By Steve Windisch (jibbguy)
April 8, 2011
The below is a possible Letter to an elected official. We would urge you to please write one and send it, letting them know this subject is both important to us all, and to our planet. Sadly, due to terrible events, NOW is the best time for doing this. Despite the BP Gulf Disaster one year ago, despite the Fukushima fission nuclear disaster… These topics are STILL not being seriously discussed in Congress… Major incentives for PV Solar energy is not even a serious topic, if that bizarre fact can be believed. And these topics will not be discussed, and only the ones that the energy lobbyists want will be discussed… as long as we do not work together. It is time for ALL in the environmental movements, all who seek positive change, to work together now. There is something very important, very positive here for the future of the planet that we CAN do: It takes grass roots action, and the will to do something “real”, something we can tell our Grandchildren: “We did it, we helped change the Energy situation for the better”. Please consider working for this, and sending a similar letter to your Senator or Congressperson now, as these issues regarding new offshore drilling and more fission nuclear plants are being considered in Congress as you read this… and unless enough of us do something, will certainly happen… even despite the historic facts of the BP Gulf Disaster, and Fukushima Fission Nuclear Disaster.
Dear Senator or Congressperson,
Many of us know that in the past, you have worked to curb offshore drilling in some cases; for which we thank you. Now we ask you, in light of the BP Gulf Disaster and the Fukushima fission nuclear disaster in Japan, to support the complete ending of offshore drilling; and to not support the building of new highly dangerous fission nuclear plants as well. There are important and obvious reasons regarding “safety” for this, but perhaps the greatest reason is this: They are no longer required.
There are viable energy alternatives, available right now, that are completely clean and safe. Photovoltaic Solar Energy has been proved by nations such as Germany to be an important and viable source of energy. Although Germany is the “cloudiest country in continental Europe”, it still produces more energy from PV solar than all the Fukushima Daiichi reactors combined ever did. The majority of this solar energy comes from homeowners and small businesses generating their own power. Years ago, the German government realized that modest incentives to do so, would pay off greatly. And it has: Germany is now expected to eliminate their entire fission nuclear energy program and has already closed down several aged reactors. Other nations will soon follow; Spain being another great example of what can happen when Alternative Energy is embraced and not ignored. They are investing heavily in it; breaking their dependence on oil and revitalizing their economy. This has also increased interest from foreign investment: The world recognizes the intelligence of such forward-thinking moves and inherently understands the instability and unsustainable and dangerous nature of the present energy situation.
Well within the time needed to build a new fission nuclear plant (8 to 10 years by most estimates), with a few strategic changes in the Solar PV industry, and a few well-placed government incentives to the Small Business Sector and for home owners (and to stimulate industry start-up); that same amount of energy as the proposed new fission “GE”-style fission nuclear plants would provide… and many times more… would be generated across the U.S. via decentralized Photovoltaic Solar Energy. The need to constantly upgrade the power grid would be lessened, and the demand on the private electric utility corporate monopolies would gradually decline… because not only would people begin to generate their own power, but while at work during the day they could provide excess power to the grid helping with industry’s Peak needs. No new fission nuclear, coal, or natural gas electrical generation plants would then be needed and existing and aging fission nuclear plants could be closed to greatly increase Public Safety; while some fossil fuel plants could be modernized to be “cleaner” and more efficient as there will still, and probably always will be, a roll for Centralized Power Generation and Distribution for industry. This will help end the monopolies, and allow true competition to ensue in the energy sector. There could also be centralized “Solar Thermal” large scale plants and wind farms built as well (such as Thermal Solar ones now in service using a field of parabolic mirrors to heat a tower and generate steam), or even eventually new non- radioactive and safe Reactors utilizing new emerging technologies such as “LENR / Cold Fusion”, that the U.S. Naval Research Lab confirmed on the “CBS Sixty Minutes” program to be a valid working technology back in 2009 (totally reversing the 20 years of skepticism regarding LENR), which has been positively and independently confirmed to be valid by over 120 University Peer-Reviewed Scientific Papers from all over the world with undeniable positive results. These LENR / Cold Fusion plants can be built for one quarter the cost, and in less than one third the time, as a “conventional” GE-style fission nuclear reactor station. They utilize energy released from the Deuterium isotope that is present in seawater at a ratio of 1 : 6,500 when it comes into contact with Palladium. There are no inherent dangers with it. Please note it is a “real” and emerging technology, that America should invest in for our future; because other nations are doing so and we have the natural ability to quickly become a leader in this field… but strangely, despite the amazing turn-around mentioned above by the government lab admitting it is valid and important on national TV, very little University research is now being done on it within the borders of the United States, as funding for its study is still being routinely denied here.
