This is my letter that I have sent to my Maryland Senators and Members of the House from Maryland
Dear Senator or Representative:
I have traveled to over 20 countries around the world and I firmly believe that the United States has done a lot to clear the air of pollutants. I also believe that there is much more that would could and should do. I have looked for an outlet to push forward the ideas and ideals of an alternative energy solution set for years and recently decided to do something about it. I am starting with the Perkins Plan, but I intend to do far more that just be a part of this movement. I will be proactively engaged in changing the world and the atmosphere we breath by changing the way we produce and consume energy.
We the people of the United States of America deserve a coherent energy policy that looks toward an energy independent future.
There are numerous examples of nations working toward energy independence. Brazil, for example, has already achieved this goal through sugar cane ethanol and increases in their domestic drilling program, resulting in stable fuel prices not subject to international fluctuations. Many Brazilian alternative fuel vehicles are manufactured by Ford and General Motors but are not available for purchase in the United States. This is just simply wrong.
One thing we could change right now is to support the production of sugar cane to produce ethanol Without subsidies you would have no corn ethanol. It costs as much energy to produce it as you get out of it. But sugar cane based ethanol produces nine times the amount of energy it uses to produce it.
We could also have a more robust energy credit program that would make it impossible to ignore alternative energy.
For the cost of what our legislators (you) give away in tax credits, we could build wind farms and solar farms and geothermal plants to replace over 25% of the oil consumption in the United States. In some places, even whole states, you could replace over 75% of the oil consumption with just these three forms of alternative energy sources. Most of the rest could come from existing nuclear plants or from the expansion of existing nuclear plants. Bringing a few new nuclear plants on line would not hurt either.
Some countries are going the route of ethanol based fuels for cars or electric cars. There are over 8M cars driving on natural gas in the world and we have very few. We could change that pretty easily. We have the gas reserves to make this work for at least a couple of decades. Some countries are moving toward methanol. Brazil is essentially energy independent. Other counties have national policies in place that will move them toward energy independence such as Iceland with geothermal energy, Denmark, Sweden and Israel.
What do we have? I know this is a rhetorical question. But to be blunt, we have pretty much nothing. I can help you change that. I am not a whiner, I am a doer. If you want a policy, I can write you one. Just ask. How about producing 20% of our needs from wind, 20% from solar, replace 20% of our oil imports with domestic natural gas in natural gas vehicles and increase our output of nuclear to 40% (from 20% today). This would reduce our dependence on foreign oil by about 80%. What is so wrong with that? I could do it. I don’t have the money, but if I did, I could do it. There are a lot of people out there that are smarter that me that could do a better job than me, but I could do it. The French produce 80% of their electrical needs with nuclear. They are not smarter than we are, are they?
Aren’t there some upsides in this? The US auto industry would get a shot in the arm. Wouldn’t the US farm industry benefit? Wouldn’t the gas industry benefit? Wouldn’t the nuclear industry benefit? Wouldn’t a lot of other industries benefit like the companies that make batteries for electric cars? And wouldn’t we change our balance of trade in our favor? And couldn’t we recover these costs through existing taxes on gasoline, payrolls, etc that will increase as new jobs are created? Over the long run this will pay for itself.
I am also joining up with T. Boone Pickens and I am endorsing his plan. Right now it is not fully fleshed out, but the straw man is certainly there. It is a starting point.
One thing I have to say is this. For those who say that it would take to much land area to use solar to even make a dent, I say, hogwash. If you were to come up with the money to pay for the solar panels and the infrastructure to place those panels appropriately in right of ways, parking lots, roof tops, military bases, government lands and places that are essentially paved over today, we could replace 10% or more of our need for electricity without taking up one square foot of useable, useful or arable land. I will repeat this one point for effect, “without taking up one square foot of usable land”. Pass a bill, give me access to what I want as outlined above (I will help you structure the language), give me the money and give me the laws that require local utilities to purchase everything I can produce at 20 cents a kilowatt hour and I will supply 10% of electrical demand of what the United States consumes today in less than 20 years. And then I will pay you, the federal treasury, back, every cent you gave me, with a bonus.
T. Boone Pickens is going down the wind power route and the natural gas for cars route. I support this whole heartedly. You need to look real hard at what he is proposing. I just want to take it much further.
Paying any nation in the Middle East for one drop of oil is nutty at best. Regardless of how much we want to work effectively with moderate Middle Eastern nations, some of the money we send over there gets into the hands of terrorists. We send hundreds of billions of dollars over there. Even a tiny percentage will fund every terrorist in the world for a lifetime. We have to stop sending so much money over there. If we can’t get it from Mexico, Canada or the Southeastern Pacific Rim countries, then we should not be buying it in my humble opinion.
