By Chris Nelder
Posting in Energy
Energy columnist Chris Nelder follows the money, and finds out the real reason why our energy policy is severely tilted toward the fossil fuel industry.
If you want to know why our energy policy is what it is, and why the transition to renewables is so slow, there's an easy way to find out: Follow the money.
In energy -- as in so many other things -- we have the best government money can buy. Our Congress is overwhelmingly dominated by lawyers, not scientists, and we form our energy policy around who lines their pockets, not around a scientific or rational grasp of our energy reality. This is why technocratic nations like China and Germany are kicking our asses in resource planning, energy transition, transportation planning, infrastructure investment, and so on.
I began my inquiry into this subject by plundering the OpenSecrets.org database, an independent, nonpartisan and free website produced by the Center for Responsive Politics, which tracks the influence of money on U.S. politics.
The results were not surprising.
The oil and gas industry utterly dominates the Energy and Natural Resources category, spending $149 million on lobbying in 2011. The entire complex of renewables falls under the "Misc Energy" category. On this basis, the oil and gas sector outspends Misc Energy by about three to one. But that leaves a lot out of the equation, because the utility sector is over two-thirds powered by coal and natural gas, and coal lobbying is partly represented by the Mining category. The oil and gas industry plus the utility sector outspends Misc Energy by more than five to one.
So let's look at the primary energy industry alone.
The oil and gas industry plus the coal mining industry spent $168 million on lobbying in 2011, or about three times that of Misc Energy. The American Petroleum Institute (API), the oil and gas industry's main lobbying group, spent more than two-and-a-half times what the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) and the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) did, combined.
But even that doesn't really tell the whole story.
The largest sub-industry within the Misc Energy category is oriented to ethanol, algae and biodiesel biofuels, which ultimately aims to maintain our existing regime of liquid-fuel burning cars and trucks. Lobbying over water is another large component of the category, as is lobbying on behalf of natural gas vehicles. When I classified the top 23 client agencies -- those within the Misc Energy category who spent more than $500,000 on lobbying in 2011 -- by industry, I found that wind, solar, and geothermal entities only contributed about 10 percent of the category total.
Further, most of the lobbying groups within the Misc Energy category are small players. The biggest client within the sector is the National Rural Water Association, which spent $2.2 million, followed by SEIA, which spent $1.9 million. By comparison, the smallest spender of the top 10 oil and gas companies, Anadarko Petroleum, laid out $3.7 million.
The OpenSecrets database does not offer an easy way to classify all the clients within the Misc Energy sector, but for a final point of perspective consider this: Of the top 23 agencies I classified manually, the wind, solar, and geothermal agencies spent $6 million combined. The oil and gas, coal, and utility lobbies spent $313 million -- more than 50 times as much.
It's not hard to understand why renewables are making slow progress against the vested interests of the energy industry. In fact, it's rather remarkable that they're making any progress at all. It's probably fair to say that they wouldn't be if it were not for the weak and indirect policy lever of air quality control, which explains the fossil fuel industry's vigorous campaign to bash the EPA in any way they can. (It's also why fossil fuel industry agents have recently mocked the EPA for trying to enforce its Congressional mandates to include more ethanol in the national liquid fuel mix than is commercially available, despite the fact that it is just following Congressional orders, and that those orders were developed in bipartisan fashion and passed into law under President Bush. That's all gone down the memory hole in this extremely contentious election year.)
Transportation transition faces a similar, though less lopsided battle. The automotive, airline, and trucking lobbies together outspend rail by about two to one.
Disinformation and legislative capture
That's just the money being spent directly lobbying Congress, and publicly reported. Even more is being spent on disinformation, slander, and outright lies through a complex web of think tanks, fake advocacy groups, and other agencies. Groups like the Heartland Institute, which famously erected a billboard in suburban Chicago in May with a photo of Ted Kaczynski (the "Unabomber"), along with the caption "I still believe in Global Warming. Do you?"
A report issued earlier this month by the Sierra Club (Clean Energy Under Siege – Following the Money Trail Behind the Attack on Renewable Energy) outlines some of this spending, with particular focus on ExxonMobil, coal giant Peabody Energy, and the billionaire Koch brothers, who preside over an empire of oil, gas, coal, and manufacturing interests.
