Green Party for cutting taxpayer subsidies to big oil
14 sep 14 @ 9:27 am edt
GREENS PUBLISH OIL INDUSTRY SUBSIDY
FIGURE, PUSH FOR DECOMMISSIONING ROLE FOR INDEPENDENT SCOTLAND
Green Yes, the Scottish Green Party's campaign for a Yes vote in the independence referendum,
today (14 Sep) has published new figures which for the first time estimate the public subsidy behind big oil company profits.
The campaign has also published a detailed
report by a leading oil finance author, showing the options an independent Scotland would have to position itself as a world
leader in offshore decommissioning and publicly owned renewables.
The subsidy figure reveals that oil companies receive around £1billion worth of
tax breaks from the UK Government every year - that's roughly £190 from every Scot.
Patrick Harvie, Green MSP for Glasgow and Co-convener of the Scottish
debates its future, discussion over oil has tended to focus on extracting every last drop and burning it, when we know we
simply can't afford to do that for economic and environmental reasons. What has also been overlooked is the huge subsidy we're
all giving the big oil companies. Now that figure's out in the open we should consider the logic of continuing such massive
companies are already throwing their weight around as the vote nears, and an independent Scotland should be prepared to stand
up to that. If Scotland remains part of the UK we will struggle to assert control; with a Yes we can build a genuinely sustainable
economy, reducing our reliance on a declining industry and instead growing the clean technology of the future."
£1bn subsidy figure explained:
We place the average tax break at
around £1.15 billion per annum for the entire UK Continental Shelf. The Scottish proportion of this is approximately
90 per cent or roughly £1.05 billion per year. The 90:10 split is based on Scotland's geographical share and commonly
This total figure is
an estimate based on a combination of Government and industry estimates but very limited data.
The Green Yes graphic includes illustrations of what £1 billion
could deliver instead of subsidising oil industry profits: more renewables, childcare, 25,000 extra teachers, 28,000 extra
Green Yes Energy Independence
briefing - report by Mika Minio-Paluello:
Head of Media
Rick Mullins Independent Green Party for State Senate 38th District
18 aug 14 @ 9:08 pm edt
Rick Mullins is Independent Greens candidate in State Senate Special election.
"Rick Mullins is the positive solution for Virginia's State Senate in the 38th District special election."
said Carey Campbell, Independent Green Party state executive committee.
Mullins is a successful businessman, husband, father, and grandfather. Rick Mullins brings the energy and optimism Virginia
needs for new jobs. " Joseph P. Oddo, Independent Green Party State Chairman.
Mullins is right. Healthcare for every Virginia must be a priority." Gail for Rail Parker, Independent Green Party
state Vice Chair.
"Rick Mullins, The Independent Green Party is proud to endorse
Rick Mullins for State Senate!" Retired U.S. Navy Captain Ron Fisher, Independent Green Party state central committee.
"Rick Mullins will bring jobs to our community. Rick Mullins proves he is a job creator."
George R. "Tex" Wood. Independent Green Party 9th Congressional District Chairman.
Vote Rick Mullins August 19th for State Senate 38th District!
Green Party - Eco for the Economy key to success
17 jun 14 @ 8:35 am edt
ECO FOR THE ECONOMY MEANS SUCCESS
by European industry lobbyists’ is that energy costs are putting them at a “destructive” competitive disadvantage
simply doesn’t stand up to scrutiny. Industry lobbyists will say either that the costs of labour are too high, or that
their big problem is the price of energy. America’s historically low gas prices are at present the cause of yet more
But it’s a lament that rarely holds up under examination of the
facts. All too often, these complaints are part of a lobbying campaign that is essentially political. And when that’s
not the case, we usually find there’s a lot of money at stake in industries that are reluctant to invest in adjusting
to future challenges. And even when corporate leaders know that these investments are necessary, a majority of them still
believe the cost should be paid by the taxpayer. That leads them to threaten using their deadliest weapon, the threat of job
cuts and the relocation abroad of their factories and production operations.
show how wrong they are. Energy costs account on average for less than 3% of gross production costs in Germany, whereas staffing
costs account for about 20%. Even if you look at shares of gross value creation, the energy costs don’t exceed the 10%
mark. Yet, industrial lobbies and trade associations continue to prophesy the end of the Western world.
“The real risks to competitiveness lie elsewhere. All of Europe is dependent on fossil fuel
imports, and not just from Russia”
People, especially in Germany, like
to hold the costs of the ambitious transformation of our energy system – the“Energiewende” –
responsible for rising energy prices. This is mainly in relation to electricity prices, as oil is traded globally and the
oil price for companies, say, in America is structured identically.
But the price of electricity
for industry in countries like Germany has actually decreased in recent years. Electricity prices at the EEX energy exchange
in Leipzig are now at their lowest point for eight years. This can be attributed mainly to the huge expansion of renewables,
and also to the surplus of cheap coal-fired electricity, which in turn is causing CO2 emissions to soar, along with the costs of
unchecked climate change.
Apologists for waning industrial competitiveness fall silent
once a closer look is taken at the current account balance of payments. For years, praise for Germany as the world’s
export champion has been just as loud as complaints that industry’s electricity prices are too high. Of course, the
two don’t add up. Compared to the rest of the EU, Germany’s electricity prices have always been slightly higher,
but this hasn’t stopped us from chalking up economic growth and trade surpluses, while also hugely reducing energy intensity
and primary energy consumption by more than 35% over the last 25 years.
we continue burning coal, oil and gas for as long as it remains affordable, then we can kiss our climate goodbye”
The German Institute for Economic Research (DIW) has rightly pointed out that once again Germany
has disproved the theory that “low energy prices equal reindustrialisation”. In spite of slightly higher comparative
industrial electricity prices, the Federal Republic of Germany has for several years being seeing reindustrialisation. The
driving forces behind this are chiefly efficient environmental and renewable energy technologies. Looking at Europe as a whole,
2013 was the year when the eurozone had the largest current account surpluses since 1997.
industry lobby nevertheless continues to complain, largely because of developments in the U.S. energy market. The U.S. may
have been able to curb energy prices through the aggressive exploitation of shale gas reserves, but for society as a whole,
the effect of those efforts when measured in terms of the environmental aftermath and the failure to modernise, has been horrifyingly
It now looks as if the real reason behind the lobbying campaign by various industries
is the upcoming decision on what targets to set for Europe’s post-2020 CO2 emissions reduction, even though these are
unlikely to be very ambitious. Instead of a 40% decrease, the bare minimum should be a 55% reduction in the EU by 2030 if
we want to uphold the 2°C target. But this isn’t looking promising, and doubtless we will have to foot the bill
for this lack of resolve in a few years’ time.
