Elon Musk backs more nuclear and oil output to check Russia
Tesla CEO Elon Musk is calling for the expansion of nuclear power in Europe and greater oil production in the U.S. as Russia's invasion of Ukraine spikes prices and lays bare the EU's energy vulnerabilities.
Driving the news: He tweeted Sunday that it's "extremely obvious that Europe should restart dormant nuclear power stations and increase power output of existing ones," calling it "critical" to national and international security.
- The remark came two days after Musk, who's company is the market leader in electric vehicles, said via Twitter that "we need to increase oil & gas output immediately" because "extraordinary times demand extraordinary measures."
Quick take: Musk's new energy punditry is likely to run afoul of environmentalists, who support EVs but are pushing back against calls for expanded fossil fuel production to check Russia, a major oil-and-gas exporter.
- But Musk said that while expanding oil production would "negatively affect" his company, "sustainable energy solutions simply cannot react instantaneously to make up for Russian oil & gas exports."
The intrigue: Musk's comments puts the EV pioneer into unusual alignment with the oil-and-gas industry, which has called for more leasing in federal lands and waters and greater Biden administration support for oil and liquefied natural gas exports.
- They also put him out of step with policies in Europe, where Germany is on course to shut down its last remaining nuclear plants, though those plans are being reevaluated.
Yes, but: While U.S. oil production is rising, most output is on private and state lands, and the industry faces constraints in speeding output growth even faster in those areas. In addition, restarting nuclear reactors that have been dormant for long periods of time is also a complicated process.