A few highlights from the report:
- Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-KS), in whose district Koch Industries is headquartered, has had his campaigns backed largely by oil and gas companies since 1989, and has collected over $400,000 from them in lifetime donations. Koch Industries is his largest donor, at $111,500. Pompeo has championed H.R. 3308, which he claims would equal the playing field in energy. "My energy legislation gets rid of every single tax credit in the entire federal Internal Revenue code," he is quoted as saying. "It doesn't favor solar, it doesn't favor oil and gas, it doesn't favor wind. It is energy neutral." Except, that is, for a handful of tax allowances and credits that would amount to $35 billion in benefits to oil and gas companies between 2011 and 2020, according to the Congressional Joint Committee on Taxation.
- A 2010 report by Greenpeace found that the Koch brothers have funneled $61 million to "climate-denial front groups."
- The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), which bills itself as a nonprofit, "free-market," libertarian advocacy group, has become a powerful agent, seeking to overturn the state Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS) that have driven most of the progress of renewables in America, buying their way into opportunities to help write state energy legislation, and plotting a national public relations campaign of "subversion" to destroy the wind industry. Funded by members of the oil, gas, and coal industries, ALEC is now working hard to ensure that the Production Tax Credit, which has been responsible for the growth of wind energy in the U.S., expires at the end of this year. (If the PTC expires, another destructive bust cycle in the long boom-and-bust history of renewable energy will ensue. In contrast, the fossil fuel industry has enjoyed roughly 100 years of constant federal subsidies, yet somehow successfully argues that they still need and deserve public support but renewable energy should be able to compete without subsidies in a "free market.")
- The oil and gas industries contributed to 88 percent of all members of the House in the 2010 election, and 89 percent of senators. Republicans garnered 86 percent of all oil and gas donations in both chambers of Congress.
- Koch family entities are two of the top three campaign spenders in 2011-2012.
- The seemingly endless use of the Solyndra scandal as a whipping boy for the entire concept of public support for renewable energy is a deliberate strategy of these front groups, including Karl Rove's Super PAC, Crossroads GPS, and Americans for Prosperity, a Koch-funded group that has spent millions in battleground states in this election.
The fossil fuel industry has spent additional millions to vigorously attack and harass the climate scientists. An excellent feature in the June Popular Science (The Battle Over Climate Science) details the dirty deeds they have sponsored: Death threats. Hate mail. Harassment via spurious and expensive lawsuits. Threatening emails. Political attacks.
The way these scientists, trying to do good honest work in the public interest, are being harassed by paid jackals is horrifying, and reminds one of the McCarthy era. Likewise, the way the industry is paying these various front groups to mislead the public and create the illusion of a debate is straight out of the pages of the tobacco lobby. Indeed, many of the same characters who shilled for Big Tobacco are now doing the same for Big Oil, Gas and Coal.
Don't let the media idiots who feel compelled to create false balance in their work fool you. The science is clear on climate change, and the data is clear on the future of fossil fuels. In both cases, we have a serious problem on our hands. A long list of internal documents from companies like ExxonMobil and various coal companies, recently revealed, show that these industries know that climate change is real and that burning fossil fuels has everything to do with it, and that they have been engaged in a decades-long campaign to deliberately confuse the public about the facts. The "debate" about global warming, and the debate about peak oil, are nothing but a war by vested interests who want to keep making money at the expense of the public health and ultimately, the fate of the planet.
A bipartisan majority of the public supports transition to renewables, but our so-called representatives in government are representing nobody but industry. Meanwhile, the renewable energy industries are vastly outgunned, outmaneuvered, and under attack. A complete tally of the money war remains to be seen, but the complex of the fossil fuel, utility, automobile, trucking, road-building, and airline industries probably outspend the sustainable industries by 100 to one. So the next time you hear some right-wing television show trash talking about the EPA, or read an editorial in the Wall Street Journal about how "green groups" are somehow responsible for a power outage caused by storm wreaking havoc on our decrepit grid, remember who they're working for.
