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Is Obama Oily or True to Renewable Energy?: Policy Starts From the Top

August 22, 2010

Where are we going? In terms of renewable energy, day-by-day it seems the U.S. is going nowhere, while even emerging countries are charging ahead. Even if the U.S. is not part of the team, at least other countries are doing something and have policies in place, to reduce their reliance on imported oil.

Whether the driver is economic, national security  or environmental or any combination thereof, other countries are tryin’, trying real hard to do something right. Sure the U.S. bestows a continuous stream of rhetoric, but  what has this brought, where are the gains. OH, forgot, the DoE and EPA are purportedly doing something, but appear to be working in a vacuum, again, what has all the $ brought us to date in terms of a doable and realistic renewable energy policy.

For right or wrong, the most tangible action coming from the Obama Administration is “Senate Democrats Kill Climate Control Bill.” In the meantime, the pumps are still pumping and our dollars keep flowing to foreign shores. Again, the question is not “Climate Change – Fact or Fiction,” but rather an ever growing export of our dollars for foreign goods and services, which includes petroleum. It is not only a concern to save the birds, but an issue of both extreme national and economic security.

The true news is (EIA 2008 World Oil Consumption: http://tinyurl.com/barry-stevens18 ):
• The United States of America is the world’s largest energy producer, consumer, and net importer.
• U.S. oil production has been declining for years. In 2005, Hurricanes Katrina and Rita slashed oil output from the Gulf of Mexico.
• The U.S. is the world’s largest consumer and second-largest producer of natural gas.
• The U.S. has the world’s largest coal reserves, with the Western U.S. accounting for 55 percent of current U.S. coal production.
• U.S. electricity demand is increasing, as are prices.

As reported in EIA’s “Annual Energy Outlook 2010 with Projections to 2035,” U.S. has recently experienced a slight decline in energy consumption and petroleum demand, which is projected to expericne a small decline or remain relatively flat from 2008 to 2035 (see: http://tinyurl.com/barry-stevens16).

However, in terms of oil consumption the (EIA 2008 World Oil Consumption: http://tinyurl.com/barry-stevens17 and http://tinyurl.com/barry-stevens18 ):
1. U.S. ranks #1 with >10 million barrels of oil per day,
2. China ranks #2 with 7 to 10 million barrels of oil per day,
3. Japan ranks #3 with 4 to 7 million barrels of oil per day,
4. India , Russia, Germany, Brazil, Saudi Arabia, Canada, South Korea, and Mexico taking the 4th spot with 2 to 4 million barrels of oil per day, and
5. France, Iran, United Kingdom, Italy, Spain, and Indonesia ( 1.3) taking the 5th position with 1 to 2 million barrels of oil per day.

I am sorry, if I am wrong, tell me so, and I will shut up. If not, it’s time to put our heads together to cause real action.

Ever hear of a “Virtual March on Washington?”

This is a non-Pickens Plan. It’s Our Plan

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. August 23, 2010 7:06 AM

    Hey Barry,

    We’ll have a lot on this topic at our conference – and you seem to have a lot to say on it. Interested in joining?

    http://www.solarpraxis.de/en/conferences/pv-power-plants-2010-usa/general-information/

    Best,

    Dave

  2. August 23, 2010 10:30 AM

    Barry: Your piece is important, our National Security is at stake, and we must stop the exportation of our precious dollars for oil to those empires that wish to destroy us. The DOE and EPA have only created roadblocks for new technologies that must be brought to market now, not later and have lined the pockets of laboratories that are currently backed up testing these new technologies looking for affirmation to gain market share.

    The North American Electric Reliability Council (NERC) estimates that demand
    for electricity in the U.S. will grow by over 19 percent during the next decade. At
    the same time, however, currently committed electric capacity is projected to
    grow by only six percent.

    We cannot build our way out of this mess and therefore must deploy demand side solutions immediately.

    One technology that is ready to be deployed is LED Lighting . As the USA manufacturer of the world’s most advanced LED Lighting product, I have consulted with Sonepar USA, an international electrical distributor to develop the most reliable Renewable Solar Street Lighting System, made right here in the USA.

    It is ready to be deployed to eliminate all of the electricity used for municipal streetlighting.

    According to CO2 estimates from U.S. Climate Technology Cooperation Gateway (U.S.-CTC Gateway) there are 4,424,361 streetlights in our nation’s ten largest metropolitan statistical areas that use an estimated 2,988,500,000 kWh of electricity annually producing the equivalent of 2.3 million metric tons of CO2.

    Cities throughout our broken country are resorting to taking their Streetlights out of commission in order to survive their budget gaps. Citizens are put in harms way having to walk their neighborhood streets at night without light!

    Utilities line their pockets as shareholders reap the rewards of the carbon enterprise.

    I challenge any municipality that wants to close their budget gaps and get off carbon and leave their Utility to embrace and deploy our Solar Street Lighting System. Capital is freely available for this activity.

    Those that have the courage to act and take a stand will be rewarded with immediate cash flow and will have their streets illuminated by the great gift our Creator endowed us with: The Sun. May G-d bless America.

  3. August 23, 2010 1:15 PM

    Man, I couldn’t agree with you more. Just wanted to let you know that this sales and marketing manager for a production company was on your side. Keep up the good work.

  4. August 23, 2010 1:23 PM

    Government investment in strategic businesses has been around forever. It maybe free land for farmers, in exchange for future taxes (yes free government land is a subsidy), ultra cheap oil leases, state and local tax giveaways and grants for companies to move to a particular location, tax breaks for high risk investments (VCs and buyout companies get a great deal of breaks as they are percieved to be helping the economy). Other breaks are more subtle, for example we pick up the health bills through medicare for all the pollution health effects (among the many polluters are the coal and oil industries), well known is the cost of war to keep our oil lines open these costs are not allocated to fuels, environmental clean-ups and remediation tend to be picked up by the governement (recall the limmit of liability after the Exxon-Valdez incident, many super-fund sites). Then there is the last subsidy, that is almost invisible, long term development and infrastructure, for example the internet (no Google, without the internet…), if the internet was so important, why was it not funded with private capital? Were were the visionary VC’s?

    Now on to clean energy, biofuels in particular, the current tax credits barely level the playing field with the competition. And these incentives are a good investment in the US economy. Instead of importing oil or extracting it from off-shore, you can grow and refine fuel here. Reduction in trade deficit and local job creation (with the well known multiplier effect) should provide further motivation to the economy. This industry is in its infancy, where investment and support is most important. The 30 years of minimal tax breaks were at best ad-hoc, with no well defined long term policy to provide the private sector some certainty for investment, only over the past 5 years has there been some consistency in some areas of clean energy.

    Clean energy is a good investment for the US, short and long term, and like most other industries it requires the framework and certainty of a long term view and policy that will allow private capital to come in. While Obama has personnally supported clean energy, our congress has deadlocked on almost all policy issues, so there is nothing to show…Hope we get a little more vision when they come back to work.

    Caveat: we, in Texas, have invested our tax dollars (state) in the oil industry for many years and the payout for the state has been quite good. The Federal Government may find similar payout in clean energy.

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