What this country desperately needs right now, is a home and small business Solar Initiative. This is essentially a new nationwide campaign to promote and provide incentives for the mass production of solar PV panels, and their installation by individuals and businesses. Because of the fact that solar panels are built of relatively cheap materials such as silicon, the only major concern for their per-unit cost is volume of manufacture. If they are made in much higher quantities, their price to consumers will drop dramatically exactly the same as the “PC Revolution” or “PC Memory”, also made of cheap silicon, caused the price of those items to drop by a factor of literally dozens of times. Right now, a homeowner installing a 5 kilowatt system, could expect to pay up to $60,000 ; with a Return of Investment period of roughly 20 to 24 years (depending on their cost of electricity now, when buying from the local privately owned electric utility). And these current prices for installing PV Solar have been actually increasing the last 3 years, not falling!
The Solar Initiative works to greatly lower that cost and “ROI”, to four years or less. That is the cusp point many feel will allow the industry to take off by itself without need for further government incentive; as millions more people and small businesses happily install home solar energy systems… because it saves them a great deal of money, and because they want to help end pollution and to see our Nation be energy self-sufficient; doing their own part to insure there are no more “wars for oil”, no more “2008 Oil Price Bubbles” based purely on speculation, no more “BP Gulf Disasters”, no more “Fukushima Fission Nuclear Disasters”… no more being held under threat by Big Oil and fission nuclear. They will gladly do it for no more worries of planetary catastrophe caused by our continued out-of-control use of fossil fuels. When electricity can be cheaply, cleanly, and safely made by us at home and in our small businesses, we all have more say and “power” in our lives, and more money staying in our own pockets instead of going to polluting monopolies.
There is something else that Alternative Energy installers will tell you, as it is a common experience: When home owners and small businesses look into this subject and consider investing, they begin to start thinking about their energy consumption differently. They begin to consider energy usage seriously, and nearly everyone who installs these systems, naturally decreases their energy footprint significantly and use less energy over-all… In other words it is the greatest motivator for conserving energy, because people take greater responsibility for their energy use when they make it themselves. Obviously PV Solar energy has no “fuel”, other than the “Sun”. Cost is about installation and maintenance. A larger system is more costly, but produces more (and will often produce an excess, which can be sold back to the Grid via an electronic “Grid Tie Controller” that “runs the meter backwards” while the homeowner is away at work). A smaller system is cheaper but does not supply the entire need. Independent Off-Grid solar PV systems have no Grid Tie, and generally utilize batteries to store energy: These are common in marine and rural “off-grid” areas but will not be the major thrust of a suburban and urban Solar Initiative for which there will usually still be connection to the “Mains” power grid.
Besides the clear imperatives for moving to energy sources that are not a danger to society and the Public Health (underscored by the ongoing tragedies of the BP Gulf Disaster and the Fukushima Fission Nuclear Disaster), there are many other very important benefits from a Solar Initiative. For one, it will soon create millions of good jobs. New factories can be opened in now-closed up buildings… their forlorn grass-speckled parking lots sitting vacant from their previous tenet “moving offshore to China”, full again with Hope and Prosperity: Helped by government loan guarantees and tax incentives all over our country; made to happen spontaneously by many small and medium sized business entrepreneurs. This will offset any possible lost jobs in the energy sector, and supply dozens of times more jobs than any dangerous drilling or fission nuclear energy scheme would. New factories opening in the hills of West Virginia, atop the ruins of steel mills in Cleveland and Pittsburgh, along the Louisiana Gulf Coast… all across the country: Producing all the “AC Inverters”, “Grid-Tie Electronic Controllers”, roofing fastening systems, wiring, and PV solar panels needed to power America greenly from the ground up; with many more jobs yet for installation and service: Good jobs that the middle class, and the non-University educated need desperately now. It means good clean energy to power electric cars.
