Commentary

Solar Power: Still Emerging?

Posted by tbaker |

By Mikel C. Lolley

The Earth is an isolated system, and like a battery, the Earth has been storing the sun’s solar energy for 4.5 billion years. Stored as heat, deep in the Earth’s core, but also, miraculously, stored in the leaves of plants, and then, over millennia, transformed into coal, oil and natural gas.
Future generations will look back on the fossil fuel revolutions over the past two centuries with dismay. How could modern civilization take these precious finite natural resources and burn them up with reckless abandon? Like any precious natural resource — once spent — gone, and gone forever.

Add to this recklessness, a dose of geo-political history. Revolutions are never top-down affairs, but always bottom-up, carried out on the backs of “the people.” We have known for decades 70 percent of jobs creation in America is in small business, created on the backs of “the entrepreneurs.” Throughout geo-political history, the high Priests of the day relish in their power and control of the new world order, and set out to thwart change. Big-Energy, the high Priests of our day, have been exceedingly effective at market and political manipulation over the past 40 years, conversely exceedingly effectively at thwarting change and innovation in the emerging sector for distributed renewable energy, and including solar PV. If 70 percent of jobs creation is in start-ups, then why would we continue to invest and subsidize a sector that is completely built-out, and invest in a business model predicated on dwindling natural resources? There are no sustainable jobs predicated on dwindling natural resources.

Big Energy doesn’t want to see some new-fangled technology like solar PV that would allow for distributed energy production by “the people.” Big-Energy doesn’t want me to generate my own power? They don’t. Big Energy wants to maintain the status quo for centralized energy production, so as to utterly monopolize and control the “free-markets” of energy production.

I challenge you to find another example in any sector in America where I can produce a widget and then not be allowed to sell that widget at a fair market price. Big-Energy, ‘takes’ what I produce in kWh widgets, sells them to my neighbor, and gives me a credit. All I get is the avoided costs. I cannot expand my business, borrow money or finance the production of kWh widgets on the promise of credits. The utilities would have you believe that to pay a fair market price for my kWh widgets via a mandate, (a Feed-in tariff) is a subsidy. I guess that would make our entire “free” market economy an elaborate Ponzi scheme of subsidies. Forty years is long enough for the thwarted sector of distributed renewable energy to still be struggling to emerge. I see the renewable energy revolution as our greatest opportunity to put America back to work, re-energize our outsourced manufacturing sector, and re-employ our under-cut middle class. I see distributed renewable energy as decentralized and distributed wealth creation. I see renewable energy as a new and powerful economic development tool, ‘retained wealth.’ Retain our dollars, recirculate those dollars in our local economies, and in lieu of exported out of the local economy.

To know physics and world history is to know why renewable energy has been struggling to emerge for 40 years. We must mandate Big-Energy provide me a fair market price for my kWh widgets.
Call it a subsidy. Call it a tax. Call it a Feed-in Tariff. Call it whatever you want. Anything less should be considered “taking” and un-American.

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