The real risks to competitiveness
lie elsewhere. All of Europe is dependent on fossil fuel imports, and not just from Russia. Every year, Europe imports €.5
trillion worth of coal, oil and gas, along with uranium. Some 84% of the oil used in the EU is from outside of its borders,
and for uranium, the figure is 100%, of which a fifth comes from Russia. For natural gas, the import figure is 45%.
The European Union is thus indulging in a prosperity transfer of absurd proportions. This dependency
is a real challenge, especially as Europe’s scope for diplomatic action in its dealings with Russia proved to be very
limited when it came to the breach of international law in Ukraine. Europe’s sovereignty is endangered by its staggering
reliance on imports, and it is certainly not in the interest of industries to be reliant for their energy upon unreliable
partners. If we want to break away, though, we must try to counteract our import dependence. One proposed solution is hydraulic
fracturing or “fracking” of shale for gas, but it’s a particularly dubious idea, and not just from an environmental
viewpoint. It is not an option for Europe, and to suggest that a battle with the U.S. over energy prices can be won by increasing
the exploitation of Western Europe’s fossil reserves is very naive.
The key issue
at hand isn’t the availability of fossil fuels; adequate energy supplies are still available, with many yet to be discovered,
so we can, if we choose, continue down the misguided path of fossil-based production and energy supply for another 100 years
or so without seeing an exorbitant price explosion. The environmental problem is a far more serious one. If we continue burning
coal, oil and gas for as long as it remains affordable, then we can kiss our climate goodbye.
The true limit in using finite natural resources doesn’t lie in their availability. It lies in the fact that extracting,
using and burning them is causing catastrophic environmental damage worldwide. If you convert the 2°C climate protection
target into quantities of CO2 that we can still actually emit globally, you have a “budget” of around 800 gigatons. Put
simply, from that standpoint not even half of the reserves of oil, gas and coal which could be extracted today can even be
We must counter the battle cry of Tea Party activists in the U.S. of “Drill,
Baby, Drill” with a counter-cry of “Chill, Baby, Chill”! Leave the stuff where it is; underground. On top
of this, there are other natural resources whose use and extraction also relate to the climate crisis. Producing and processing
steel, cement, paper, plastic and aluminium, accounts for around half of industrial CO2 emissions. Unconventional extraction of oil
and gas is ecologically harmful for many other reasons as well. It consumes far more energy and water than conventional extraction,
and it damages the environment and groundwater at the site of extraction. Oil sands extraction in Canada accounts for 40%
of Canadian CO2 emissions,
with fracking also consuming huge quantities of water.
Mining, which is sharply increasing
around the world, is generally connected with destruction of the countryside, the production of slag and waste, and energy
and water consumption. Air is polluted, soil contaminated, forests axed, seas contaminated by deep-sea drilling, countryside
destroyed by opencast mines. This isn’t the worst dependency, because for a host of resources just a few countries,
sometimes only one, control the market. The Democratic Republic of Congo, for instance, supplies around half of the cobalt
extracted worldwide, that we need for batteries, smartphones or electric cars. The working conditions there are life-threatening
and exploitative, so we cannot import this resource with a clear conscience.
“The expansion of renewables will stabilise electricity prices,
increase security of supply and lower the downstream costs of climate change and high-risk technologies like nuclear power”
The American focus solely on increasing the gas supply will not solve any problems for Europe;
at best it delays them by a few years. Worse, it results in increased energy consumption and at the same time reduces the
incentives for energy efficiency and energy savings. Right now, a temporary increase in supply from the U.S. as the future
main gas exporter could exert downward pressure on world gas prices, including in Europe, but in the medium-term, the upshot
will be a greater thirst for energy. In any case, quenching energy demands will not be easy, while rising CO2 emissions will exacerbate
climate change on an ever more massive scale. It should be clear that the U.S. hasn’t found a solution, but instead
another global time bomb.
The answer to the challenges facing Europe’s competitiveness
can be summed up in four steps. First, the expansion of renewables will stabilise electricity prices, increase security of
supply and lower the downstream costs of climate change and high-risk technologies like nuclear power. And, second, by raising
energy efficiency we will lower the already relatively low share of gross production costs that result from energy costs,
and we’ll be leveraging our technological edge systematically to expand Europe’s market position.
Third, significant savings can come from modernising buildings to make them more energy efficient, and by reducing
vehicle energy consumption. As well as these savings, there are huge investment possibilities, especially for medium-sized
enterprises, and there are also innovation possibilities for Europe’s carmakers. Finally, the need to become less dependent
on energy imports is clear. That would keep value-added inside the EU, and do much to bring about the stable prices, reliable
overall conditions and technological innovation that industry has been calling for. These are the real competitiveness factors.
Photo credit: iene.eu
Indy Green Party's Tammy Prada and Floyd Bayne laid path for Brat victory
13 jun 14 @ 12:52 pm edt
Indy Green Party's Tammy Parada and Floyd Bayne laid path for Cantor upset, and Brat victory
Today's Washington Post gives Independent Green Party leaders Tammy Parada, and Floyd Bayne credit for laying the
path to Cantor's upset in Virginia's 7th District, and the Brat Victory.
The Independent Green
Party has put candidates on the ballot in the 7th for years. Dr. Brad Blanton ran twice. As did Floyd Bayne.
Floyd Bayne was the Independent Green Party candidate for congress in the 7th District in 2010. Tammy Parada managed
Floyd Baynes Independent Green Party campaigns. Floyd Bayne ran again in 2012.
quote today's Washington Post, " Many Bayne supporters would go on to become organizers for Dave Brat. Bayne's
campaign manager became Brat's independent campaign consultant (and Chesterfield county coordinator) who designed Brats election
The Independent Green Party sends our congrats to Independent Green Party
leaders Tammy Prada, and Floyd Bayne.
In 2014 the Independent Green Party has filed a few
thousand petition signatures with the state board of elections to put our Tareq Salahi in the 7th district race in November.
Indy Green Party submits "More Trains Less Traffic" Gandino petitions
9 jun 14 @ 8:36 pm edt
Independent Green Party submits "More Trains, Less Traffic" petition signatures in Virginia's
third congressional district to put Justin Gandino-Saadein on the ballot.
The Indy Green Party is Virginia's most successful on ballot third party in the commonwealth in 100 years.
Independent Green Party
"We are confident our Indy Green Party More Trains, Less Traffic petition signatures will be sufficient to get
Justin on the ballot."
Indy Green Party State Chairman Joseph P. Oddo,
" Justin assured us he supported "More Trains, Less Traffic!" before we began our petition drive."
Indy Green Party state Vice Chair Gail for Rail Parker, " Rail is one million times safer than auto travel.
Rail saves lives."
Highway travel killed 34,000 Americans in 2013, and injured about
Captain Ron Fisher (retired USN), Indy Green Party central
committee, "Rail makes money. Rail pays for itself. Every dollar invested in rail creates 21 dollars in economic benefit."
Dianne Blais, Indy Green Party candidate for the 10th congressional District.,
" We need high speed rail, across Virginia and America. Rail provides national security. Rail cuts dependence on foreign
oil. Rail allows for evacuation in an emergency."
Dr. Ken Hildebrandt,
Indy Green Party candidate in the 5th congressional District, "Indy Green Party rail increases the value of our homes,
businesses, and communities."
Gerry Blais, Indy
Green Party 8th congressional district candidate, "Rail grows revenue for our schools, police, and fire departments."
Tareq Salahi, Indy Green Party 7th congressional district candidate, "We can build dedicated passenger track
on Virginia Rail Express (VRE) for a fraction of cost of roads."
Elaine Hildebrandt, Indy Green Party candidate in the 6th congressional district, "We need High Speed Rail in
the interstate corridor from Winchester, through Stafford, Harrisonburg, Lynchburg, and Roanoke, to Bristol."
Dr. Joseph Galdo, Green Party, supports the Indy Green Party Green New deal
calling for solar jobs, wind jobs, geothermal jobs, rail jobs, conservation jobs "..Solar for our schools".
Join the Independent Green Party today!
This year the Indy Green Party has already succeeded in petition drives placing
congressional candidates on the ballot in almost all of Virginia's districts.
Dr. Joseph Galdo Green Party confirmed on ballot
9 jun 14 @ 8:27 pm edt
Dr. Joseph Galdo Green Party confirmed on the ballot for congress in Virginia's 11th congressional district
Dr. Joseph Galdo, Green Party, Indy Green Party endorsee for congress in Virginia's 11th congressional District.
Joe Galdo, Green Party, endorsed by Independent Green Party to promote More Trains, Less
Traffic. Rail saves lives. Rail grows the economy. Eco for the economy. Rail increases the value of our homes and business.
Rail grows revenue for schools, police, and fire departments.
Join Joe Galdo's Green Party
campaign - eco for the economy!
The Green New Deal: Solar jobs. Wind jobs. Geothermal jobs. Rail
jobs. Conservation jobs.
Join the Independent Green Party today!
Dianne Blais Indy Green Party confirmed on the ballot
9 jun 14 @ 8:21 pm edt
Dianne Blais Indy Green Party confirmed on the ballot for congress in 10th district
Dianne Blais Independent Green Party confirmed on the ballot by state board of elections in the 10th congressional
Dianne Blais, Indy Green Party, wife, mother, grandmother, successful business woman,
Dianne Blais and the Indy Green Party are for More Trains, Less Traffic.
Build rail to save lives. Indy Green Party Green New Deal. Rail jobs. Solar jobs. Wind jobs. Geothermal jobs. Conservation
jobs. Join Dianne Blais and the Indy Green Party today!
Dianne joins her son Gerry on the
ballot for Congress.
Dianne Blais in the 10th district.
Blais in the 8th district.
The Blais Independent Green Party family on the ballot to provide
positive, constructive Green Party solutions.
Gerry Blais Independent Green Party makes ballot for Congress
30 may 14 @ 10:06 am edt
Gerry Blais Indy Green Party confirmed on ballot
Green Party completes another successful congressional petition drive. Virginia's state board of elections informed Gerry
Blais that his petition drive to get on the ballot for congress in the 8th congressional district had succeeded.
Gerard "Gerry" Blais Jr (34) is a husband, father, and successful businessman.
Gerry Blais has a masters degree from George Mason University in environmental defense.
Blais, Independent Green Party 8th congressional district nominee, calls for "More Trains, Less Traffic!"
Gerry Blais says we need to build rail to Ft. Belvior. Build a new passenger rail tunnel under the potomac
to solve the orange crush congestion. Build Columbia Pike Rail.
Green Party and Gerry Blais call for bringing troops and tax dollars home.
Indy Green Party
state Chairman Joseph P. Oddo, "Do not waste another $89 billion tax dollars in Afghanistan for two more years. Bring
those young Americans, and those tax dollars home now!"
Gerry Blais, "We need an auditable
accounting system at the pentagon. Every other federal agency produces auditable financial statements. Yet at DoD, where
most of our tax dollars are spent, there is no auditable accounting system."
Blais and the Indy Green Party call for building the Potomac Yard metrorail station. Build the Cameron Station Virginia
Rail Express (VRE) stop. Put electronic signs for VRE trains at major intersections near VRE train stops.
Gerry Blais and the Indy Green Party support High Speed Maglev rail in the interstate corridor along existing right
Gerry Blais, "Rail saves lives. Rail grows our economy. Rail pays for itself".
Gerry Blais, "Virginia Rail Express needs new dedicated passenger track, so we can
run trains with the same frequency of Metrorail."
Gerry Blais, Indy Green Party, "We
need electronic VRE signs at intersections near every stop, so people can see when the next train runs."
Gerry Blais and the Indy Green Party support the Columbia Pike Rail. The most recent Columbia
Pike Rail study shows that new rail line will create $7 billion dollars in economic growth.
for the Economy is a winner for all Americans." Gerry Blais, Independent Green Party.
Blais is part of the Independent Green Party's mother and son team.
Gerry Blais is the Indy Green
Party nominee in the 8th congressional district.
Dianne Blais is mother to Gerry Blais.
Dianne Blais is the Independent Green Party nominee in the 10th congressional district.
Dianne Blais has filed her petition signatures, and candidate forms with the state board of elections.
Dianne Blais is not yet confirmed on the ballot.
If, and when Dianne Blais also makes
the ballot for congress, the Independent Green Party believes it will make history in Virginia.
Blais and Gerry Blais would be the first ever mother and son team to be on the ballot for U.S. Congress at the same time in
two different districts in Virginia.
Independent Green Party's Mother & Son team. Dianne
(Mother), and Gerry (Son) Blais for "More Trains, Less Traffic!". We need more trains, less traffic. The Independent
Green Party Blais family: "Rail saves lives!" Rail is safer, and more secure. Indy Green Party rail
enhances national security. Rail makes it possible to evacuate quickly in an emergency. Indy Green Party rail increases the
value of our homes, businesses, and communities. Rail creates jobs. Rail grows revenue for our schools, police, and fire departments.