What ever money the U.S. government spends for the Solar Initiative, would be quickly paid back several times: Not only would Unemployment Compensation drop significantly as well as social service and Food Stamp costs; but new much greater tax revenues from a re-vitalized, prosperous economy would greatly help and could completely eliminate budget shortfalls both Federally and State-wide. As you know, such gains “boot strap” throughout the entire economy: Retail, services, tourism… all sectors eventually benefit. These new and revitalized businesses would all be paying their fair share of taxes; unlike corporations such as Exxon Mobile and General Electric who receive government largess and special privilege, yet pay little back.
So instead of a highly questionable “nuclear renaissance” that benefits some of the wealthiest and most profitable corporations in History, such as General Electric (now being looked upon with tremendous suspicion by a newly-wary public who understand that the fission nuclear industry’s claims of “total safety” are simply lies)… a situation where U.S. taxpayers and electricity consumers are expected to pay for the building of new fission nuclear plants that only monopolies profit from through both specific rate hikes to people, and Federal government loan underwriting (these energy monopoly corporations’ stocks are the “bluest of the blue chips”, and they certainly don’t need the People to do anything for them)… instead there could be a REAL Renaissance for the entire nation, not a phony corporate one. A nation and Middle Class once again made strong with an economy governed by the busy and productive workings of “Main Street” and entrepreneurial enterprise in TRULY Free Markets, not the highly questionable legality and dangerous speculations of “Wall Street”, not the monopolies and “phony capitalism” and “corporate welfare” of the present energy sector. I would ask you to consider, that some of these electrical and energy corporations have not changed their market positions in over 6 decades. As you know, in a real free market, that is simply not plausible. In fact, it stinks to high heaven: And it is time that we addressed and ended what they do; because it is a danger of ALL of Capitalism, and a stain on honest business people and corporations who pay their fair share in taxes, and have to honestly compete in the marketplace…. often on a tilted playing field.
The energy sector has long been taken for granted and ignored by the American people who rarely questioned it. This is now changing rapidly. Some have insinuated that calling for green energy is somehow “socialist”. That is not the case at all: In fact, it is calling for real, legitimate capitalism where the playing fields are level, and polluters and those who would put millions in danger with fission nuclear plants and deep-water drilling; can actually be subject to the demands of a fair and free Market instead of being insulated and protected by Federal and State governments that appear to be “in their pocket”. Instituting a Solar Initiative is also a great way to address this growing problem; and these questions brought up here, will be stated again and again as more people take a greater interest in this subject called “Energy” in the United States: A subject that is highly critical to EVERY sector of the economy and society, yet that frankly cannot withstand close scrutiny without serious issues of basic legality coming out. When people look at the energy situation, and conclude it “stinks”, that it is corrupt-appearing or at the very least absurdly illogical, dangerous, and ignoring of clear facts much like a petulant child in denial… It reflects on government and erodes confidence across the board.
Besides the Incentives mentioned (that the Treasury would quickly get back as the best investment possible), government would have another roll here to “kick start” a Solar Initiative and get the Economy of Scale rolling. As you may know, oil corporations such as “BP” are now the largest players in the U.S. solar PV market. And for over 30 years, we have NOT seen any significant movement in solar energy in the United States; despite the constant promises that somehow never materialize (as in most recently, during the 2008 Presidential Election; where despite both Parties claiming to be for it, it disappeared the day after the election… an old and tired story that has now lost all credibility). The Oil Corporation’s “leadership” in solar energy has been an utter and highly suspicious ” FAIL ” (a failure from any objective point of view, but “coincidentally” a financial success from their point of view because this failure has maintained their greatest possible profits). So it is now obvious these oil corporations such as “BP”, “Chevron”, and “Exxon Mobile” should be urged, and even forced, to sell off all their solar PV holdings; because of the inherent issues of Illegal Trusts, RICO Act Racketeering, and Stock Fraud that comes from these corporation having Public Stock and their main business being selling oil at highly profitable prices in a near-monopoly situation where they also control the Supply, and prices themselves via speculation on the Energy Commodities Markets. So, to best create an all-new and truly “business-friendly” environment free from any hint of corruption, and to institute a level playing field for all regarding Energy… new legislation that bans energy corporations from such inherently suspect business practices need to be created. It has been over a century since Teddy Roosevelt worked for these goals: Yet, this situation with Energy clearly breaks the Intent, if not the Letter, of the Law. Also, certain important Patents and discoveries for significantly higher Efficiency solar PV panels are not seeing the light of day or are not being properly pursued: This needs to change. Better efficiency for solar PV panels, means lower prices and “R.O.I.” … it ultimately means fewer panels needing to be installed on our roofs to produce the same amount of Watts. Right now, the best available commercially is “19% Efficient”. Within a short time, it is very likely that panels that are over 30% Efficient can be seen on the market: If it were a truly free market; because right now, I would submit to you that this greater efficiency is a “political” matter and not a Scientific one. The evidence for higher efficiency solar PV existing for many years is clear and widespread. Frankly, this subject of the oil corporations also dominating the solar PV market cannot withstand close scrutiny at all.
