Yes! Lets invest in America again. There is nothing more expensive than continuing to do what we are doing.
There are estimates as high as $800 billion annually for the hidden costs of oil and gas in the U.S. That would add $8 to a gallon of gasoline if you paid it at the pump. Oil accounts for up to $300 billion annually of our trade imbalance.
Oil and gas subsidies and tax credits are costing us up to $80 billion annually. The cost of military protection of oil shipments are estimated as high as $100 billion annually. Environmenal and health costs are hundreds of billions.
And then there is all the world conflict associated with oil. We're finding out what that costs.
Something like this proposal published by Scientific American could be done using 1/4 as much public money as we now give oil and gas companies annually.
Scientific American A Solar Grand Plan
from Green Wombat
"The United States could lose more than 116,000 green collar jobs and forgo $19 billion in green tech investment in 2009 if Congress fails to extend two tax credits crucial to the renewable energy industry, according to a new study."
"In recent months, PG&E has signed deals for more than a gigawatt of electricity - enough to light more than 750,000 homes - with solar power plant developers. Such power purchase agreements can take more than a year to hammer out and the permitting and construction of a solar power station can take another three to five years."
"The solar thermal industry is in its infancy but utilities like PG&E (PCG), Southern California Edison (EIX) and San Diego Gas & Electric (SRE) have signed several contracts for solar power plants and negotiations for gigawatts more of solar electricity are ongoing."
"The first solar power plants in California won't go online until around 2010 but the construction and operation of those projects are expected to create thousands of jobs. Like the PV industry, solar thermal companies are dependent on the investment tax credit to attract the big money it takes to finance the construction of billion-dollar power plants. The loss of the investment tax credit would hit California particularly hard."
"Navigant projects an even bigger crash for the wind industry should the production tax credit expire, with installations falling from 6,500 megawatts to 500 megawatts in 2009 with the lose of 76,800 jobs. The wind industry has been continuously buffeted in recent years as Congress has allowed the production tax credit to expire repeatedly only to resuscitate it. In the past, the expiration of the tax credit has resulted in a 73% to 93% drop in the wind market, according to Navigant."
"Representatives from Silicon Valley tech giants, Wall Street investment banks and utilities signed a letter sent to the congressional leadership late Wednesday urging the long-term extension of the 30 percent investment tax credit as well as the production tax credit for the electricity produced by solar, wind, geothermal and other renewable energy systems. Among the signers urging action by March 1 are executives from Google (GOOG), Hewlett-Packard (HPQ), Applied Materials (AMAT), Credit Suisse (CS), Wells Fargo (WFC), venture capitalists Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and utility San Diego Gas & Electric, a subsidiary of energy giant Sempra (SRE)."
Posted by Todd Woody
Here's what solar can do.
"Solar thermal power plants such as Ausra's generate electricity by driving steam turbines with sunshine. Ausra's solar concentrators boil water with focused sunlight, and produce electricity at prices directly competitive with gas- and coal-fired electric power."
"Solar is one the most land-efficient sources of clean power we have, using a fraction of the area needed by hydro or wind projects of comparable output. All of America's needs for electric power - the entire US grid, night and day - can be generated with Ausra's current technology using a square parcel of land 92 miles on a side. For comparison, this is less than 1% of America's deserts, less land than currently in use in the U.S. for coal mines."
Wind has big potential as well. And is cost effective.
"Estimates of the cost to construct nuclear power plants are as high as $4,000 per kilowatt, as compared to about $1,400 per kilowatt for wind projects."
Doing these things will improve the economy, not harm it. Sure there will be some disruptions and adjustment, but the alternative is unthinkable.