Photo: Billboard erected in support of the Pickens Plan in Williamsport, PA by the Genetti Hotel, courtesy adamaecompton
Aug 7, 2012
Energy policy is wonderful strategy that follows the money not the scientific rationale. http://www.personalcashadvance.com
I don't get why here in the USA we are addicted to sexy solutions to simple problems. What if we just quit buying suv's and oversize pickups and switched to smaller more efficient cars? There are good cars available that get 35 and better mpg... my 05' VW Golf diesel is peppy and gets a consistent 45 and better MPG. There are options, yet it seems folks continue to buy cars and trucks much bigger than what they need. Also if you like energy diversity natural gas is a good option... some will say we don.t have an infrastructure for it yet most folks have it piped to their house and only need a simple compressor to fuel their own cars. Forget paying big oil... The next time you're on the freeway take a look around and do a quick average fuel economy estimate of the vehicles around you. Then make a guess at the average occupancy do. What about in the 70's when little cars were in and everyone sold a mini pickup? Chevy sold the luv truck, Ford sold the Courier Now instead of sticking with the mini trucks we taught our kids to go back to the big stuff.. now Nissan makes the V8 titan and Toyota... Its simple folks... if its big and fast it uses more fuel. It's kinda hard to feel sorry for a population that doesn't learn from its mistakes...
Windmills kill nearly half a million birds a year, according to a Fish and Wildlife estimate. The American Bird Conservancy projected that the number could more than double in 20 years if the administration realizes its goal for wind power. For years, the wind energy industry has had a license to kill golden eagles and lots of other migratory birds. Over the past two decades, the federal government has prosecuted hundreds of cases against oil and gas producers and electricity producers for violating some of America's oldest wildlife-protection laws: the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and Eagle ProtectionAct. But the Obama administration just like the Bush administration has never prosecuted the wind industry despite myriad examples of widespread, unpermitted bird kills by turbines. Last June, the Los Angeles Times reported that about 70 golden eagles are being killed per year by the wind turbines at Altamont Pass, about 20 miles east of Oakland, Calif. A 2008 study funded by the Alameda County Community Development Agency estimated that about 2,400 raptors, including burrowing owls, American kestrels, and red-tailed hawksâas well as about 7,500 other birds, nearly all of which are protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Actâare being killed every year by the turbines at Altamont. People who are advocating this kind of "green energy" while species are going extinct are the same people who refuse to see the main reason why we are running out of fuel: OVERPOPULATION. We shouldn't focus on how we can rape our planet of more resources we should focus on reducing the world population and then all the problems will be solved. Check this out: http://www.vhemt.org/
My recent trip to Canada, as I drove to see relatives I saw solar panels arrays every 5 -10 miles. It appears Canada gives Farmers some incentive to let solar companies install small solar arrays on their property. They were everywhere, it was a pleasant surprise and equally shocking that Canada can do this and the US is so far behind. In the town my parents live, Brockville Ont. (35,000 people) there were 2 huge solar fields being constructed, I mean huge like the ones out in the southeastern California. Canada has it faults with the oil sands disaster but at least they are, I hope, reinvesting in the future.
Kodak dominated the market for film photography for decades, and was at its peak the world's most valuable brand. They paid for great research in photography, and actually invented ALL the core technologies for digital photography and owned the patents...but always believed analogue film would win! How WRONG they were... and Kodak in the end went bankrupt in Jan. 2012, after about 80 years of huge film photography success and 10 years of relentless and fatal attack by DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHY. You all know the rest of the details of this story. Now: simply replace the words "Kodak" with "Fossil Fuel Industry" and "film photography (or similar)" with "fossil fuels" and "digital photography" with "renewable energy" and you have the main energy story of the next 10 years. All the components of renewable-driven energy services with electrified transport are being rolled out commercially today. Yes, they are still more expensive than the fossil-fuel equivalent, but this is changing FAST and it is UNAVOIDABLE that renewables and electrified transport will largely replace our fossil-fuel-driven services. It is only a matter of time. But I still remember my first cell phone, my first stationary PC, my first laptop PC, my first digital camera, my first drive in an EV, my first drive in a plug-in hybrid....This is not long ago, indeed in the big picture, it was just yesterday.
