Tuesday, September 07, 2004

Discrimination in the Energy Sector
from the mind of  Evan Kruse.

Since Zeke gave us an interesting reason to think about different kinds of discrimination, This MSNBC article looks at new ways to basically have a zero net energy usage house. People looking at this will probably think: Gee that's really neat! But, there is a hidden disaster waiting in this kind of energy reduction. Please, follow my thinking.

I will initially make the claim that this kind of 'eco-friendly' practice will eventually make lower income families and smaller businesses suffer disproportionately high energy prices compared to today. First, let's assume that these upgrades to a home are expensive, and only really feasible on new homes. That will equal expensive new homes. So, as a result of these reduction in energy costs for 'the wealthiest' Americans, will be very similar to a tax break for only the wealthy. Also, if homes and businesses are producing their own energy, the volume of energy used will go down and we can assume that the price of oil will go up in the future as well, so with these two factors combined, we can see that energy prices will go up drastically for those who purchase energy through the normal channels. So, while you have the wealthiest people reaping the benefits of this technology, you have the lower income people having to pay out more of their income just to heat their homes....

Am I serious about this? No. I am all for technologies that put more money back into the economy to float around. It's good for everyone. I guess the point I'm trying to make has something to do with Kedward's long forgotten 'Two Americas'. Maybe they are referring to 'One America' where people have solar powered homes and 'The Other America' where people still have to send a little check each month to the utility company. (I wonder how many solar panels would be needed to power all of the Kerry Family houses????) I'm surprised that they haven't outlined a plan to provide solar power to those who are having a tough time getting ahead of... whatever they need to get ahead.

One point I should make... We already have a great way to reduce our dependency on foreign fuels that burns cleanly and is very safe. It's called NUCLEAR POWER. People need to get past all of the liberal scare-hype about this wonderful energy source. We need to be using this energy source that alloy's us to completely contain the pollution rather than put unnecessary matter into the air. It really is a win-win situation.

Solar energy being viable and cost effective is a long way off. Just think about the fossil fuels that would need to be burnt in order to produce the solar panels for all of those households out there. And... how long do the panels last? Do they wear out? Do they diminish output with poor maintenance? There are lots of questions that people need to think about...


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