Indy Green Party rail is the positive solution. Gerry and Dianne Blais are for Eco for the Economy - the Indy Green
Party Green New Deal. Solar jobs. Wind jobs. Geothermal jobs. Weatherization jobs. Rail jobs. Conservation jobs. Join
Gerry, Dianne, and the Indy Green Party today!
Be an Indy Green Party candidate for local, state, or federal office.
Dr. Ken Hildebrandt Independent Green Party confirmed on ballot for Congress
29 may 14 @ 5:04 pm edt
Indy Green Party 5th District Chair Dr. Ken Hildebrandt running for More Trains, Less Traffic!
Dr. Ken Hildebrandt, Independent Green Party 5th Congressional District Chairman, confirmed on the ballot for congress.
Dr. Ken Hildebrandt and Independent Green Party are for more trains, less traffic.
Dr. Hildbrandt and the Indy Green Party say to Build Rail Now!
Rail saves lives. Rail
cuts dependence on foreign oil.
Rail makes us safer and more secure. Rail is vital for national
security. Indy Green Party Rail is the positive solution.
High Speed Rail statewide in
the interstate corridor. Light rail in our cities. Dedicated passenger track for Virginia Rail Express (VRE). Rail to every
part of Virginia. Danville, Lynchburg, Charlottesvile, Martinsville.
Hildebrandt and the Indy Green Party are for Eco for the economy. Indy Green Party Solar jobs. Wind jobs. Geothermal jobs.
Conservation jobs. Weatherization jobs.
Indy Green Party Rail - advocated
by Dr. Ken Hildebrandt - grows the value of our homes, businesses, and communities. Rail creates revenue for our schools,
police, and fire departments. Rail is the positive solution.
Dr. Ken Hildbrandt
is the Independent Green Party nominee in the 5th congressional district.
Hildebrandt is Elaine Hildebrandt's husband.
The Hildebrandts are an Independent
Green Party family.
Elaine Hildebrandt is collecting signatures
to get on the ballot as the Independent Green Party candidate in the 6th congressional district.
Elaine Hildebrandt is a retired school teacher. Elaine Hildebrandt is expected to file her candidate
forms, and petition signatures Monday.
If Elaine Hildebrandt makes the ballot
in the 6th congressional district for the Independent Green Party it would be a historic achievement.
Elaine Hildebrandt, and Dr. Ken Hildebrandt would be the first husband and wife team to be on the
ballot at the same time for congress in two different districts in Virginia.
the Independent Green Party family today! Be an Indy Green Party candidate for local, state, or federal office. Be part
of the positive Indy Green party solution.
Gail for Rail Indy Green Party makes ballot for Congress!!!
28 may 14 @ 8:34 am edt
Gail for Rail Parker Indy Green Party on the ballot
Independent Green Party leader Gail for Parker has made the ballot for U.S. Congress in Virginia's first district,
according to the state board of elections.
Gail for Rail Parker is
the elected Independent Green Party state Vice-Chair. A retired U.S. Air Force officer, Gail for Rail was first elected
state Vice Chair of the Indy Green Party in 2005.
Gail for Rail is
a mother, grandmother, retired executive, and successful businesswoman. This is the tenth year in a row the Indy Green Party
has put Gail for Rail on the ballot for local, federal, or state office.
for Rail Parker (IG) is the only woman in Virginia history to appear twice on the ballot state wide for U.S. Senate.
The Independent Green Party and conservative Green Gail for Rail call for More Trains, Less Traffic. More Trains.
More Tracks. More often. Rail saves lives. Rail makes money.
Gail for Rail
Parker and the Indy Green Party call for dedicated passenger track for Virginia Rail Express. High Speed Rail in the interstate
Gail for Rail Parker urges you.
Join the Independent Green Party today!
Be an Indy Green Party candidate for local, state, or federal
Tareq Salahi elected Independent Green Party District Chairman
27 may 14 @ 8:24 am edt
The Independent Green Party of Virginia elects Tareq Salahi to state central committee. Tareq Salahi
will serve as a congressional district chairman on the Indy Green Party statewide committee. Tareq Salahi and the Indy Green
Party are the most active on ballot third party presence in 100 years. The Indy Green Party is dedicated to, "More
Trains, Less Traffic".
Tareq Salahi, Indy
Green Party, "Rail is the positive solution. Eco for the economy."
Tareq Salahi, Indy Green Party, "Build Rail Now! Because rail saves lives. 34,000 Americans were killed
on highways last year. 330,000 were injured. Indy Green Party Rail makes us safer and more secure. Indy Green Party Rail enhances
national security by cutting dependence on foreign oil. Green Party Rail allows for speedy evacuation in an emergency.
Rail makes money. Green Party rail increases the value of our homes, businesses, and community. "
Party web site
Independent Green Party Youtube channel
the Independent Green Party and Tareq Salahi today! Be part of the positive Indy Green Party solution. Be and
Indy Green Party candidate for local, state, or federal office.
Indy Green Party supports Northeast Maglev
27 apr 14 @ 11:42 am edt
Indy Green Party for Northeast Maglev Train
We need "More Trains, Less Traffic"!
Northeast Maglev is a winner for
The Northeast Maglev (TNEM) is a U.S.-owned company based in Washington, DC. We are committed
to bringing the revolutionary Superconducting Maglev (SCMAGLEV) to the Northeast Corridor, the most congested transportation
region in the country.
TNEM is working closely with the Central Japan Railway Company (JR Central), which has led development
of the SCMAGLEV system since its formation in 1987. JR Central also operates the world’s premier high-speed rail line
between Tokyo and Osaka, serving more than 140 million passengers a year.
AN ENVIRONMENTALLY FRIENDLY HIGH-SPEED SOLUTION
reduce congestion on our roads and in the sky, resulting in less pollution. With no “rail noise” and reduced CO2
emissions, it is one of the greenest travel systems available.
Because SCMAGLEV trains levitate inches off of
the ground, there is no noise or vibration generated by the familiar interaction between steel wheels and rails. There are
no dirty diesel engines as trains are propelled by electricity from substations, and its lightweight, aerodynamic design further
reduces energy consumption. In Japan, the CO2 emissions of the SCMAGLEV is estimated to be just one-third of a Boeing 777
And you can feel good about your transportation choice knowing that
the SCMAGLEV meets stringent environmental guidelines for magnetic fields recommended by the World Health Organization.
Learn more at this link.
Green Party elects 14 different Mayors in Bavaria on Sunday
31 mar 14 @ 7:57 pm edt
Green Party makes History - Green Party elects 14 Mayors in single day.
"Ein historischer Abend": Erstmals stellen die Grünen in Bayern zwei Landräte. Im Affären-Landkreis
Miesbach setzt sich Wolfgang Rzehak durch. In Miltenberg am Main gewinnt Jens Marco Scherf. Die Konkurrenz von der CSU ist
Damit dürfte im Landkreis Miesbach wohl kaum einer gerechnet haben - die Region, in der die CSU stets Traumergebnisse von 60 Prozent plus holt, wird nun von einem Grünen-Landrat regiert. Der 46 Jahre alte Wolfgang Rzehak gewann die Stichwahl am Sonntag souverän mit 53,5Prozent. So freudig überrascht waren Rzehak und seine MiesbacherParteifreunde, dass erst einmal keiner von ihnen ans Handy ging.
Sie feierten wohl unter sich. Immerhin, die Grünen-Landeschefin
Sigi Hagl meldete sich sofort zu Wort. "Für uns Grüne ist das ein historischer Abend", sagte sie. "Das
erste Mal stellen wir Landräte, und das sogar in zwei Landkreisen." Die Partei hatte in einem Bündnis mit SPD
und Parteifreien überraschend auch im unterfränkischen Miltenberg den Landratsposten geholt. In Miesbach galt eigentlich Rzehaks Konkurrent Norbert Kerkel (Freie Wähler), als klarer
Favorit. Er kam auf 46,6 Prozent. Die Wahlbeteiligung lag
immerhin bei 43,6 Prozent.
man es sich jetzt leicht machen und sagen, die Miesbacher haben halt denjenigen Kandidaten gewählt, der ihnen als das
kleinere Übel erschienen ist. Denn nach dem Abgang ihres Affären-Landrats Jakob Kreidl(CSU) konnte man überall in der sehr konservativen Region hören, die beiden verbliebenen Bewerber Rzehak und Kerkel
seien gewiss sehr sympathische Männer.
Aber das fachliche Rüstzeug, den Landkreis Miesbach in eine gute Zukunft zu führen,
das habe in Wirklichkeit doch weder der eine noch der andere. Etliche CSUler, darunter auch gestandene Bürgermeister
und andere Mandatsträger, sollen deshalb in so massive Gewissensnöte geraten sein, dass sie zum ersten Mal überhaupt
in ihrer Vita ernsthaft überlegt haben, einer Wahl fern zu bleiben.
- Premiere für die Grünen
in Bayern: Gleich zwei Landräte hat die Partei jetzt. Nach der erwarteten rücktrittsbedingten Wahlschlappe des Affären-Landrats Jakob Kreidl (CSU) hat sich in der Stichwahl Wolfgang Rzehak im Kreis Miesbachmit 53,46 Prozent durchgesetzt. Norbert Kerkel von den Freien Wählern
musste sich mit 46,54 Prozent geschlagen geben.
- Der zweite Grünen-Kandidat
hat es im unterfränkischen Kreis Miltenberg geschafft: Jens Marco
Scherf ist für ein Bündnis aus SPD, Grünen und ÖDP angetreten - und hat mit einem halben Prozentpunkt
gewonnen. Die Bewohner der Stadt Miltenberg haben übrigens auch eine - zumindest für Bayern - eher ungewöhnliche
Wahl getroffen: FDP-Politiker Helmut Demel ist der neue Bürgermeister.
Green Party for More Trains, Less Traffic - Build Rail Now!
30 mar 14 @ 12:04 pm edt
Green Party calls for Auckland Airport Rail by 2025
Green Party calls for Auckland Airport Rail by 2025
The Government must start the Auckland City
Rail Link next year to avoid holding up the development of a rail line to Auckland International Airport, the Green Party
Auckland International Airport has released a 30 year development plan that identifies land
for a rail link to cater for growth in passengers and employees.
“Auckland is well overdue for a rail
link to the airport. The sooner we catch up on rail investment, the sooner we will see the transport and economic benefits,”
said Green Party Transport spokesperson Julie Anne Genter.
“Airport rail will not only provide
a much faster and more reliable way to get to the airport, it will take pressure off the surrounding road network.
need the City Rail Link (CRL) to start urgently, to get five minute train frequency across the existing network – so
we can then expand rail with links to the airport and the North Shore,” said Ms Genter.
the current National Government is holding up progress on Auckland rail by delaying the CRL start by at least five years.
This means airport rail wouldn’t open for at least 15 years.
“We don’t need to wait for another
generation to have a high quality, high frequency transport system. The Green Party will prioritise smarter, greener transport
that will make the whole transport system work better.
“We will fund the Congestion Free Network, which
will affordably see the CRL open by 2020, so there are trains every five minutes across the network at peak. This would allow
for a rail link to the airport to be open by 2025,” said Ms Genter.
Green Party Solar growth through the roof!!!
25 mar 14 @ 11:03 pm edt
Green Party Solar Success!
over Green Party Rooftop Solar Forecasts a Bright Future for Green Party Cleaner Energy
As the cost of solar power drops, more consumers find that they hold the upper hand as utilities fight
to maintain paying customers and the relevance of the grid
Mar 25, 2014 By David Biello
http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/fight-over-rooftop-solar-forecasts-a-bright-future-for-cleaner-energy/Americans have begun to battle over sunshine. In sun-scorched
Arizona a regulatory skirmish has broken out over arrays of blue-black silicon panels on rooftops, threatening the local utilities that have
ruled electricity generation for a century or more. With some of the best access to sunshine on the planet, Arizona boasts
the second-most solar power in the U.S.—more than 1,000 megawatts and counting. The state hosts vast photovoltaic arrays
in the desert as well as the nation's first commercial power plant with the technology to use sunshine at night—bystoring daytime heat in molten salts. In terms of infrastructure, such big solar fits as comfortably as a coal-fired power
plant in the traditional electricity business model, which involves large plants transmitting electricity over a grid of conducting
lines through transformers and into individual homes and businesses. The trouble, from an electric utility's perspective,
is the tens of thousands of Arizona's total of three million or so homes that have installed small solar:photovoltaic panels made from wafers of semiconducting material,
typically silicon, that use incoming sunlight to create an electric current. With these homes making their own electricity,
utilities lose their most lucrative customers and confront a dwindling base over which to spread big infrastructure costs,
like building new power plants or maintaining the grid. "The net-metered customer does not share equally in the overhead
costs associated with the grid or other services provided by the utility, producing a very substantial 'cross-subsidy' funded
by all other utility customers who must pay proportionately more," wrote James Hughes, CEO of solar panel maker First
Solar, in an op-ed in support of the utility Arizona Public Service Co. (APS) position this past June. These homeowners have installed photovoltaic panels on their rooftops
with the help of cash incentives and a state law that requires the local electricity provider—APS—to buy any excess
power produced by an individual home. Such "net metering" programs allow homeowners to zero out
monthly or even annual electric bills. That means APS gets nothing from these former customers, and their number is growing.
