America's Investment Toward Energy Self-Sufficiency
In September I wrote about a green technology concept for stabilizing the European economies in Survive the Next Industrial Revolution: Come from your Heart. I felt the idea about on-site energy generation was important for ecological and financial reasons.
Imagine my surprise while viewing the PBS interview of Bill Clinton when he outlined the same concept for America as the way we can pull the country out of the brink of financial ruin.
Here's an excerpt from the interview:
JUDY WOODRUFF: "Now, one of the things you talk about in the book is something that you highlighted today with President Obama, and that is retrofitting or making buildings more energy-efficient, and in the process creating, I guess, tens of thousands of construction jobs. President Clinton, that's an area that clearly was hard hit. But this kind of project is short-term, isn't it?"
BILL CLINTON: "Not if we do as much as we should. That is, this is the nearest thing that America's got to a free lunch. That is, you can - if you can set up a financing mechanism where you let the people who own the building - whether they're schools, state, county or local buildings, federal buildings, museums, hospitals or big commercial buildings like the one the president and I visited today—with no debt—if you can set it up so they can pay that money back only from their utility savings, then you can create jobs and there's no net out-of-pocket cost to the people who own the buildings. And when the debt's paid off, they have a huge drop in their utility bills.
"It's the nearest thing we got to a free lunch. And the return is very high. For every billion dollars you spend on building retrofits, you get between 7,000 and 8,000 jobs."
Perhaps Mr. Clinton's advise rang true to President Obama, who announced a $4 billion commitment in public and private funding for energy upgrades to existing buildings on Friday.
I feel like trying to get the media to push this into American politics. What do we do? Since I don't have political or media clout, all I can do is apply this practical vision in my own life. I've already begun research on how to convert my home—the building I own—to generate its own energy and more. But I need my power company to buy back extra power and I need subsidy to cover the set up cost.
If you generated your own power and had extra to sell back to the power companies, wouldn't that make sense for the financial stability of your household? You'd have an initial cash outlay. But those dollars would employ people in your community today. Afterwards, you reduce—or eliminate—electric, propane, and other utility bills. And if you do it right, you generated power to sell to your power company, and have a new income stream.
Everyone needs to be doing what they can to understand and participate in this ecological/financial model. We can begin by asking the power companies to institute a system for buying back power from their customers. Speak with someone at your power company about what they're doing to make adopting green energy a financially-viable option for YOU and your community.
Here is very practical action on a heart-based vision.