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The Filibuster Is A Weapon Against Democracy

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Senate Republicans successfully blocked debate yesterday on the For the People Act, the largest and most comprehensive package of voting rights legislation to appear before Congress in decades. Since the 2020 election, states across the country have either enacted or proposed dozens of laws meant to discourage voting by restricting voting rights. If passed, the For the People Act would counter these efforts by establishing federal guidelines and requirements designed to make voting easier — and thus make democracy stronger.

Senate Republicans were able to forestall any consideration of the act by threatening a legislative filibuster: a political tool that allows lawmakers to prevent a bill from coming up for a vote by refusing to end the period of debate over the bill. In effect, this threat means that no piece of legislation can move forward unless a supermajority of 60 out of 100 senators agrees that it may do so. In the end yesterday, it took only 50 senators to send the For the People Act into legislative limbo.

Once upon a time, a plausible case could be made for the legislative filibuster as a means of fostering bipartisan compromise and moderating public policy. That time has passed. As Tuesday’s standoff confirmed, the filibuster — which has no basis whatsoever in the U.S. Constitution, by the way, and which was wielded frequently throughout the 20th century to block civil rights legislation — has now been fully weaponized by a minority party that has made no secret of its willingness to use it at every juncture, when doing so would neutralize the lawmaking power of the majority. Such filibusters do not reward political moderation; they reap political nihilism.

The enormous challenges facing the country right now require legislative action. Americans elected President Biden and the 117th Congress last November to craft policies and pass laws that will help lift the nation out of a pandemic-fueled economic recession, redress ongoing legacies of racial injustice, combat the climate crisis, and — yes — restore faith in democracy. As interim NRDC president Mitchell Bernard puts it: “The Senate filibuster is broken. It’s time to fix it, through reforms that encourage bipartisanship without enabling a petulant and self-serving minority to grind the gears of good governance to a halt and block the legislative progress the country so urgently needs.”

The Senate doesn’t necessarily need to destroy the filibuster outright, but it must revise the practice. Currently, there are a number of ideas floating around Washington that would help to make this parliamentary maneuver less of a reflexive response by the minority party, from lowering the threshold of votes needed to sustain it to requiring lawmakers to physically remain on the Senate floor while an actual filibuster drags on (aka, the “talking filibuster”). Lawmakers from both parties should be open to discussions on such reforms because protecting the rights of the Senate minority is important. But it’s not as important as protecting American democracy.

Originally published on NRDC Expert Blog.


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Source: https://cleantechnica.com/2021/06/24/the-filibuster-is-a-weapon-against-democracy/

Cleantech

Tesla Will Hold AI Day 2021 On August 19

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Zach is tryin’ to help society help itself one word at a time. He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director, chief editor, and CEO. Zach is recognized globally as an electric vehicle, solar energy, and energy storage expert. He has presented about cleantech at conferences in India, the UAE, Ukraine, Poland, Germany, the Netherlands, the USA, Canada, and Curaçao. Zach has long-term investments in Tesla [TSLA], NIO [NIO], Xpeng [XPEV], Ford [F], ChargePoint [CHPT], Amazon [AMZN], Piedmont Lithium [PLL], Lithium Americas [LAC], Albemarle Corporation [ALB], Nouveau Monde Graphite [NMGRF], Talon Metals [TLOFF], Arclight Clean Transition Corp [ACTC], and Starbucks [SBUX]. But he does not offer (explicitly or implicitly) investment advice of any sort.

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Source: https://cleantechnica.com/2021/07/29/tesla-will-hold-ai-day-2021-on-august-19/

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Cleantech

Tesla Will Hold AI Day 2021 On August 19

Published

on

Zach is tryin’ to help society help itself one word at a time. He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director, chief editor, and CEO. Zach is recognized globally as an electric vehicle, solar energy, and energy storage expert. He has presented about cleantech at conferences in India, the UAE, Ukraine, Poland, Germany, the Netherlands, the USA, Canada, and Curaçao. Zach has long-term investments in Tesla [TSLA], NIO [NIO], Xpeng [XPEV], Ford [F], ChargePoint [CHPT], Amazon [AMZN], Piedmont Lithium [PLL], Lithium Americas [LAC], Albemarle Corporation [ALB], Nouveau Monde Graphite [NMGRF], Talon Metals [TLOFF], Arclight Clean Transition Corp [ACTC], and Starbucks [SBUX]. But he does not offer (explicitly or implicitly) investment advice of any sort.

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Source: https://cleantechnica.com/2021/07/29/tesla-will-hold-ai-day-2021-on-august-19/

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Cleantech

Want A Tesla Megapack? Get In Line And Wait Your Turn.

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In our article about what to expect during this week’s Tesla earnings call, one of the topics we thought would come up was energy storage — Powerwalls and Megapacks — and it did. Elon Musk has said he thinks profits from the energy storage business will one day equal or exceed those from manufacturing cars and trucks.

My colleague Martin Vinkhuysen has already written about Musk’s projection that Tesla will soon be selling 1 million Powerwall residential storage batteries a year. But what slipped by during the conference call was Musk’s statement that the Megapack grid-scale battery storage system is sold out through the end of next year.

“We have a significant unmet demand in stationary storage. Megapack is basically sold out through the end of next year, I believe,” Elon Musk said in response to a question from New Street Research analyst Pierre Ferragu. That’s right. If you are a utility company or a renewable energy company that wants to add a Tesla Powerpack or two (or a hundred), get in line.