When a company spends money they are trying to do one of the following. 1) Get money from the government in the form of contract/subsidy. 2) Get money back in the form of a tax credit. 3) Get money from the government via a subsidy paid to a third party in the hopes it will end up going to them. 4) Get access to a public resource like oil/coal on public lands. 5) Change regulations to make things easier for them or harder for their competition. 6) Have money spent on research that they can capitalize on. 7) Philosophical goals. Often done for public relations purposes. The thing is, if the people in government believe in the same thing you do, you don't have to spend as much money making it a reality, so the amount of money is not always as important. If also matters who the money is spent on. If you are big enough and can show that you have influence on a lot of voters, you don't need to spend more money than the cost of having your representative meet with theirs. Think of the NAACP and the like.
I would not trust anything from Greenpeace or the Sierra Club. They are extremist organizations against much of anything. Nuclear power would be cheaper and less risky if they recylced the "spent" fuel. The technology is available, it is just fears that the generated fuel would be stolen and used in weapons manufacture, that stops the bureaucrats. Solar and Wind are very expensive as well. The wind industry needs to switch to styles of wind gatherers that do not kill the birds, even eagles are being killed by the propeller blades. Anything else that caused so much problems would not pass the environmental impact survey required.
Chris used to join in on the comments section and try to respond to the (increasingly critical) comments. Now he just posts up and drops out. Did we hurt his feelings?
The cleanest and cheapest energy of the future will be obtained by recycling the heat. The heat is already done and behaves like a superfluid which is recyclable. When the heat is recycled an additional energy emerges.
This is why we need to stop allowing these groups to be classified as non-profits, not only do they get tax exempt status but those who donate to them can claim their donation as a tax deduction on their taxes. It is time to expand the tax base by ending tax exemptions for certain organizations. We now have religious organizations, labor unions, private schools, NAACP, NRA, Chamber of Commerce, think tanks, political pacts and superpacs that are trying to influence policies and elections. The problem is these entities are able to claim they are non-profits, so they pay no taxes. Anyone who pays to lobby congress, get government contracts or campaigns for politicians should be paying taxes. At the very least allow states to access property taxes. Tax-Free Land: This creates a problem, because the tax exemption amounts to a gift of money to the churches or these organizations at the expense of tax payers. For every dollar which the government cannot collect on church property or these organizations, it must make up for by collecting it from citizens; thus all citizens are forced to indirectly support churches or these organizations even those that they do not belong to and may even oppose. Church in my town owns 10 acres of land. It has 1 house, 2 other building and large church. Church pays $0.00 property taxes. I own 1 acre of land and 24 x 42 house with 3 car garage. --- I pay $2,000.00 property tax.
I just laugh when I read most of these responses. I see a bunch of folks who are afraid of the future and the transformation in energy production that is necessary to meet the future. I see people with lack of imagination and who ignore the costs of fossil fuel energy that aren't included in the price we pay for it. All of this is going to change whether you like it or not. The Earth won't support continuing as we have been going. Better to get out in front of the change than to be dragged kicking and screaming when we reach the end of the line.
The oil and gas industry in the US is out competing the renewables industry for a simple reason - shale fracking. Where did shale fracking come from? From Exxon? From Shell? Nope. It got a big boost from Jimmy Carter. Then it was nursed along for three decades by George Mitchell. (who heavily sponsored the Club of Rome, hardly a Koch brothers group). You see how Nelder mixes oil and gas lobbying together in one big lump. That is where he is tricking you. Don't be fooled. The small players that developed shale fracking did it without deep pocketed lobbying of any sort. It was a classic tale of American entrepernaurilism and can-do attitude. Things that Nelder has zero experience with, and thus will never understand. "Swing and a Miss" Chris, delivering your regular does of anti-fossil-fuel, pro-renewable (and pro-Nelder-investments-and-books) propaganda.
I guess that in addition to the largess of lobbying (legalized bribes) we also are in the trap of group think that is stuck with "tried and true". The only energy tool we have is the safe and known fossile fuels and we see all our problems solved by drilling more at increasing costs. Those who were of driving age in the 70's should be aware that the cost of gasoline has grown enough that people don't drive as far as they used to go. Airlines are having trouble being profitable with oil prices higher than the $70 per barrel. We are at the end of cheap energy and we are not transitioning very well. Another aspect of group think are mind guards who argue the status quo until dissent or disagreement is quashed. The mind set that alternative energy is too expensive, that it needs to compete without subsidies and that there is still plenty of fossil fuel left is having to make more elaborate rationalizations to support those positions.
