Thursday, August 13, 2009

Best Way To Solve Problems Of Global Warming

Best Way To Solve Problems Of Global Warming

Construction has begun in Southern California on two solar thermal plants for Pacific Gas and Electric, and Southern California Edison, that will be providing 2.3 gigawats of solar thermal power. By itself, the Southern California Edison deal is the world’s largest solar energy deal.

The plants being built are bigger, but will be more cost effective to build than most other new plants. These kind of solar thermal plants are cheaper to build than coal plants, cheaper than gas plants, and they’re building them a lot faster.

As Robert F. Kennedy Jr., an environmental advocate for the past 25 years, has said, “Once the plants are up and running, the energy is free forever. We won’t have to go to Saudi Arabia and drill holes in the ground, then pump the oil up, and then refine it, and then ship it across the Atlantic with a military escort, and get in periodic wars in Mesopotamia and other places, and then have to distribute the oil across the country.

The electrons are hitting our country for free... coming down from the Sun for free, every day. If we build these plants to pick up the electrons, and the infrastructure to deliver them, we can put them into our lines... And if we are to build this out across the country, we can provide 100% of the energy needs in this country, in conjunction with other clean power sources, for about 750 billion dollars.”

Kennedy makes the point that 750 billion is less than the amount of dollars we export to purchase foreign oil each and every year. "Taxpayers involuntarily gave 700 billion dollars to Wall Street, and everybody believes it will take generations to pay back. But actually, it will only take just one year, without our financial expenditure for foreign oil."

What we need to make this work is a straightforward market place. That’s what Americans demand. We need an open marketplace that does what a market is supposed to do, which is to reward good behavior, which is efficiency, and punish bad behavior, which is inefficiency and waste.

Today we have a market that is rigged to favor the dirtiest, filthiest, most poisonous, most expensive fuels from hell. We need to design a marketplace that rewards the clean, cheap, fuels from heaven. We can do this very quickly. For instance, in 1979 America started a national grid, a national backbone for the internet. In 1980, there were fewer than 500 personal computers in this country and IBM was saying it was a dead end technology. Well now, every American has a PC, because we had a marketplace. Look at the effect that has had on the cost of information. It has plummeted to almost nothing. That same thing will happen with the cost of electrons if we follow through and build a national grid for electricity in this country.

Here’s another example, in 1996, President Clinton signed the Telecommunications Act which opened up the telecommunications grid and spawned a national, and worldwide telecommunications revolution. That’s why we have an Ipod. Today there are companies that can provide unlimited long distance and local calling for $18 a year. That’s what is going to happen to the cost of energy, if we build a national marketplace that operates in a straightforward manner.

We need to make sure that the market rules are aligned with our national interests, and with the global interest of saving our planet. We need to make sure that our utility companies can make money by getting their consumers to conserve energy, and that their profits are not dependent upon them selling as much energy as possible. And then we need to open up the grid so that everyone can get on it. If you have a solar panel on your roof, and you’re not home for one part of the day, and your house is generating more energy than it's using, you ought to be able to sell that energy back to the grid and get market rates for it. But there is no state where you can do that today. Thirty six states will buy it back from you, but all of them limit how much, and none of them will give you the market rate.

If we follow through with these fundamentals, we will make every American into an energy entrepreneur, every home into a power plant, and we can power this country from American initiative and entrepreneurship of energy, rather than Saudi oil.

By: Matt Paul Hardy

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