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|California State Government||October 7, 2003 Election|
Meeting the Energy Challenge
By Gerold Lee GormanCandidate for Recall of Gray Davis; State of California
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California has always been a leader with respect to the issues of protecting the environment and making proper use of our natural resources. We need to be thinking now not only about how we are going to solve our energy needs though 2006, but rather we need to see that we have an opportunity to take positive steps that look forward well into the next several decades.Meeting the Energy Challenge
California has always been a leader with respect to the issues of protecting the environment and making proper use of our natural resources. We need to be thinking now not only about how we are going to solve our energy needs though 2006, but rather we need to see that we have an opportunity to take positive steps that look forward well into the next several decades. It needs to be pointed out however, before I go any further with that line of reasoning - that global petroleum production is expected to peak sometime around the year 2020. After that, the current thinking is that it will be downhill from there on out. We cannot bet the future that some miracle of technology such as nuclear fusion is going to suddenly save the day. Rather, we need to further develop those alternative energy sources that are a part of the here and now - just as fast as they can possibly be deployed by prudent, economically feasible means.
Thus if a particular homeowner pays $10,000 to have a grid-tie system that provides 1 kilowatt installed, and suddenly a few years from now such systems become available for under $3,000 - is it fair to the early adopter to remain on the hook for the full balance of the cost of that particular system? That's where a modification of the Solar tax credits would kick in. Instead of offering the homeowner or business entity a one time cash tax credit for installing such a system, wouldn't it be better to guarantee to that homeowner or entity that they will not be penalized for being one of the early adopters? The State would do this by watching the competitive costs of providing power via conventional sources, and by tracking the cost of providing and deploying comparable solar technologies. If there is a sudden drop in the cost of deployment, then the early adopters would receive economic parity with their later adopting neighbors. Presto - now everyone on the block wants solar power yesterday!
So how does this solve the "power crisis?"
OUCH! This seems to imply that if this state had invested a few billion dollars in developing more solar power before the power crisis - then there wouldn't have been a crisis to begin with. Consider this: if the cost of solar cells is around six dollars per watt output, and the State was gouged for $12 billion - then that means that the amount we the taxpayers were gouged could have paid for two billion watts worth of solar panels. That's equal the output of two nuclear power plants, capable of providing enough extra power to meet the spot energy needs that we have been faced with. This is something to think about, since it implies that the manufactured "power crisis" might have been prevented if alternative energy sources had been deployed on a larger scale before the existing leadership of the State sold us out only to be held hostage by the power czars. Now regrettably, that money that has been flushed out of state because that was not done. So where does that leave us?
Edited: 09-08-2003 2:49AM Copyright 2003 Gerold Lee Gorman
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