When titans fight, the world wins.
The past few days, two economic powerhouses were battling it out with each other on Twitter. Tech tycoon Elon Musk and investment oracle Warren Buffett were having a cat fight about the best way to run a business. Buffett has been defending the so-called “moat” principle for years, which entails that you should invest only in companies with a safe moat of competitive advantage. Musk ridiculed that (“moats are lame”) by claiming that it is a prehistoric approach and that moats are obstacles to innovations rather than advantages.
Moat or no moat, it seems the Oracle of Omaha and the Playboy of Palo Alto take pleasure in going head to head. And the world seems to be the winner of the fight.
Two years ago, emotions ran high on how a carbon-free energy network should be realized in the state of Nevada. Buffett and his NV Energy wanted do so by buying clean energy from centralized large-scale plants. Musk and his SolarCity wanted to integrate in a more decentralised way, by setting up a network using solar and battery storage technology. Buffett benefited from the status quo as he had a monopoly position in Nevada, but still used fossil fuels extensively. Musk emphasized the advantages of solar panels on roofs free from utility companies: free choice by the public, environmental benefits, less strain on the energy network and more efficient energy management.
Last year, the titanic struggle of both energy giants resulted in the historic AB 405-law, also known as the ‘Solar Bill of Rights of Nevada’. This law paved the way for an explosive increase in clean energy applications. And the outlook is bright; last week we learned that by 2030, 50% of energy used in the state of Nevada will come from solar, wind and geothermal energy.
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