More than 15 rooftop arrays go onto Arizona homes each day, according to the Phoenix-area utility, and the number of such
solar independents grew from 4,770 in 2010 to 14,524 in 2012. In
response APS and other utility companies across the country have launched a propaganda war against an energy source that still
accounts for less than one quarter of 1 percent of U.S. electricity. In Arizona that fight became very public in
2013, as APS took on such residential solar power in a television ad campaign and mailings. But the utility met resistance
from a coalition of liberals and libertarians decrying monopoly or wanting to help cut greenhouse gas pollution. The red on
the map that shows the amount of incoming sunshine available in most of Arizona might just
as well stand for the bad blood spilled between solar homeowners and the local utilities. It's not just Arizona. More than 40 states allow property owners to sell excess energy generated
by solar panels onto the electric grid, and many utilities must pay a premium for this resource. Utility companies warn that
the lost revenue from solar-powered costumers will necessitate price increases for people without solar panels, because the
electric grid and other critical infrastructure must still be maintained. That’s a sticking point for residents like
Alicia Roll in Phoenix, who wrote in hercomplaint to the state: "I'm all for helping preserve the environment
but there must be a fairer way of going about it all." Solar
homeowners, on the other hand, love their lower bills and independence from utility companies. "Why should they be allowed
to hold the monopoly on this power source?" asks Tom Morrissey, former chairman of the Arizona Republican
Party. "Why should they be the only providers? Why can't we provide for ourselves, while easing the burden on the power
grid?" The utilities have a point. If solar rooftop arrays
became as ubiquitous in home design as chimneys, the U.S. grid could indeed cease to exist—an end to power lines, electrical substations
and transformers atop equally archaic wooden utility poles. "Right now our electricity system is very much a command-and-control
centralized system," says David Crane, CEO of Princeton, N.J.–headquartered national energy company NRG, which
is attempting to reinvent itself for the less centralized future Crane foresees. "In the future I see an at-home, disaggregated system, with the home like a brain, with supply and
demand of electricity being generated in that home." The
key to Crane’s vision of a decentralized system is the cost of a power producing system to the individual homeowner,
and the price of solar power keeps dropping. As a result, solar proponents push for the
switch for a variety of reasons that cut across political party lines. This war over solar has pitted Republican against Republican,
and formed new alliances between libertarians and liberals. Sunnier
The first intimations
of war started with Solyndra. The bankruptcy of the would-be manufacturer
of innovative tubular solar arrays heralded the arrival of cheap photovoltaic panels, many of them from China. Such modules
can be bought in bulk now for as little as 25 cents per watt. Even the electric utility industry recognizes that where residential
electricity costs reach 15 cents per kilowatt-hour—or roughly 16 percent of the U.S. retail electricity market—solar
is already as cheap as grid electricity. "The solar cost battle has been won," NRG's Crane notes. "It's all
By friction costs, Crane means the cost of finding a solar panel maker and installer, and then filing the appropriate paperwork with the appropriate state and local authorities as well as the local utility,
then making sure the solar array is installed properly and safely. Such installation costs at least double the cost of a residential solar system, meaning a typical system costs at least $25,000 to put on a
roof and hook up. As it stands, the average solar system in the U.S. costs roughly $4.50 per watt to purchase and install,
according to the U.S. National Renewable Energy Laboratory.
But that cost is coming down, too—in some
cases to near zero—thanks to solar companies that essentially rent the equipment, such as SolarCity, Sungevity, SunRun and Vivint. The
contracts differ but, essentially, these companies pay to install solar panels on a roof and reap any attendant tax credits.
Homeowners pay a set rate for the electricity used as well as a lease price, resulting in a total bill that is less than their
current monthly electric bill. Most of these companies contract with the homeowner for 15-year leases, which include maintenance,
for example, or a power purchase agreement that guarantees a certain rate (the same contract used between a utility and the
developer of a big desert solar project).
The idea is to remove the "stigma," in the words of Solar
City CEO Lyndon Rive, that solar is expensive. Solar City, for one, expects to deploy at least 475 megawatts of rooftop solar in 2014, or nearly double its expected installations for all of 2013. It's a system pioneered by SunEdison with large
companies that owned hectares of rooftop space on stores or warehouses, resulting in the creation of what some have called
"solar bonds." SolarCity, in fact, is planning to sell more than $54 million worth of such solar bonds pegged to
the company's thousands of installations across 14 states that will come due in December 2026.
The only traditional
utility to do something similar: NRG and its residential solar division. Other utilities, such as Duke and Southern Co., have
attempted to block such changes by implementing their own solar-at-home programs that leave the utility in charge.
Now, with solar more than a boutique product for those rich
in both kinds of green, utilities have something to worry about. Waking up to the looming threat, utility-funded research
outfit the Edison Electric Institute released a report in January 2013 called "Disruptive Challenges" [pdf]. In essence, EEI noted that home solar, dubbed "distributed energy resources" could allow Americans to get off
the grid, putting their member utilities into a death spiral of fewer and fewer electricity sales to cover more and more grid
maintenance costs. That would drive up electricity prices and, as a result, drive more and more people to install rooftop
solar. The parallel is drawn with the telephone monopolies of the 1970s that are, in the words of the report, "not recognizable
today nor are the names of many of the players and the service they once provided ('the plain old telephone service')."
The roughly 3,000 electric utilities that now control U.S. electricity may be as dim a memory in a decade or two.
Spurred by projections of 500 percent growth for solar in the U.S., Arizona Public Services mounted a public relations campaign
against its own obsolescence. Backed by EEI and other outside interest groups, APS spent nearly $4 million on TV, print and Internet ads depicting solar homeowners as freeloaders on the grid, and an economic burden to all the households without such solar
panels. According to APS ads, such solar homes cost the rest of the utility's customers at least $1,000 a year, what they
dubbed a "cost shift" in anodyne bureaucratic terminology concealing real malice. APS therefore proposed a surcharge,
or "sun tax" in the words of opponents, of as much as $100 per month that solar homeowners would pay as their fair
share of grid maintenance costs. Some Arizona residents described such ads as "deceptive at best" or "false advertising," among other, less mild epithets.
solar industry, consumers and homeowners fought back over the course of 2013, running their own ads touting the benefits of
solar, including increased competition for sclerotic monopolies such as APS, self-reliance and less pollution in smoggy Phoenix.
They decried the campaign by APS to blame solar homeowners for doing the fiscally and environmentally responsible thing. Homeowner Scott McCay notes that in a decade of home improvements prior to installing solar, like better insulation and more energy-efficient lightbulbs,
his electricity use dropped by roughly 18 percent whereas his bill from APS increased by 33 percent, largely because of the
shared cost of grid maintenance. As a result, such solar proponents have no love for their local utility.
fact, utilities may be underpaying solar homeowners for the benefits of rooftop electricity, at least according to an analysis
run by one of their own: Texas's Austin Energy. The municipal utility's analysis concluded that it should pay to solar homeowners 3 cents more than the retail electricity rate, for savings in transmission
losses and the ability to delay building large, centralized power plants that can require multibillion-dollar investments.
"We must fight the greedy, unscrupulous tactics of companies like APS every step of the way," Sun City West-resident Christina Compton testified to the public commission charged with regulating APS and the solar-at-home program last November.
At the end of this first battle,
where public comments against any "sun tax" significantly outnumbered those in support, the Arizona Corporation
Commission (ACC) agreed to impose a charge of 70 cents per month on solar homeowners. That charge is probably not enough to eliminate the cost benefits of leasing solar arrays from companies like SolarCity.
But the war is far from over. "We missed it on this one," argues Dillon Holmes of Clean Power Arizona, an advocacy
organization for renewable energy in the state. "We didn't do enough to uncover the true effects, both positive and/or
negative, of distributed rooftop solar."
And APS expects to continue to advance the "cost shift"
barrage again before the commission in 2014 and beyond. "We applaud the ACC for cutting through the rhetoric and focusing
on how the cost shift impacts nonsolar customers," said APS CEO Don Brandt in a statement on the ruling. "Of course, having determined that a problem exists, we would have preferred for the ACC to fix it. The proposal…falls
well short of protecting the interests of the one million residential customers who do not have solar panels." Perhaps
Arizona has in mind what has happened in Hawaii, where the local utility now requires homes that install solar to pay for
upgrades to the grid to handle any extra electricity, which has led to a precipitous decline in the amount of solar-at-home installations.
Not your grandma's utility
The frontlines of solar power aren’t
yielding to these threats from the old guard. Solar is only going to get cheaper, as the EEI report and others have noted.
Richard Swanson, the founder of solar panel manufacturer SunPower, has argued that the cost of a photovoltaic cell drops by
20 percent every time global manufacturing capacity for such cells doubles. This “Swanson's Law” for photovoltaics suggests that PV prices are now less than 75 cents per watt. Even in the face of a significant solar
tax, photovoltaics might win as harvesting sunshine for electricity grows ever cheaper.
The U.S. Department
of Energy hopes to help with that, using some of the human resources it typically devotes to managing the nation's nuclear
arms for ensuring energy, economic and environmental security. Its SunShot program aims to make solar power cheaper than burning fossil fuels, such as coal and natural gas. The program's name draws explicit
parallels to Pres. John F. Kennedy's "moon shot" of the 1960s, except the funding is not quite as plush. So far
SunShot has awarded $87 million to projects that could reduce the cost of solar power to 50 cents per watt to make a module,
and 50 cents per watt to install a module. That includes the $10-million SunShot prize for the first three "teams" (read: companies) that achieve $1 per
watt for the messy paperwork side of installing solar. "PV modules cost about 1 percent of what they did 35 years ago,"
noted Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz in a talk at Columbia University August 2013. "Now it's the soft costs that we have to work on more, to get those down."
Projects also include efforts to build novel
types of photovoltaics via the Advanced Research Projects Agency—Energy's "Full-Spectrum Optimized Conversion and Utilization of Sunlight" or FOCUS program as well as manufacturing processes that could bring down costs. That includes 1366 Technologies's
bid to directly grow the individual silicon wafers in traditional solar panels rather than shaving them from ingots and wasting the expensive material. Such specially
treated silicon is responsible for more than half the final price of the photovoltaic module, and sawing off the wafers turns
as much as half of that expensive silicon into dust. Growing such wafers individually from melted silicon could cut wafer
costs by 80 percent, according to the company named after the wattage of sunlight that hits each square meter of Earth's atmosphere.
And if wafer costs fall, so, too, should photovoltaic prices.
Even as an "expensive" alternative,
solar is the fastest growing electricity source in the world. Globally, more than 100 gigawatts of solar power have been installed to date, including some 400 million solar panels, the majority in Europe where subsidies are highest. And although investments
were down in 2012—just over $140 billion globally—total installed capacity was up, thanks to the declining technology
prices. Solar power may be finally beginning to follow a 25-year path similar to that of now ubiquitous cell phones—from
an oddity in the 1990s to world domination in the next decade or so.
All fracked up?
Solar might be growing even faster, if not for another innovation funded by the U.S. Department of Energy: fracking to free natural gas in deep shale. Such shale gas has flooded the market and reduced natural gas prices, resulting in natural gas–fired
turbines becoming the technology of choice for producing electricity. Natural gas iskilling off nuclear power, slowing the rise of wind and solar, and even shoving aside old, dirty coal.
But natural gas doesn't have to be tied to big turbines. Most homes
in the U.S. are already connected to a distribution system for such natural gas, using it for cooking or heating. That buried
distribution system could end up replacing the old electric grid, still carried from place to place atop weather-exposed steel
pylons and more than 100 million dead trees, aka utility poles. Novel devices, such as some types of fuel cell, could instead
use natural gas to produce electricity cheaply in the home. Or battery systems, like those offered by Tesla, could serve as
backup and electricity storage system. Paired with solar cells on the roof, such "disruptive energy resources" could result in one nation, off the grid. "The solar industry belongs with the natural gas industry," NRG's
Crane says. "Those two go together, they just don't know it."