“As all transitions to sustainable energy production, solar and wind are intermittent and by their nature really need battery packs in order to provide a steady flow of electricity. And when you look at all the utilities in the world, this is a vast amount of batteries that are needed. That’s why in the long term, we really think sort of combined Tesla and suppliers need to produce at least 1,000 gigawatt-hours a year, and maybe 2,000 gigawatt-hours a year,” Musk said on Monday.

2,000 MWh? Holy anodes, Batman. Musk told those on the earnings call that Tesla expects to see a significant increase in battery cells from its existing suppliers and has contracts with them to nearly double their cell supply in 2022. It is thinking of overshooting cell supply estimates for vehicles and routing excess batteries to Megapack and Powerwall production.

Are the latest 4680 battery cells destined for energy storage purposes, asked Pierre Feragu? Is Tesla planning to share its 4680 technology with its suppliers, so they can manufacture those cells? Musk did not specifically answer that question, so draw your own conclusions.

A few weeks before the earnings call, Tesla updated the order page for the Megapack with new details and prices. It now shows the Megapack has a starting price of about $1.2 million per unit, depending on which state or US territory the installation will take place in. Potential Tesla customers can order up to 1,000 Megapacks, which would cost around $850 million. That works out to $278 per kWh installed. Related story from last October: “Tesla Megapack, Powerpack, & Powerwall Battery Storage Prices Per KWh — Exclusive.

Is Musk’s prediction that energy storage could become a major source of income for Tesla correct? It certainly seems that way, particularly if it can obtain the battery cells it needs to meet the demand. Having enough orders to keep its energy storage division busy for the next 18 months certainly seems to be a hopeful sign and one that many analysts and Tesla watchers overlook.

Tesla’s Solar Roof may or may not ever take off, but its energy storage business is certainly in high gear. As more utility companies see their competitors adding grid-scale battery storage and reaping the rewards, business is only going to get better.

Appreciate CleanTechnica’s originality? Consider becoming a CleanTechnica Member, Supporter, Technician, or Ambassador — or a patron on Patreon.


 



 


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Source: https://cleantechnica.com/2021/07/28/want-a-tesla-megapack-get-in-line-and-wait-your-turn/

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Cleantech

Want A Tesla Megapack? Get In Line And Wait Your Turn.

Published

on

In our article about what to expect during this week’s Tesla earnings call, one of the topics we thought would come up was energy storage — Powerwalls and Megapacks — and it did. Elon Musk has said he thinks profits from the energy storage business will one day equal or exceed those from manufacturing cars and trucks.

My colleague Martin Vinkhuysen has already written about Musk’s projection that Tesla will soon be selling 1 million Powerwall residential storage batteries a year. But what slipped by during the conference call was Musk’s statement that the Megapack grid-scale battery storage system is sold out through the end of next year.

“We have a significant unmet demand in stationary storage. Megapack is basically sold out through the end of next year, I believe,” Elon Musk said in response to a question from New Street Research analyst Pierre Ferragu. That’s right. If you are a utility company or a renewable energy company that wants to add a Tesla Powerpack or two (or a hundred), get in line.

“As all transitions to sustainable energy production, solar and wind are intermittent and by their nature really need battery packs in order to provide a steady flow of electricity. And when you look at all the utilities in the world, this is a vast amount of batteries that are needed. That’s why in the long term, we really think sort of combined Tesla and suppliers need to produce at least 1,000 gigawatt-hours a year, and maybe 2,000 gigawatt-hours a year,” Musk said on Monday.

2,000 MWh? Holy anodes, Batman. Musk told those on the earnings call that Tesla expects to see a significant increase in battery cells from its existing suppliers and has contracts with them to nearly double their cell supply in 2022. It is thinking of overshooting cell supply estimates for vehicles and routing excess batteries to Megapack and Powerwall production.

Are the latest 4680 battery cells destined for energy storage purposes, asked Pierre Feragu? Is Tesla planning to share its 4680 technology with its suppliers, so they can manufacture those cells? Musk did not specifically answer that question, so draw your own conclusions.

A few weeks before the earnings call, Tesla updated the order page for the Megapack with new details and prices. It now shows the Megapack has a starting price of about $1.2 million per unit, depending on which state or US territory the installation will take place in. Potential Tesla customers can order up to 1,000 Megapacks, which would cost around $850 million. That works out to $278 per kWh installed. Related story from last October: “Tesla Megapack, Powerpack, & Powerwall Battery Storage Prices Per KWh — Exclusive.

Is Musk’s prediction that energy storage could become a major source of income for Tesla correct? It certainly seems that way, particularly if it can obtain the battery cells it needs to meet the demand. Having enough orders to keep its energy storage division busy for the next 18 months certainly seems to be a hopeful sign and one that many analysts and Tesla watchers overlook.

Tesla’s Solar Roof may or may not ever take off, but its energy storage business is certainly in high gear. As more utility companies see their competitors adding grid-scale battery storage and reaping the rewards, business is only going to get better.

Appreciate CleanTechnica’s originality? Consider becoming a CleanTechnica Member, Supporter, Technician, or Ambassador — or a patron on Patreon.


 



 


Have a tip for CleanTechnica, want to advertise, or want to suggest a guest for our CleanTech Talk podcast? Contact us here.

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Source: https://cleantechnica.com/2021/07/28/want-a-tesla-megapack-get-in-line-and-wait-your-turn/

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