Tesla co-founder and CTO, JB Straubel, was one of the keynote speakers at the Ontario Centres of Excellence’s Discovery conference yesterday. He sat down for a public conversation with journalist and current RBC Sr. Vice President John Stackhouse. You can watch a video of the conversation below:
The talk was mainly about Tesla’s energy storage division, Tesla Energy, which Straubel described as easier to scale than the company’s automotive business.
The CTO talked about Tesla’s relationships with electric utilities and how several smaller companies and cooperatives are open to try its energy storage solutions, but he still sees a lot of resistance from the bigger utilities.
Speaking of electric cooperatives, Tesla recently signed a deal for a 6 MWh installation with the Connecticut Municipal Electric Energy Cooperative in partnership with SolarCity. Tesla Energy’s biggest project to date yet is a 52 MWh with SolarCity and Kaua’i electric utility (KIUC) in Hawaii.
Straubel also discussed what it is like to work for Elon Musk:
“Elon is a challenging guy. He is an interesting mix of extremely challenging and incredibly difficult.”
He has been working with the man for almost 12 years so he knows what he is talking about, but to be fair, he was much more eulogistic about Musk following this comment.
Here’s part 1 of his talk at the conference: