I asked Kos about this probably a year ago. Propose to create 20 million jobs and let Boehner kill it, then run on that. Kos gave this idea a thumbs down.
So just what were Democrats running on in 2014?
In over 400 years there is only one economic model that remotely gives any indication of actually working: Keynesian Economics. For every 100 billion spent on infrastructure 2.5 million jobs would be created. 20 million jobs @ 36k each would add 90 billion in additional FICA, SS would be good thru 2090.
This morning's unemployment level dropped to 5.9% as our economy added 248,000 jobs last month, we are still not operating at full capacity. So, while this morning unemployment numbers are encouraging, they do not take into account the unusually large number of discouraged workers who have given up even looking for work. These workers represent unused capacity we could be utilizing to improve our infrastructure providing a stimulus to our economy.
Paul Krugman of the New York Times warns us again that we are still stuck in a liquidity trap in his op-ed, Depression Denial Syndrome.
Most of your are familiar with this analysis.
Now, we normally think of deficits as a bad thing — government borrowing competes with private borrowing, driving up interest rates, hurting investment, and possibly setting the stage for higher inflation. But, since 2008, we have, to use the economics jargon, been stuck in a liquidity trap, which is basically a situation in which the economy is awash in desired saving with no place to go. In this situation, government borrowing doesn’t compete with private demand because the private sector doesn’t want to spend. And because they aren’t competing with the private sector, deficits needn’t cause interest rates to rise. ...
All this may sound strange and counterintuitive, but it’s what basic macroeconomic analysis tells you. And that’s not 20/20 hindsight either. In 2008-9, a number of economists — yes, myself included — tried to explain the special circumstances of a depressed economy, in which deficits wouldn’t cause soaring rates and the Federal Reserve’s policy of “printing money” (not really what it was doing, but never mind) wouldn’t cause inflation. It wasn’t just theory, either; we had the experience of the 1930s and Japan since the 1990s to draw on. But many, perhaps most, influential people in the alleged real world refused to believe us. ...
So is this an edifying tale in which bad ideas were proved wrong by experience, people’s eyes were opened, and truth prevailed? Sorry, no. In fact, it’s very hard to find any examples of people who have changed their minds. People who were predicting soaring inflation and interest rates five years ago are still predicting soaring inflation and interest rates today, vigorously rejecting any suggestion that they should reconsider their views in light of experience.
Krugman seems to assume that the average reader is going to take this insight to the next step and realize now is not the time for austerity economics and a contrained money supply but rather we need a good old fashion Keynesian economic stimulus of the sort advocated in President Obama's infrastructure investment proposal - although substantially larger. But, given Republican domination of the House we are stick in discussions of austerity and the "need" for less government spending.
Even if one granted for the sake of argument that government spending constituted too high a fraction of GDP, now is not the wisest time to try to reduce this ratio because reduced government spending adds even more downward pressure on the economy. But, our government spending is not too high compared to other modern industrial economies.
What will it take to get this message across to obstructionist Republicans? Probably little that we can realistically imagine, short of a major new world war.
So doesn't it seem the next most probable option would be to educate voters to help us replace recalcitrant Republicans in elections? It doesn't seem our Democrats are even attempting such a strategy. Why not? This should be one of strongest election arguments. Is this concept really too obscure to reach the middle 10% of swing voters?
It seems discouraging that we are about five weeks from the November elections and don't seem to be galvanized around major GOTV rallies to get our own voters out to the polls. My understanding is that the major reason we often fall back in off cycle elections is our Democratic voter participation rates often fall by 14% or more.
Shouldn't we be able to use such an argument, along with woman's issues, excess police militarization, and others to fire up our base to get higher election turnout?
So special kudos and appreciation for those readers who can think of creative ways to boil this message down to a campaign slogan that fires up our base. A problem is if we go back to James Carville's "It's the economy stupid!" a lot of Republicans will claim that's their angle and average voters may not get the twist that it is the Republicans who are holding us back.
This seems like a conservative, perhaps even "grudging" forecast to me, however, I offer it for your perusal and discussion.
Solar energy could be the top source of electricity by 2050, aided by plummeting costs of the equipment to generate it, a report from the International Energy Agency (IEA), the West’s energy watchdog, said on Monday.
IEA Reports said solar photovoltaic (PV) systems could generate up to 16% of the world’s electricity by 2050, while solar thermal electricity (STE) - from “concentrating” solar power plants - could provide a further 11%.
“The rapid cost decrease of photovoltaic modules and systems in the last few years has opened new perspectives for using solar energy as a major source of electricity in the coming years and decades,” said IEA Executive Director Maria van der Hoeven.
