Texas Solar + Batteries

Texas currently leads the country in solar and wind. This is mostly due to the geography of the state, with lots of sunshine and lots of wind. Right now there appears to be a concerted effort by the oil and gas industry and their henchmen in the state government to interfere with these new and profitable energy businesses. One plan seems to be to block electrical power transmission lines to keep power from being transported from where it is produced to where it is needed.

The reaction by renewables companies, which I did not expect, is to put more storage, in the form of batteries, on the grid. If this is cost effective, then this could be a “checkmate” move for renewables in Texas. It will be interesting to see how this evolves.

Texas solar boom turns to battery dash as grid pain looms

SXSW 2023

Took the train downtown to check out the SXSW scene. Didn’t seem as vibrant as other years, but still fun. Had lunch at the Iron Works BBQ. Helped an out of towner behind us in line ordering. He joined us for lunch. A Brazilian Israeli founder of a tech outsourcing company. Went to meet up with some old friends from Japan. Good to see them after all these years. They even brought us some SXSW swag. Went to have a drink at the Four Seasons and saw a guy who looked like Bill Walton in the lobby bar. Seems it was him. He had just come from the opening of the new ESPN documentary on his life and career. Had some salsa and queso and listened to a band sound check for the upcoming Grammy party. A good day.

A Reverse Minsky Moment

This week the Silicon Valley Bank (SVC) collapsed in what looks like a good, old fashioned bank run / panic. But why SVC and why now? It seems VC funding is down 30% from last quarter and 50% from last year according to Forbes. So all of these startups are still spending but not getting new funding. For SVC this means lots of withdrawals and fewer deposits. Not a disaster, but something that could trigger a panic. This might be more true in a highly connected group that closely watches such financial information, like Silicon Valley venture capitalists.

Is this a one-off? I hope so, but the Irrelevant Investor has concerns:

The Fed has been trying to break things. Mission accomplished. They broke tech and housing and startups. How much more damage do they want to do? We’re starting to see cracks in the commercial real estate market too. If that goes, forget about it.

A Reverse Minsky Moment