Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Rave Number One - Solar Power and the OPEC Oil Teat

Today’s Rave – Middle East Oil

Today is the anniversary of the bombing of USS COLE in Yemen.  I know the Captain of the ship personally.  I have some idea of the suffering the families and crewmembers have, but can only imagine the hell he is in, since 17 shipmates were lost on his watch.

So, why did the COLE get attacked?  Because of our military actions in the Middle East (e.g. bombing Iraq continually since Desert Storm), and our insatiable thirst for OPEC oil.

I’d like to focus on the oil issue in this rant.  It is vital for our national security, as well as our national economy, to get off the teat of OPEC oil, and the sooner the better.  It is time to push our elected representatives to kick the oil lobbyists out of their offices and divorce themselves from the oil lobby interests.

So you might ask – if we don’t get OPEC oil any more, how do we go on?  I have a multi-point plan that would do just that:
·      With the advent of the Nissan Leaf, the Chevy Volt and the yet to be released plug-in Toyota Prius, the day of the electric car is here.  We need to provide huge incentives to get people to get into electric, rather than internal combustion powered cars.
·      How will we charge these cars?  Simple.  We keep hearing about the insufficient electric generation and transmission capacities that our national electric grid has. So, let’s have the electric utilities buy, in bulk, solar panels, and lease them to home-owners. This would tremendously reduce the cost of attaining solar power.  Having a panel on every house takes a huge burden off of the transmission systems.  The peak electric demand is during the day. With lots of solar panels out there, the utilities would not need more generation capacity – just a way to store the surplus of solar power generated.  This would solve several problems in one act.
·      Enact, immediately, a floating Federal gas tax, to keep gas up to at least $4.50 a gallon.  This would provide further incentive to drivers of gasoline/diesel cars to reduce fuel usage or convert to electric.  The additional tax revenues could then prompt more road and bridge upkeep/upgrade work, generating new jobs.
·      Since electric cars driven off of solar panels would no longer contribute to the gas tax, there needs to be a way to make up for this.  So, charging stations in houses would need to have meters tracking the amount of electricity used to charge the car. There would need to be a fuel tax on this electric usage, irrespective of the source of the electricity.  Cars that are charged at public charging stations would pay that tax as part of the fee for using the charging station.

If we could get enlightened leaders to enact this plan, we could very quickly get off the OPEC teat, not to mention the other benefits of new jobs created, increased electric generation capacity without use of carbon or nuclear fuels, and reduced air pollution.

I welcome feedback on my first Rav’s Rave.

1 comment:

  1. Jaron, I'm so glad you've started a blog.

    My primary comment on your ideas for reducing oil dependence, which are a great start, in my opinion, is that it assumes a middle-middle-class or higher economic starting point. Those who can least afford the increased gasoline tax can also least afford an upgrade to an electric vehicle, even with a hefty tax credit. Certainly in cities and other areas with a good public transportation infrastructure, it would encourage greater energy efficiency through increased use of public transportation. Unfortunately, for most of this country, there is inadequate, outdated or non-existent public transportation.

    If there were a concurrent investment in public transportation infrastructure, this could be a workable plan, but that is a political non-starter in these tough economic times.