Solar photovoltaic (PV) panels constitute the fastest-growing renewable energy technology in the world since 2000, although solar is still less than 1% of energy capacity worldwide.
China is expected to lead PV expansion along with the the United States, while the U.S., Africa, India, and Middle East are expected to lead in the expansion of solar thermal energy.
Peter Diamandis of Forbes calls up his friends Ray Kurzweil and Elon Musk to bring us some astonishing visions of the future of the solar photovoltaic, solar storage, and electric vehicle industries and how they are converging, which he reports in Solar Energy Revolution: A Massive Opportunity. Their view and the remarkable background data he presents overshadow his "Six D's" analysis which seems somewhat trite compared to his blockbuster opening paragraphs. Here are the best parts.
My friend Ray Kurzweil projects the U.S. will meet 100 percent of its electrical energy needs from solar in 20 years. Elon Musk is a bit more conservative, pegging it at 50 percent in that timeframe. While the growth of solar may seem slow to some, it’s fair to say it’s in the midst of its “deceptive phase,” on the road to disruption. For example, a 30 percent increase in solar energy production per year, means 1 percent today grows to 1.3 percent in 3 years. It also means that in 20 years (7 doublings), we’ll see a 128-fold increase. Either way, if Ray and Elon are even close, there is a trillion dollars up for grabs (as well as the future of our planet), and the future is bright. Let’s take a closer look at the converging technologies driving this future… The cost of solar panels is dropping exponentially. The first and most important technological change is the falling cost per watt of silicon photovoltaic cells over the past few decades. Check out the plummeting cost from $76 in 1977, to less than $0.36 today.
The International Energy Agency predicts that we will produce 662 GigaWatts of solar energy by 2035 following a $1.3 trillion investment in this area, but frankly this estimate is “highly conservative.” The second technology at play is satellite-Earth imaging, which enables companies like solar City to make rapid and accurate decisions on solar panel installations. These days, an installer can check out your rooftop on Google Earth and determine in minutes if you are a good candidate. Super-simple. Energy Storage Mechanisms Are Improving Rapidly The third key technology transforming our energy economy is battery storage. The ability to take solar energy captured during the day, and time-shift it into the night. Here to the change has been very significant, with a 50%+ reduction over the past four years, and an additional 50%+ reduction by 2020.
Elon Musk's Telsa Gigafactory is planning on producing 35 Gigawatts worth of battery power by 2020 in one factory.
Diamandis also reports that Tesla's Gigafactory is going to support the production of 500,000 electric vehicles per year.
He predicts these three major price trends are going to come together to enable everyone to produce and store their own power for equal to or less than buying power from utilities by 2025.
“By 2025, everybody will be able to produce and store power. And it will be green and cost competitive, i.e., not more expensive or even cheaper than buying power from tilities. ... UBS predicts the payback time for unsubsidized investment in electric vehicles plus battery storage plus rooftop solar will be around 6 to 8 years by 2020 .
If you are interested in any of these topics and industries you will find Peter Diamandis' original article worth perusing if only for the amazing data plots of global electric vehicle production, battery pricing, and other plots not shown here.
Diamandis makes a compelling argument that solar energy is about to become the "central driver of our future economy," that is an inspiring bonus feature.
Navigant Research, which has been following wind trends for 19 years now, projects that wind, both onshore and offshore, will provide 7.3 percent of the electricity consumed worldwide by 2018. That’s despite a 20 percent dip between 2012 and 2013, which the researchers attribute to the effects of the 2008 financial crisis on European markets.
This growth is projected to occur, CleanTechnica notes, despite the non-efforts of countries like Spain and the U.S., the latter of which has “failed to demonstrate an ongoing political commitment and renew tax credits for wind development, which have traditionally stimulated investment.” New wind installations here plummeted 93 percent in 2013.
The slack, according to the report, is being picked up by developing countries. “Last year was the first in which the wind industry experienced negative growth since 2004, but there are signs that the 2013 slowdown will turn out to be an anomaly,” explained research director Feng Zhao in a statement. “As wind turbine vendors search for new opportunities in emerging markets, primarily in Latin America and Africa, and develop machines for maximum energy production in low wind speed areas, the industry is expected to add another 250 gigawatts of capacity through 2018.”
We can thank the Republicans for "bonking" the Production Tax Credit incentive essential for kickstarting our nation's wind energy production. We have some small hope, this may be restored after the election, however, if there is one thing investors in multi-billion dollar projects can not stand is regulatory uncertainty. This glaring example of how the anti-government attitudes of our Tea Party and extreme right-wing ideological zealots are damaging our country and our economy. (And I mean this in the nicest possible non-partisan way i can muster.)
Thanks again to Mopshell who has one of the coolest personalized emoticons I've seen and has really set this blog on fire (in a good way) since recently joining us with other refugees from the Great Huffington Post Exodus of 2014. She is also co-founder with murphtheSurf3, navajo, 2thanks, and 47songs of our new PostHuffPost group which I recommend you consider joining as it is bursting with new energy and excitement, and has a special focus for people who like to read, write, and talk about cool articles with a sense of community, participation, and connection. LOL Although, it is open to people who do not like this kinds of things as well. And you don't even need to be a HuffPo refugee.
Here's a link to our Home Page if you would like to click the little heart to follow or send a note to Mopshell, or MurftheSurf to join.
In California, May 2014 recorded three times as much solar generation as the same month in 2013.
California, for its part, is following up on the huge year solar energy had in 2013 by breaking the record for single-day solar photovoltaic (PV) energy generation back in March, and then breaking its own record on June 1. ... The new record in California - 4,767 megawatts of solar PV electricity fed into the grid - is also the national record for any American state.
California installed some 2,261 MW of solar capacity in 2013, more than any other state, and looks to be on track to post up even bigger numbers this year.
PV Magazine reports that "California's solar footprint is growing bigger with each passing day, week and month, with May recording three times as much solar generation as recorded during the same month in 2013."
A threefold increase in one year is impressive even for California.
In the first quarter of 2014, solar accounted for more than 50% of all new electricity generation capacity installed in the US, some 584 MW, with new solar power plants going online in California, Massachusetts, North Carolina, and Texas.
Wind came in second at 427 MW. Natural gas came in third at 90 MW.
On March 26, Texas set a new state record for wind production in one hour when it surpassed 10.2 Gigawatt-hours.
Frank Witsil from the Detroit Free Press clues us into to the news that Michigan's wind energy industry soaring, from generating 6 billion kilowatt-hours in 2000, to generating 168 billion kilowatt-hours last year, according to the EIA.
Power from wind in Michigan is half as expensive to produce than utility companies initially expected, down to as little as $50 a megawatt hour last year from more than $100 a megawatt hour in 2009, according to the Michigan Public Service Commission.
DTE cut its renewable energy surcharge fee to 43 cents per meter a month from $3 per month. Consumers Energy will eliminate its $2.50 a month charge starting next month. The state Public Service Commission approved eliminating the Consumers Energy surcharge at its June 19 meeting.
In the past few years, wind power in Michigan has created jobs, given rise to new companies that supply components — such as Ventower Industries in Monroe — and even inspired a few school projects and tourism. The nonprofit group, Natural Resources Defense Council, says Michigan is home to about 120 companies that supply wind components and employ 4,000.
Sadly, Michigan sill gets more than 54% of its power from goal, which as we all know generates carbon dioxide emissions and other pollutants which must be stopped to avoid global warming.
Since Michigan passed its Renewable Portfolio Standard goal in 2008 of achieving 10% production from renewable, utilities have invested more than $2.2 billion in renewable energy production.
Michigan's wind power capacity has grown from 2.4 megawatts in 2008, to 287 in 2011, with an additional 3,000 megawatts under development.
MI estimates that just counting the renewable energy projects by Consumers Energy, and DTE have helped create over 200 new companies, and 2,500 new jobs.
Stephen O'Brien, of The Motley Fool, writes in The Business Insider that, The US Military Could Drive Solar Energy Growth, telling us that the Department of Defense, DOD, spends $20 billion a year on energy making them the largest energy consumer on earth. The DOD intends to derive 25% of its energy from renewable sources by 2025, and is already moving aggressively in that direction.
The Military just recently began construction of a solar power plant at Fort Huachuca in Arizona, where solar panels will be installed over 68 acres, constituting the largest solar array of any military base in the U.S. According to the commanding general of the base, Maj. Gen. Robert Ashley, the project reflects the military's commitment to energy security.
Whether it be engaged in disaster relief, humanitarian missions or in military operations, the military needs reliable energy that is "off the grid," since public electrical utilities are vulnerable to adverse weather conditions and potential sabotage. The military also needs to be ready for possible disruptions to the oil supply, which could cripple it and the nation's economy.
One strategy our armed forces is using to achieve its renewable goals, is "the creation of "net-zero" environments, where energy consumption equals the energy created on-site." In Afghanistan this is achieved by using solar arrays at fixed-site locations, which reduces the high transportation cost that can bring the cost of gasoline to up to $400 per gallon.
More importantly, reducing conspicuous truck convoys carrying highly explosive fuel supplies has reduced casualties, and the need to risk soldier's lives defending vulnerable targets and routes. O'brian cites a U.S. Army study finding that from 2003 to 2007, one out of eight U.S. soldiers killed in Iraq where near such fuel conveys.
DOD is pushing the expansion of residential solar photovoltaics in its stateside bases.
SolarCity seems particularly well situated to serve the militagy projects for a number of military housing communities. The plan, called "Project SolarStrong," looks to be the largest solar photovoltaic project for residential homes in American history. Up to 120,000 military housing units will be served, with up to 300 megawatts of solar generation.
SolarCity also encourages veterans to apply for employment and features a marine on its website.
So the U.S. armed forces are only keeping our country safe, "sunny and bright," and cutting our carbon footprint as well.
Reposted from SciTech by HoundDogEditor's Note: State Renewable Portfolio Standards, RPS, which often include tax credits for investing in renewable energy are an example of Keynesian economic stimulus I support. -- HoundDog
Daniel Gross' article in Slate entitled The Other Sunshine State:North Caralina, proclaims that North Carolina has come out of the blue to capture the title of forth leading solar capacity state in the nation.
The Solar Energy Industries Association, or SEIA, notes that last year, North Carolina added 335 megawatts of capacity—the third-best tally of any state in the country. With a total of 592 megawatts of solar capacity installed, North Carolina ranks fourth among the 50 states. So far this year, according to SNL Energy, North Carolina ranks second in the number of solar farms under construction, behind only California.
The solar industry has gained so much power in the state that when Rep. Mike Hager tried to initiate a bill to repeal the state's progressive Renewable Portfolio Standards it died in the energy committee he chairs. ALEC has been pushing such efforts nation-wide, and even succeeded in Ohio where Governor Kasich just signed a bill freezing the state's RPS for two years. What a happy and funny victory that progressive solar industry forces are just too strong to succumb to such regressive ALEC backed backsliding. Ho, ho, ho.
Maybe we can get North Carolina to send out progressive solar missionaries to the more backward states to help bring them into the 21st century? (Humor alert.)
How did such North Carolina pull of such an audacious advance?
Well, in addition to being a state widely admired for leading the nation on a wide variety of progressive issues, North Carolina's praiseworthy advance in solar capacity seems to have been driven by three factors.
First off, in 2007, North Carolina passed an extremely modest renewable portfolio standard, declaring that within five years, utilities must have ensured that 12.5 percent of the electricity they supply derives from renewable sources. (By contrast, California’s three largest utilities are now at about 23 percent renewables.) Like many other states, North Carolina has a renewable energy tax credit that helps bring down the cost of production. But according to Ivan Urlaub, executive director of the North Carolina Sustainable Energy Association, North Carolina’s regulatory scheme had an important wrinkle. The utilities decided to offer a deal to renewable developers: If they could develop renewable energy facilities with capacities below 5 megawatts and deliver the power below a specified cost, the utilities would agree to buy the output. Figuring that not many developers would be able to pull this off, the utilities didn’t put a cap on the program.
That small wrinkle opened a door that, combined with a renewable energy tax credit, were sufficient to take what was otherwise a small market and carve out a space for entrepreneurs to jump in and compete on price and quality,” Urlaub says.
As the price of solar panels plummeted 75% over the last four years 4.99-megawatt small scale solar farms started "popping up" across the "North Carolina countryside."
I can't help but insert "Good Day Sunshine" here - what is becoming one of our signature song for "Good News" solar articles which leaving with that Happy HoundDog feeling. Extra biscuits for everyone! Hurrah!'
A second powerful force came from the West Coast. North Carolina has aggressively courted big technology companies to locate data centers in the state. But many of these firms have their own agendas when it comes to energy: They want to be powered by renewable energy produced close by. So when Apple built its huge data center in Maiden, it also constructed its own 20-megawatt farm on 100 acres nearby; it has since added 20 megawatts of solar in Conover. Google, which had already spent $600 million on a data center in Lenoir, North Carolina, said it would invest another $600 million in its facilities. But Google and other companies encouraged Duke Energy to push for a so-called Green Source Rider. Under the rider, if companies pay the utility a rate slightly above the usual fee, the utility will either build renewable energy capacity itself or make deals with third-party suppliers. That has stimulated more construction. ...
The SEIA says $787 million was invested in solar plants in the state last year, and Urlaub says 570 green energy firms in the state employ 18,400 people.
Hello! Can we talk? Hey you other states rolling back or freezing state RPS by succumbing to back room ALEC backed pressures, you may want to rethink this. And, hey sleeping media in Ohio, please think about asking John Kasich why he thinks Ohio already has so many surplus jobs and economic growth that he thinks the people of Ohio can afford to pass up these kinds of opportunities.
I wish I hadn't used up all my fair use paragraphs, so I could tell you more about a number of major new projects undertaken by Duke Energy Renewable, and SunEnergy1 to build solar farms, and also the big deal it has just closed with "three academic institutions based in Washington, D.C. (American University, George Washington University, and George Washington University Hospital), to supply them with some 52 megawatts of capacity to be provided by three plants to be constructed in the state."
You'll have to read the original for this extra bonus good news.
So let's have all kogs join hands and sing along with our other favorite "Good Solar News" signatury son "Here Comes the Sun!
I am reminded of that famous old progressive anthem, "If You Can Make It in North Carolina, You Can Make It Anywhere!"
Cynthia Shahan of Clean Technica reports Residential Solar Cheaper Than Grid Electricity In 25 States By 2015, Utility CEO States. The cost of solar panels has come down 75% in the last four years. Although a trade war with China and India over low cost solar panels will be a "bump in the road," this basic trend is going to continue as the learning curve for the global solar photovoltaic industry is now well established at a 20% reduction of unit manufacturing cost for every doubling of the installed base.
David Crane, CEO of utility NRG sees major disruptive impact for the traditional U.S. utilities industries, and he has decided to "switch rather than fight."
David Crane, who runs NRG Energy, says that in fully half the states of the union, electricity from residential solar panels will be cost-competitive with that delivered by local electric utilities by next year.
Another important matter is that electric vehicles will enable a more decentralized, self-sufficient energy system. John writes: “Once homes can not only generate but store energy, it’s at least possible they could decouple from the grid entirely–meaning they’re lost to their local utility forever.”
“Crane is positioning NRG to be the supplier of solar arrays, fuel cells, and microturbines to power customers in this age of grid obsolescence,” Navigant Research writes. “It’s remarkable to see a utility betting on the grid’s eventual obsolescence, but it’s important to note that within that framework, NRG is still maintaining its core business as a power provider.”
Crane certainly seems to be the exception among utility leaders Many have joined efforts with ALEC to rollback or delay state Renewable Portfolio Standards, RPS, to add fees, or minimum bills to those solar customers who use net metering, and also to reduce the price payed to external solar producers.
China has taken a more positive and wiser strategy using this knowledge to buy its way down the solar industry learning curve. Rather than ask, "how long will it be before solar energy generation can match, or beat the cost of coal generation?" They asked, "how much would it cost to make solar energy less expensive than coal? [Update: China is currently either one of the worst, or I think possibly the worst coal polluter in the world and as becoming even more so by building more new coal plants even now than any other country. And China has an enormous self-induced pollution problem. (Thanks to duhban for reminding me of this. My point here is not to glorify China but send a wake-up call to us in the U.S. by taking a poke at our automatic assumptions of superiority and exceptionalism without regard to facts.)']
Reports are when Chinese leaders heard how small this cost was compared to the damage in health cost coal is causing them, and the size of their economy, they laughed and said "make it so."
This is the explanation behind the mysterious series of $10 to $30 billion per year of Chinese government sponsored solar projects over the recent years. Some short-sighted critics here scoffed, however, the Chinese were investing in their future - priming the pump. Now they may reap the returns on that clever investment for centuries.
Hundreds of years from now stories of this victory my be read in history books like we read about great battles from the past like WWII. Maybe this brilliant investment will be retold in Chinese history books as one of the key factors enabling China to pull ahead in the economic wars and leave us in the dust. Maybe they will have a special day of celebration like we have Pearl Harbor day?
The latest report I've read, which I am writing up in between moving, is that in China, solar energy will achieve grid parity in 2016 or at latest 2017 - a full four to five years sooner than they expected because of their brilliant use of learning curve strategy.
Yes, the U.S has enacted trade barrier tariffs against them because of what we call
"unfair subsidies" of their industry, however, the Chinese seem to feel confident they made the wiser strategic decision for four reasons.
1. From 2016 on-wards there will be no economic reason to build any more coal plants, and shortly thereafter they can start phasing out existing plants at a profit.
