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Proposed Action Plan For Alternative Renewable
Initially, we must make substantial, strategic investments allowing our population to work to replace 19th-century energy technologies that depend on dangerous global-warming carbon-based fuels with modern 21st-century technologies that use fuels that are essentially free and carbon-free: the sun, the wind and the natural heat of the earth.
If we make these commitments, we should be able to produce the bulk of our electricity from carbon-free sources within 10-20 years. At the same time, this action plan would offer solutions to our global warming, climate crisis as well as our economic crisis by creating a million or more new jobs that will not be outsourced.
1. President-elect Obama and the new Congress should offer substantial incentives for investment in construction of concentrated solar thermal plants in the Southwestern deserts, wind farms in the corridor stretching from Texas to the Dakotas and geothermal plants in thermal locations that could generate substantial electricity. At the same time, we should encourage the development and use of small solar systems.
2. We should plan and construction a unified, national smart grid for the transfer of renewable electricity from rural areas to urban areas where it is needed. New high-voltage, low-loss underground lines should be designed with smart attributes that provide consumers with sophisticated information and easy-to-use tools for conserving electricity, eliminating inefficiency and reducing their energy bills. The costs of this modern network grid would be in the order of several hundred billion over 10 years, but this is less than the continuing losses of American business of hundreds of billions due to the rolling failures endemic to our current fragmented and antiquated electricity lines.
3. The U.S. should establish a price on carbon in the U.S. and lead the global effort to replace the Kyoto Protocol in 2009 with a more effective Copenhagen convention that caps global CO2 emissions and encourages nations to invest efficiently to reduce global warming, including by curtailing deforestation and promoting and investing in carbon sequestration methods.
4. We should assist America's automobile industry, including not only the Big Three but innovative new startup companies to convert rapidly to plug-in hybrids that can utilize the newly generated renewable electricity. In combination with the unified grid, we could create a nationwide fleet of plug-in hybrids that would help solve the problem of electricity storage. The grid system would allow us to charge cars during off-peak hours and during peak hours, when fewer cars are on the road, they could contribute their electricity back into the national grid.
Many experts are touting the concept known as "vehicle-to-grid" aka V2G. In a V2G system, plug-in hybrids offer a method for the grid to balance the amount of energy generated with the amount of energy being consumed. Millions of cars, each with several kilowatt hours of storage capacity, would act as a gigantic buffer, charging when the system generates too much power and returning it to the grid when there are short demand peaks. Hence, in a V2G system, the batteries of millions of plug-ins would function as buffers to match supply and demand and help keep the grid stable.
5. We should implement a nationwide effort to retrofit all buildings with better insulation and energy-efficient windows and lighting. It is estimated that 40 percent of carbon dioxide emissions in the U.S. emanate from buildings. Eliminating that source of pollution will save money for homeowners and businesses.
The United States should take the leadership role in securing a global solution and agreement to guarantee the future for many generations to come. America has the ingenuity and courage to design and adopt the necessary global energy transformations that will change our culture from a depleting one into a self-sustaining civilization.
In resolving our energy crisis, we will need to carefully address the role that nuclear energy may play in combating climate change. Nuclear energy is one of the largest, non-carbon emitting sources of electricity available today.