Another case of a columnist finding facts to support a skewed narrative that has nothing to do with reality. The only renewable that is cost effective is Hydro, which the green people are trying to eliminate. Today there are carbon capture technologies coming to market that will keep fuel costs at 1/3 to 1/4 the cost of solar/wind and you have oil to continue to create/use all of the products generated by oil as opposed to only electricity from solar/wind.
If you look realistically at how the electricity supply works to deliver the industrial and consumer needs of modern producing societies, they depend on 24/7 electricity for cities, factories, homes, etc. Our electricity generation/delivery system is set up to meet that demand. Solar and wind, while clean energy, are by nature intermittent generators of power. Subsidize them all you want, fund research and improve their efficiency to 100%, use taxpayer money to cover entire states with windmills and solar panels, but itâs all for naught: when the sun goes down and the wind stops blowing you have no electricity. One of the large power co-operatives puts it this way: âIf you build 100 megawatts of wind you need to build 100 megawatts of backup generation for periods when the wind isnât blowing.â If the goal is carbon reduction, the only practical solution for electricity generation is nuclear. China, India, Russia, South Korea, the UAE, Saudi Arabia and a host of other countries have started to migrate away from fossil fuels toward nuclear. There are more than 200 new nuclear power plants moving through the permitting-design-construction pipeline worldwide as we speak. Sure they are expensive to build, but what you'll get in return is 60 to 80 years of reliable, cheap, non-carbon emitting baseload electricity, with fuel costs being a negligible part of the equation.
Electrical current flows over the shortest (easiest) path; its a natural property. What you are assuming is that we should take a longer, more difficult path to energy production by requiring a more costly, less efficient method to producing energy. You call for government coercion to use the more costly method of producing energy instead of allowing the marketplace to decide. It never works long term. China is putting a new coal-fired energy plant online every week! They are building nuclear power plants as fast as they can afford them. Renewables make up a small portion of their power production. They are also building more hydroelectric power plants than the rest of the world. And no science is getting in their way either. Most of the energy produced in Germany is from old fashioned sources not new renewables and will be for the next 50-100 years. Much of Spain's solar and renewable energy production is being cut as fast as possible because they can no longer afford the high-cost luxury projects. Much of northern Europe's energy comes from hydroelectric sources also and the U.S. is not only NOT building more hydro projects but is dismantling many we have built due to spurious reasoning rather than finding solutions to the problems it faces. In the U.S. environmentalist extremists and others raised on 'Barney' and 'Mr. Rogers' feel good approach to what is the 'right-thing-to-do' are burying their heads in the sand or only use the facts that appear to support their argument. Larger industries spend more on lobbying than smaller industries. Doh! It means nothing. U.S. government technocrats and environmentalists say no to not only oil & gas but also to coal, nuclear, hydroelectric and even say no to wind (NIMBY or the 'poor' birds, bees, etc.). There are more proven reserves of oil & gas today than ever in history and while there may be some finite limit to their production, we aren't even close to the end yet. The Boone Picken's Plan for using natural gas and wind as a transitional energy program while other means are R&D'd is a more logical choice. But your article is not about logical choice but emotional 'feelings.' And finally, please stop with the climate change BIG lie. Yes there is global warming because we are still exiting the last small ice-age and the ice melting as a consequence of this natural cycle that Earth has suffered hundreds of times before. Solar cycles have always been the cause and the effects have always been warming. Wow! Go figure. Man has had an effect on causing dirty air and yet the air is cleaner today than it has been since the 70s when the hated Nixon formed the EPA to clean-up the air and water. But the environmental pendulum has swung far to far to the left and needs to return to a more sensible middle ground. And since China and India are increasingly churning out pollution faster than the rest of the world could feasibly clean it up, we need to focus more on helping them find a cleaner way for producing energy rather than tell them to unrealistically stop producing energy. And their top-down, government controlled policies don't appear to be fitting in so nicely with your pie-in-the-sky recommendations.