2. China can gain geopolitical prestige and soft-power by leading the rest of the world into the future and then chastising the U.S. for our backward coal burning ways. In a move that will be poignant and even galling to many of us here, China may even eventually propose global trade sanctions against backward countries like the U.S. who selfishly insist on burning coal and fossil fuels, thereby jeopardizing the earth's atmosphere with global warming, like an anti-social drug addict, or sociopath who cares not about how how actions impact others around the world.
An, argument many of of us have been using to fend off climate change deniers who skeptically ask, "what if we make our industries convert away from coal, but the Chinese do not" - I'm one of many who have suggested the rest of the world is so eager to avoid global environmental and economic disaster that punishing sanctions will be imposed on any laggards who refuse to curtail the burning of fossil fuels. So we should push ahead, regardless of what the Chinese do. What a sad irony that our own arrogance may be turned around against us, in a surprising move of jui-jitsu.
3. China's cost savings from the learning curve will be able to exceed the extra cost of U.S. solar panel trade tariffs the next time the installed base doubles, then achieve profits with the strategy after that.
4. China then emerges as the dominant global player in solar energy technologies invented, and cultivated down the first 50 years of the learning curve by the U.S. when the new technologies were outrageously expensive. But sadly, our backwards political leaders slept, or solve themselves, and our country, out to coal industry lobbyists, and ALEC, for a few pieces of silver.
For a sound track for this post just select the play triangle while you continue to read.
What an inspiring display of superior strategic thinking, and action. Germany now seems to be in the process of using the same industrial strategy with solar batteries. This has been one of my areas of professional consulting, and if the Chinese succeed in this strategy I will have to say it will be on the most brilliant examples of successful application of learning curve strategy since the Japanese returned from a bombed out wasteland after WWII to capture our consumer electronics and auto industries.
In both cases, too many in the U.S. have their heads up their .... in the clouds talking about free markets, and spouting anti-government tripe opposing any national U.S. economic development strategies and industrial policies that nearly every other nation of the world eagerly seizes upon.
Germany is now positioning itself to dominate the solar storage (battery) industry.
While it is sad to see America stumbling like a drunk at a track meet, it is encouraging in a way to know the rest of the human race is picking up the torch of leadership, to move ahead with or without us.
Our traitorous right-wing science deniers, and ALEC organized coal lobbyist may be powerful enough to sadly bring down our great nation, but they will not be powerful enough to bring down humankind. When one country fails in its capability and willingness to lead, they fall, and another country picks up the torch.
We've seen it dozens of times throughout history. We might have go face the chilling truth that with so many right-wing ideologues, and their backers from ALEC willing to subvert the best interests of our country, the extra burden of this albatross around our necks, we may not be able to compete or keep up with other nations who are united in their efforts to succeed, thrive, and revitalize their economies and jobs base.
Of course, theoretically, it is no too late for the U.S. to decide to jump back into the game, however, we would have to find a way to convert, or "offload" the anti-government Republicans and Tea Party extremists into realizing that one of the roles all most all other nations assign to their government is to use the most strategic, and advantageous economic and industrial policies to cultivate and maintain their nations' economic superiority and competitiveness.
I've proposed many times over the last years that we organize ourselves to make a play for the most intelligent of the foreign policy and pro-defense, Republicans as well as the most patriotic and educated of the pro-economic growth Republicans, with almost zero support in response.
My hope is that at some point the number of high paying, high-value added jobs, industries, and technologies we have lost to other countries who are successively working explicit, public non-secret, plans to take these from us, will be enough to wake up a sufficient number of people to the fact that we need to wake up, smell the coffee, or pull our heads out of .... the clouds, or whatever metaphor works for folks and get back into the game of making our economy a thriving prosperous, world class economic power once again.
And when we invent amazing new, industry creating technologies we ought to make serious, strategic, smart, effective national economic and industrial policies for using them to create jobs and economic prosperity in our country, and not give them away while our political leaders line their pockets with silver from ALEC and the coal industry.
It's why I founded Keynesian Kossacks to get this message out along with the need to support and expand President Obama's infrastructure expansion projects, (which include upgrading electric transmissions lines making solar and wind more cost competitive in broader regions, and improves intermittency issues with wider areas load averaging.
All these this work together in an excellent, powerful, what should be an easy to implement plan.
If we put it together and articulate such a plan, much better than we have so far, we should be able to convert enough pro-economic growth, and pro-national defense Republicans to pass it even in a GOP dominated house.
I admit Keynesian Kossacks may have been a poor choice for a name, and we never really articulated our strategy, so I guess I have to take personal responsibility for our nation's puttering economic, however, let's not give up yet. If anyone else wants to take the reigns, I will stand aside.
What's a better name? What's is the better communication strategy? Who are the more vigorous leaders who can move this agenda forward?