The past few decade's severe weather
caused by climate change—itself largely an outcome of the old electricity model of a big, centralized grid powered by
coal-fired plants—may help hasten that transition, blowing down the world's largest machine, theU.S. electric grid, again and again, until it becomes obvious that reinvesting in an antiquated technology that Thomas Edison himself would
recognize is no longer smart or sustainable. Solar can help insulate people from the vagaries of a changing climate (as well
as reducing the greenhouse gas pollution causing the changes by replacing fossil-fuel burning to produce electricity.) "We
have to help this rebuilding in a smart way, in a way that prepares our energy infrastructure not for the last storm but for
the next storm and for the next possibility of major disruptions," Moniz told the audience at Columbia University last summer, fresh from unveiling a microgrid in New Jersey that will help resilience in the wake of Superstorm Sandy
in 2012. "Eighty-four percent of carbon emissions are power-related. Mother Nature seems to be returning the favor with
a long-term toll on energy infrastructure."
The battle lines over this transformation are forming. In
Georgia a Southern Co. subsidiary has blocked solar power development. That caused the local Tea Party, led by activist Debbie
Dooley, to form what she called the "Green Tea Coalition" with local environmentalists from the Natural Resources Defense Council, Sierra Club and other groups to push for more
solar in the state, rather than costly projects such as the new nuclear reactors being built at the Vogtle power plant—the first new nuclear to be approved in the U.S. since 1978—and financed
through fees collected before any electricity is produced from new fission. It's a similar coalition to the one that has achieved
the legalization of marijuana in states like Colorado and Washington. "Solar is a natural fit for conservatives,"
Dooley says, noting her amazement at conservatives who claim to be in favor of a free market but support a government-mandated
monopoly like local utilities. "The bottom line is energy has to compete on a level playing field and let the consumer
As a result of this unlikely alliance, the Georgia Public Service Commission—an all-Republican
committee that regulates the electricity monopoly in the state—voted torequire Georgia Power to include more solar power in its plans for future generation. Georgia Power also dropped a plan, at least for the moment, to charge solar
homeowners a grid fee. But it remains to be seen whether a state law that blocks homeowners from leasing solar power from
companies like SolarCity or SunRun will be overturned.
A schism of sorts is forming within the Republican
Party: Libertarians and Tea Partiers like Dooley who support a homeowner's property rights have sided against other conservative
groups like Americans for Prosperity (a group largely funded by oil magnates the Koch brothers) and think tanks like the Heartland
Institute. Grover Norquist of the Republican-group Americans for Tax Reform has decried the Georgia "green tea"
alliance. "The rooftop solar industry has attempted to co-opt countless conservative groups in its fight to protect crony
capitalism," he wrote in a November submission to the Arizona regulators. "Solar homes effectively avoid paying for the fixed costs of the grid. These costs are like taxes being shifted to
But property rights and self-reliance seem to be issues that Americans of most political
persuasions can support, from the primarily blue state of California to the reliably red state of Georgia—and has led
to "solar rights" laws in purple Midwestern states such as Wisconsin and Iowa. Barry Goldwater, Jr., son of the
famed conservative presidential candidate and a former congressman in his own right, heads the Tell Utilities Solar won't be Killed, or TUSK, coalition in Arizona. "Rather than innovate or find ways to profit from solar power, APS decries the solar
industry and opines that its revenue is heading downward… That's not the ratepayers problem," he wrote in aJune op-ed. "Instead of trying to fix the problem, APS is trying to fix the game. It's looking to rig the system so the utility
doesn't have to pay fair market value for the excess electricity that rooftop solar customers send back to the grid."
So far, the utilities best efforts have not succeeded. According to the Solar Energy Industries Association, more than 100,000 homes went solar in 2013. And a "solar project will be installed, on average, every four minutes in the U.S."
The full costs and benefits of solar rooftops on homes remain unknown. But a survey of home sales in California found that photovoltaic systems boosted home sale prices by nearly $25,000 in 2009, according to research from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. And solar advocates point
to the fact that photovoltaics on rooftops save on the costs of investing in new conventional power plants and grid infrastructure
as well as the cost of meeting pollution limits or other regulations, while reducing electricity loss.
the U.S., solar energy leaders such as Germany and Spain are also now considering a kind of "solar tax" for access
to the grid in order to ensure maintenance of their legacy infrastructure. To calm the furor in this country, the Electric
Power Research Institute (EPRI) plans ongoing studies to better understand how to integrate into the U.S. grid both solar
and traditional power plants. "These systems can be complementary and not competitive," noted EPRI CEO Michael Howard,
whenannouncing the new research effort on February 10.
In the end, solar may prove an unstoppable force. If solar module prices drop to 50 cents per watt, then solar power becomes as cheap as other forms of electricity in all
50 states, once installation costs are included. In addition, the technology offers some additional benefits, from far fewer
climate-changing greenhouse gas emissions than even power plants burning natural gas to reduced use of water compared with
the cooling needs of a big coal-fired or nuclear power plant.
As the Edison Electric Institute notes, the
proportion of regions where solar at homewill be cheaper than electricity purchased from the grid could grow to as much as one third of the nation as soon as 2017.
Nowhere is that more true than the desert Southwest of the U.S., in states like Arizona.
In that future of cheap solar the home would be a self-sufficient energy fortress, and perhaps self-driving electric cars would plug in there, to recharge from sunshine. Batteries or even technologies that transform newly abundant natural
gas to electricity inside the home could serve as backup for cloudy days. In fact, solar systems paired with batteries or
fuel cells could become cost-effective in states besides Hawaii (where it is already so) by the 2020s, according to a new analysis from energy think tank the Rocky Mountain Institute, and partners. "How shockingly stupid is it to build a 21st-century electricity system based on a system of 130 million
wooden poles?" asked NRG's David Crane at the ARPA–E summit on February 25. "The day is coming, within a generation,
where the grid is, at best, an antiquated backup system."
His company helped open the world's largest
solar thermal power plant on February 20, where 347,000 mirrors concentrate sunlight on three nearly five story-tall central
power towers at Ivanpah in the California desert, near Bakersfield. But he sees an even bigger future for photovoltaics, and NRG has already installed them at football stadiums
across the country, including at Lincoln Field in Philadelphia. Last year nearly one third of new U.S. electric capacity was
At the same time, NRG is investing in natural gas generators to fit in people's basements that
could either provide all the electricity a house needs or to be paired with rooftop solar cells to offer electricity after
sunset—freeing homes in Arizona, Georgia or anywhere else from the grid forever. War is coming, and when it comes, it
may sweep away not only the American electric utility as it has been for the last century—the world's largest machine—but
also the legacy car companies and even the most recent iteration of the American way of life, making the bucolic lifestyle
of the suburbs sustainable in a novel way. But only if the powers that be stop fighting the sunshine. "All they need
is a gizmo in the basement that turns natural gas into electricity and you're done," he noted. "You tell your electric company to go jump in a lake."
Join the Indy
Green Party. Be a Green candidate for local, state, or federal office today!