 billion in emergency power generation that would be backed by a $4 billion guarantee. However, it expects to be repaid and earn an annual return of 9.3% on its investment, funded via higher energy bills for Texans.
Berkshire’s bosses have argued that their backup system would be cheaper than “weatherising” the electric grid to cope with the cold, or revamping the state’s energy market to reward excess capacity.
Musk would prefer if Texas used Tesla Megapacks – the clean-energy company’s battery-storage systems – to avoid another devastating blackout. The systems, which look like rows of high-school lockers, are pitched as powerful, compact, and easy-to-install on Tesla’s website.
Musk and Buffett have butted heads before. The Tesla chief may have quoted Buffett in the past, but he’s admitted he’s not the investor’s “biggest fan.” He’s also described allocating capital across Berkshire as “kind of a boring job,” and cast doubt on Buffett’s “kindly grandfather” persona.
Moreover, the serial entrepreneur has labeled Buffett’s idea of economic moats, or enduring competitive advantages such as a beloved brand or patented technology, as “lame.”
“Elon may turn things upside down in some areas,” Buffett responded. “I don’t think he’d want to take us on in candy,” he added, referring to Berkshire-owned See’s Candies.
Buffett has also praised Musk as a “remarkable guy,” but suggested he has “room for improvement” and should be more restrained in his tweeting.