What's a better way to communicate this message of the enormous potential for economic growth and good, solid, green jobs in developing a national economic development and industrial policy based on accelerating our conversion to renewable energy sources, and modernizing our nations infrastructure the way China, and nearly all other advanced industrial economies are doing?
Let's focus some creativity, passion, and intelligence here folks, and keep some of America's leading new technologies, industries, and jobs in America. A strong thriving economy benefits us all. The need to convert to cleaner, non-fossil-fuel burning energy sources is overwhelmingly clear.
We know what the new technologies are going to be, because we invented them. We still have smart, bold, entrepreneurs like Elon Musk (Chairmen of one of America's top solar companies, SolarCity, he is also CEO of Telsa Motors and SpaceX.) and enough of an industrial base we should be able to stay in this game, despite the fact that we fell asleep at the wheel and let the Chinese take the lead. We still have American entrepreneurs and workers who know how to make things and want to make things.
But, right now right-wing ideologues are shooting themselves in the foot, (and the rest of us too) by joining with ALEC to fight solar energy, and roll back state Renewable Energy Portfolios, RPSs. A few weeks ago Governor John Kasich (R-OH) signed an ALEC backed law delaying Ohio's RPS plans for two years and getting rid of some of the incentives for solar. Now they are shooting up their legs. Let's intervene and get them to stop before they start shooting off some really important parts.
If we were thinking like the Republicans we would be demanding that John Kasich be arrested and shot for treason. Here we are in a global economic war with the largest, most powerful bunch of real communists in the world, who is eating our lunch, - drinking our milkshake, and this treacherous traitor John Kasich, aids and abets the enemy by trying to chop off America's patriotic Ohio solar and wind power entrepreneurs who are fighting a battle to keep America strong and competitive while China tries to steal our core American advanced technologies?
Here are two remarkable pieces of good news from the German solar energy sector that I did not expect to see so soon. Germany is rapidly becoming one of our model countries for proving transitions to a renewable energy economy can be done, and it can be done now with continuous improvement to existing technology.
Germans have a special word for it -"'Energiewende', or energy transformation - which aims to power the entire country by renewable resources by 2050." Germans are now laying down a challenge for other countries saying there is no longer any excuse for countries to say this is impossible.
For a sound track for this post just select the play triangle while you continue to read.
The afternoon of June 6, 2014 was a record breaking day for the solar power industry in Germany when the country broke through the symbolic barrier of generating more than 50% of its total electricity needs with solar power for one hour in an all time record, according to Tobias Rothachter, an expert on renewable energy at Germany's Trade and Invest.
Solar power is now the dominant form of electrical power generation in Germany, and wind electric is the second with the two together providing 74% of all the countries electrical power needs - in 2014! Wind also set a single day record producing 39% of the countries electricity in December.
But, in terms of good news this story is like a Ginzu knife commercial - how happy would you be to hear even more good news this morning?
As a special bonus for our readers who keep reading now, we will add an extra bit of spectacular good news from the German solar industry at no extra charge! Another recent study has shown that solar electrical generation in German has just achieved the longed-for, but illusive, goal of grid parity with other forms of electrical generation in the country. Andres Loubrielhttp of The Guardian brings us all this good news in 50 Percent of the Energy Produced in Germany Is Solar: New Record.
Let the kids make their own breakfast this morning, so you can grab your coffee, sit down, and start your day with this vision of Germany having now achieved goals coal industry skeptics have been claiming for the last 40 years could not be achieved even by 2050.
Fraunhofer ISE research institute revealed that solar panels in the eastern European country generated a record breaking 23.1 GW of electricity in one hour on June 6th. On June 9th, a national holiday, solar energy production peaked at 24.24 GW, which equalled approximately 50.6 percent of the electricity demand.
That week was extra hot with highs of up to 37 C, but with new photo voltaic solar panels being added every day at record rates they experts expect Germany will be breaking this rate ever few months now.
According to Rothacher, the critical component for the high solar energy production is the encouragement to the public of Germany to install solar panels on their homes as opposed to the construction of giant solar farms. Rothacher said 90 percent of the solar panels in the country are on individual’s rooftops. He said that solar power production increased by 34 percent in the first five months of the year and he believes that the warm weather is responsible for this.
The new record of the large amounts of solar energy being produced in Germany, demonstrates that the energy companies will need to develop improved storage capacity. Rothacher said that 1.4 million photovoltaic systems are generating a surplus of energy, especially on sunny days around midday. He describes that with every new solar system that is installed, the need for electricity storage solutions increases.