What ever happened to the supposedly successful, 'deep' well projects that produced hydrocarbon fuels in unlimited quantities from the earth's production of them?? Identical in energy characteristics to fossil fuel, but having no connection to them as proven by many tests, Just the tremendous pressures and heat producing them. Don Jose de La Mancha
The true cost of energy include: mining and the environmental reparation costs mining and the health costs to workers mining and the cost fuel in shipping coal or LP gas to Power Plants maintaining Power plants AND the failing Transmission Lines The Cost to CONSUMERS during black outs and grid failures. The subsidies to Mining and to Power Plants The local tax money spent on Power Plants and maintaining the Grid The local tax money spent on maintaining city transmission lines & transformer stations The money spent by lobbyists for Oil, Gas, and Power companies (which really comes from the "consumer" or customer.) the money spent for health problems from Power Plants contaminating the Air, Water, and surroundings which cause local communities continuing health problems. The loss of financing alternatives which could relieve contamination and health costs. The cost of building Power Plants and decommissioning them. The 10,000 year monitoring of Uranium. The cost of Uranium Power Plant breakdowns and related health concerns After all those costs, Individual alternative energy systems are really 150 times cheaper to build, maintain, and reduce health and environmental problems. Environmental costs caused by the current power system are also a major problem to all - even those not using the Grid. I have lived of the grid for over 30 years using PV and a small wind generator. I have to replace batteries every 8 years or so, and have some repairs on occasion - BUT I DO NOT HAVE A MONTHLY UTILITY BILL AND DO NOT HAVE BLACK OUTS.
There are lobbies on both sides of the issue who spend money to influence energy policy because of the lack of market forces to serve the ends. I'm not advocating a fully open market, but this article is outstandingly one-sided. Until and unless the author and his supporters openly accept that the ends must be served REGARDLESS of cost, then these arguments come across as dishonest. Ignoring China, which is almost as far away from a Western economy as you can get before the outcomes are dire (e.g. North Korea or Venezuela, etc.), all efforts to force an unnatural transition to a dominant renewable supply have been costly at best and unsuccessful at worst. In both Germany and Spain, renewable supply has not yet met the targeted goals, although the proportions are high in certain regions. Yet the cost of electricity is still well over double or more of the average of the most expensive regions in the U.S. So, unless writers like Mr. Nelder tell their readers upfront that they must accept high capital costs now (overall, in total) and higher costs to ratepayers now and in the future in order to meet the goals using whatever terms are necessary - e.g. carbon costs, externalities, climate change terms, etc. - then the arguments will remain unconvincing except to those who are on board already. (Just a note, I work in the energy industry, including renewables. So my frustration is not that the government cannot/has not mandated the change but that articles and views like this have polluted the political discussion and actually have hampered the growth of renewable supply.)
A few points you chose to ignore: The reason US is behind in renewables is because they are not economical. Why waste money on something that shows no possibility of being as cheap or cheaper than fossil fuels, especially natural gas? In fact, I suspect if you look at lobbying money and subsidies per megawatt of power generated you will find that 'renewables' have both more subsidies and more lobbying money. Germany is going to have to choose among more fossil fuel power generation, more nuclear power, or turning the lights out, since they have found that renewables simply dont generate enough power. Next, you completely ignore the money spent by groups such as the NRDC, Greenpeace, and the WWF to lobby congress. I have no doubt they spend as much or more than the fossil fuel industry. Third, those claims of threats and harassment of climate scientists are only happening to what the AGW alarmists call skeptics. They are being threatened and harassed by Greenpeace and other groups, as well as the alarmists.
Reposted From RahSolar According to the United Nations 170,000 square kilometers of forest is destroyed each year. If we constructed solar farms at the same rate, we would be finished in 3 years. There are 1.2 million square kilometers of farmland in China. This is 2 1/2 times the area of solar farm required to power the world in 2030. The first link contains the science behind all the others. http://www.landartgenerator.org/blagi/archives/127 http://www.flickr.com/photos/25541021@N00/3895429285/ http://www.landartgenerator.org/blagi/wp-content/uploads/2009/08/AreaRequired1000.jpg http://landartgenerator.org/blagi/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/SolarVsShaleLR.pdf http://www.landartgenerator.org/images/PosterCO2trees.pdf http://landartgenerator.org/blagi/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/SolarVsTarLR.pdf http://landartgenerator.org/images/SOLARSTIMULUS.pdf http://www.landartgenerator.org/blagi/wp-content/uploads/2009/08/AreaRequiredWindOnly.jpg
...and I hope that it is. It's a shame that we continually delay that day by distorting the marketplace and wasting resources with crony capitalism.