Eventually we have to clean up the environment. Someone will demand it and we will do it one day. So why not start now. We could reduce pollution of our air, water and ground by moving to solar, wind, geothermal. If we could run a calculation for what it is going to clean up the mess we have not yet made and invest that in wind, solar and geothermal we could make a huge difference in our energy future.
We need more jobs in this country. Building new solar, wind and geothermal plant will generate more jobs, new jobs, higher paying jobs which in turn will increase the tax base at the local, state and local level.
I want to provide a more livable, enjoyable, breathable environment for my children. Some people want an instant profit. We must be at odds. You can help me. I think you have already done enough for the folks who want an instant profit (some would call it obscene profits). To do what I want requires no technological advancements what-so-ever. Think about that. Most of the time we are saying, “Well, when we develop the next new technological advancement we will be able to solve the problem”. What is our excuse now? The excuse is simple, we don’t have a plan. But we could have a plan. I could write a plan. But you, the legislative community has act on the plan. Call me if you want one. But don’t call me if you are not serious. Or you can adopt what T. Boone Pickens has proposed. Bottom line, you need a plan and they are available. We can get you a plan. You have to act on it.
I ask you to support the Pickens Plan in your sphere of political influence and to help us achieve energy independence for now and for our children’s future. Enclose is a copy of a modified Pickens’ plan
Our Plan that we would like to be enacted into legislation
1. We need a modern, updated national grid system capable of handling alternative energy sources from multiple providers as advocated by the Pickens Plan. We propose that Congress legislate this national grid for harvesting wind, solar, and other power sources from appropriate locations, including the interior wind corridor, offshore wind sources, the solar corridor in the Southwestern states, and others as established through ongoing research and development. Design and preparation for upgrades and/or new construction should be undertaken in the next 24 months, financed by Federal loan guarantees and a $500Bn grant building program.
2. We need a national net metering standard enacted for all states.
Discussion: Net metering is a tariff that allows you (the people) to have your own renewable energy system located at your house or place of business, allowing you to generate electricity on your premises and trade it against your power usage. Essentially, this means your power meter would run backward when you generated power.
A tariff limitation of 10 kW or 100 kW, as is the case in some states, is generally too small for many businesses. The limitation is tied to transmission line capability, and a recent study conducted in Oregon concluded that 2 MW is an appropriate limitation standard. Several states, including California, Nevada, Oregon, and now New York, have already enacted that standard.
Solution: Make 2 MW the national standard for the net metering tariff limitation and apply it both to individual premises, such as residences or businesses, and to community solar or wind parks.
3. We need community solar and wind farms, not only to supply power within local load and service areas, but also to supply electricity to the grid through net metering. However, the current definition of “customer” in the concept of net metering limits its application to individual locations, such as a residence or business, and does not allow for the application of community co-ops. We need to change that definition to allow for such local initiatives within load and service areas, and to allow for orderly grid management of distributed energy systems.
4. We need a comprehensive incentives program, much like the Europeans but different. We need an energy trust of $50Bn, to be managed by the states, as incentives for individuals, businesses, and industries. These incentives can take the form of either tax credits or rebates to encourage the adoption of the renewable energy technology.
5. We have the technology today for wind and solar energy production, and private venture groups are funding all manner of systems. For example, organic dyes developed by the MIT and new work by spectral spitting by the University of Delaware have the potential for solar efficiencies 50%. In addition to these private groups, the Department of Energy has enacted a $10Bn loan guarantee program, which in June 2008 entered its second round of solicitations. We need to support this program. As well, the SBA’s Office of Technology includes award programs to encourage high-tech and alternative energy research and development projects among America’s small businesses. We need to pass their new Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer programs to provide $300K for phase I (startups) and $2.1Mn for Phase II (expansion and evaluations) with a national goal of $2Bn for these programs.
6. We need a real incentive, not only for American manufacturers to develop more fuel-efficient and alternative energy cars for the American marketplace, but also for Americans to buy and drive these cars.
Discussion: Today Americans are faced with increasing inflationary pressures on their pocketbooks, with higher prices in the areas of energy, food, clothing, and housing. Many Americans are unable to purchase more fuel-efficient cars or convert their current cars to run on alternative fuels. Currently available and future alternatives include the 30 electric car companies in America, some of which have products ready for the market, as well as large automobile manufacturers with forward-looking NG, Flex, hybrid, and electrical cars.
Solution: We need a Federal tax credit ranging from $4K to $16K to assist with the cost of upgrading American automobiles to a minimum mileage of 35 MPG, with an additional $1K credit for every 5 MPG increase above that level.
In addition, the current tax credit of $4K for converting a vehicle from burning gasoline to natural gas should be increased to 50% of the cost of conversion over a three-year period.
7. Finally, we need to enact a 10-year Production Tax Credit for wind, solar, and other renewable energy sources, forcing an end to the “stop and go” policy of past Congresses.