The next article on German solar storage strategy, which I reported before, takes on a much greater significant now that solar and wind energy have achieved such a large fraction of Germany's energy production. The problem of "intermitancy" becomes a limiting factor for further expansion. Solar storage is Germany's strategy for overcoming this limit to achieve it "Energiewende," or transformation to a 100% renewable energy economy by 2050.
But, one quick word on grid parity.
A recent analysis by the consulting firm Eclareon discovered that solar power in Germany has achieved grid parity. Which means that once all the costs are accounted for, the price of commercial solar is equal to retail electricity rates. Wind power also reached record breaking output levels last year, producing 25.2 GW and accounting for 39 percent of the electricity demand in a single day in December.
The economic attractiveness of combining solar energy with breakthrough battery storage systems will be an even bigger deal in Germany which has identified solar-energy-storage-battery systems as a critical new national economic goal for Germany to commit to taking a leading international competitive advantage in.
The recent surge of solar energy in Germany has already lead to 15 GW of generating capaciy, - a new record. (I think this may be the amount added because else where they report total renewable generation in TW.)
“Many solar installations will have paid for themselves in the next couple of years and some will soon reach the end of their 20-year feed-in tariff contract,” Rothacher, an advisor for international companies planning to invest in Germany, continues.
“With modern and cheaper battery technology now available, these owners are able to store excess power during the day instead of feeding it into the grid at low prices and buying it back at night when it is more expensive. This helps to reduce grid fluctuations and with feed-in tariffs set to fall this summer, it makes even more economic sense.”
EuPD, a leading market research firm, currently expects sales of solar energy storage systems in Germany to rise significantly in the next few years — up to 100,000 units a year in 2018, up from the 6,000 that sold in 2013.
According to recent figures from Germany, renewable energy has grown more than nuclear has declined over the last 12-13 years, as well as over the last five years (since the Fukushima accident). “Since 2014 is still a work in progress, we will have to restrict the analysis to the development between 2009 and 2013. For this particular time frame we get a score of 134.9 TWh for nuclear in 2009, which means a decline of 37.6 TWh until 2013… [and] 38.2 TWh of growth for wind and solar from 2009 to 2013. So the nuclear decline lost again, failing to beat the growth of renewable even when ruling out biomass for some reason (another 17.1 TWh growth in those four years).”
Several German politicians see an opportunity for Germany to become a leader of battery manufacturing once again. What a contrast with our politicians, too many of whom seem intent of passing ALEC guided legislation to hold back emerging trends towards renewable energy, in order to protect increasingly obsolete fossil fuel burning power plants, especially coal burning plants.
Germany did achieve these remarkable achievements with an intelligent, high level national industrial policy, similar to the ones being used by China, Japan, South East Asian nations, and most developing nations. Just so you know, I founded Kosowatt and Keynesian Kossacks as vehicles to help promote a similar combination of economic stimulus - infrastructure investment - renewable energy - sustainable energy transformation of our own - a more expansive version of Paul Krugman's economic stimulus. I don't accept the assumption that we will never be able to bring enough Republicans over to this vision to be able to move forward.
Expand Social Security, not with a 1.5% COLA, I mean real solid increase in benefits for seniors getting the smallest benefits of $8,657.26 for an individual. Raising the SS income cap to 90% (186k) where it has historically been going back to 1984, would raise about .2% of GDP according to the CBO. Thats 35 billion dollars. This would support $1100 to more than $2000 in increases for individual seniors. For couples that would be a bit more starting at $1500.
Remember when Senator Warren started to stir the SS pot last year? Suddenly all the CPIers started to choke on their words.
That is why we should be talking about expanding Social Security benefits.....
Recently a few Senate Democrats have proposed the RAISE Act which would place a payroll tax on earned income over 400k... the top, oh I dunno... 1.2% of earners. Thats not a lot of people, nor is it a lot of money. And the benefit increases aren't going to be very big either.
Now remember Seniors got a 1.5% COLA this year, that eligible individual that gets almost 9k a year..... got less than a $128 increase for 2014.
Propose to raise the SS income cap giving seniors over a grand, and make the GOP vote it down. Then we run on the issue watch the RWNJ's fall by the wayside.
In fact, Infrastructure needs 3.6 trillion in just repairs, 900 billion a year for 4 years would just get us even, and using a 2.5 multiplier would create about 22 million jobs.
Make the GOP vote against job creation, real job creation, not some half assed proposal. then make them run on it.
Lets make sure the American people know who the real obstructionists are & what they are obstructing: Jobs for Americans, expose them and run them out of office.