richard233, You make some good points and to some degree you are right except when the money differences are 20-100 to 1, and for the most part the corporate media follows the financial/fossil fuel story line.
riverat1, Thinkin' the same thing. Trouble is, there is a faux hoax in the way via effective, totally immoral messaging. What can you expect from social Darwinist who would give Darwin deadly heartburn.
The miles driven per-person has steadily risen since such data has been collected since the '70s. And the price of gasoline over that same time has roughly tracked inflation.
and the electricity produced by nuclear power stations will be so cheap that it is not worth metering it!
Aren't these the same arguments used to cut down our forests, or slaughter most of the whales? You use factual present information, and claim some insight of the future while ignoring the fact that technology is the business of getting better at what we do, something you claim won't happen.
So, counting all of the expenses of setting up your system - including tax credits (which the rest of us pay for) and any other subsidies, what was the cost of your system aside from the lead-acid batteries you must recycle every 8 years?
If you want to find waste, you need look no farther than the waste that goes on to bring you your daily dose of 60 cycle 110vac.Fossil fuels must be discovered, extracted, transported, stored, and used to create electricity which must be transported, converted, and finally plugged into your local grid in hopes of you using it at almost the instant it was created lest it be wasted. Solar power may have many problems which must be solved, but these are solvable problems. The sun is real easy to find almost everywhere, using it is generally pretty clean, it shines for free, and will probably do all these things for millions of years to come. New tech always costs more to start, and, if it's good, the cost drops drastically.
What the heck, Solyndra and their ilk didn't even bother with congress - they went directly to the top. Quite profitable for them, a bite in the shorts for the taxpayers! Amazing religion the green and man-caused climate change is - absolution from any facts whatsoever (or at least the huge bulk of contradictory facts)!
I have lived off the grid for over 30 years and have all of the electrical toys, replace my batteries every 8 years or so, and HAVE NO MONTHLY BILLS. $1,250 for batteries divided by 8 years = $ 13.00 per month. Cheep enough for you. Also, I have not suffered financial loss due to black outs and losing everything in my refrigerator or freezer.
Megacorporation GE paid ZERO dollars in income taxes due to "green" subsidies. Say what you will about subsidies to the oil industry, but never in their history have they been totally liberated from paying any income tax whatsoever.
Shale fracking is just more of the same thing that's been done in the past. It's still a fossil fuel that costs us far more than we actually pay for it.
I live in an area where people commute 100 to 150 miles per day. I was referring to casual trips cross country becoming shorter and less frequent. The long commute drivers have increased in the same time. So, you are right.
Good Cite Lynn! Now if you could only replace all those inverters and AC motors with super efficient Direct Current motors. Are you taking advantage of the LED lighting too?
This comment is so oversimplified it is laughable. Zero taxes due to any one reason is silly. The US tax code is a complex mess, and every day our representatives contintue to try an add more tae exemptions or "loop-holes" as so many people referto them.
I wish you a world where you can use all the energy you want because it's plentiful, cheap, and clean. This could be possible in the lifetime of young people today thanks to clean, renewable sources, but will never happen through the fossil fuel dominion.
heats my house, runs my fridge and sous-vide, employs some of my friends, seems like more of the same in a good way. it's back to the 50s, really, when the US was awash in cheap energy.
You are right, fixing a a off the grid goal is great, but we sure have to find ways to makes everyday power hungry devices more efficient and solar compatible. I look around my house and i definitely find 99% of all devices such as refrigerators, and motors that could work on lower voltage and be efficient with no loss.
The small fortune GE spends in Washington pays off very well for them, so much so that GE's CEO is appointed to the "President's Council on Jobs and Competitiveness" while at the same time he's shipping entire divisions to China. With leadership & central planning like this, what could go wrong? Not a lot laughable here.