It is our duty as Americans, to see that The Rule of Law is not subverted by these energy giants… no matter how much money they have, how many lobbyists they can muster, or how powerful they are around the world. Such a move to break up these energy trusts would be very uplifting and pleasing to many Americans who now, rightly, have a low opinion of the energy situation in the United States; where we are lagging behind other nations when we could instead be a world leader, inspiration, and example in Alternative Energy; and we can all see how the endless promises have produced nothing of value, with only the cynically false promises we have heard for over 30 years now as proof. But perhaps the most important point is thus: We simply cannot go on as before. There is more at stake now than “profits”, more than powerful corporations’ desires. The health of our entire planet is at stake; as the last two years have clearly proved. And we cannot falter or delay any more and retain any plausibility. Thirty years of delay was too long; as proved last year in the Gulf of Mexico; where widespread alternative energy would have seen to it that expensive and highly risky deep water drilling would have never happened, simply for economic reasons alone…. and a new round of expensive and dangerous fission nuclear plants would never even be considered, let along publicly funded (as is now the current “plan” in Congress).
We must begin to seriously move now to alternative energy; not just with phony rhetoric as in the past… but with real, decentralized home energy production across the board: As the nation of Germany proves beyond doubt, is a viable and valuable solution. Solar PV energy can provide that right now with very little disruption; the “science” is clearly there right now, and it can provide so much else beneficial to our Middle Class and ecology as well. I submit to you, that a Solar Initiative can greatly help bring this nation both greater Security, and prosperity.
As an aside, Dr. Daniel Nocera of M.I.T. has made a very significant discovery for using solar energy to produce Hydrogen gas from water efficiently (the “H” to then be used as a fuel), mimicking the way plant leaves work. This is an excellent energy storage medium for nighttime power use; and greatly improves the general all-around viability of solar energy in general not just as an auxiliary supplier during sunny days, but “24/7” . Please look into it; as a researcher in Alternative Energy field for several years, I can promise you it is of the greatest importance and well worth your time. It is Peer-Reviewed proof from a prestigious source, that the age of oil and fission nuclear is now about to end… for the good of everyone: If only we decide to recognize this fact and stop PRETENDING that real, viable, and safe Alternatives do not exist. America cannot afford to be the last to do this, just to protect the profits of some corporations. We need to be among the first, as even these corporate entities can eventually benefit if they go along instead of continually attempting to stop it all from happening… like “kings” standing on the shore and absurdly demanding the tide stop. This tide cannot be stopped: Oil, coal, and fission nuclear are on the way out as fuels; this is inescapable fact that needs to be finally acknowledged. Their pollutions, disasters, corruptions, and inherent dangers to Humanity have seen to that… and the lies of their industry advocates have been exposed for all to see.
In many ways, a Solar Initiative, along with the embracing of other alternative technologies such as Wind Power and geothermal, is “The Way Out” for us all; with many coincidental benefits to our economy, financial system, third world poverty and hunger, and water availability; as all the fears about future water supplies are always based on calculations done using the current expensive and “scarce” energy paradigm. When energy is cheap and plentiful, so is water and food. Please consider putting forth such legislation, and / or supporting others who do (and please vote against offshore drilling and building more highly dangerous fission nuclear plants). America, and our planet, need you: To help end the very questionable and dangerous “Energy” situation in this country. Please do so, even if bucking the present but fleeting political trends… for the good of America, and for the good of our planet and future.
One hundred years from now, historians will look back at this end of “The Petroleum Age”, with scorn and damning questions about how, and why, these “inexplicable” situations regarding Energy existed in the United States. I am confidant you will be numbered among the “good guys” in that history; the ones who tried to work for positive change in a negative and dangerous situation.
[YOU: Someone who seriously wants to work for positive change in this world]