Published on February 17th, 2017 | by Zachary Shahan0
Our Energy Opportunities — Conservatives Should Love & Demand These
February 17th, 2017 by Zachary Shahan
Certain politicians and businesses have found that it’s worthwhile to politicize energy matters. Unfortunately, that does a huge disservice to the people. As it turns out, a majority of people across party lines want more clean energy from renewable energy resources like solar energy and wind energy. The majority of the population wants clean air, clean water, and cheap energy with no fuel cost.
Below are several reasons why, including several that should be especially important to people in primarily conservative areas and with conservative values. Unfortunately, as with many things, we actually have to push hard on most politicians to get them to do the right thing on energy matters. Hopefully some of you can use this article to push for your interests, by sending it to your representatives in Congress, the president, your Governor, or other political representatives. Even better, if you can get facetime with
A Rural Economic Boon
Rural areas of the country have been hit hard economically as family farming has become less financially sustainable and the number of family farms has dropped off a cliff. Below are a few charts and graphs on the decline of farming-focused counties and related matters.
As Mike Barnard highlighted for the Appalachia region, wind & solar resources as well as other matters are important for transitioning an economy and benefiting economically from renewable energy, but there are certainly rural communities across the country that could benefit from investments into and tax revenue from wind turbines and solar farms. We’ve published stories several times on such communities benefiting — from wind power in Oklahoma, to a family farm and wind power in Iowa, to a community wind project in South Dakota with investments from >600 farmers and local residents — but there are thousands of opportunities like this across rural America just waiting to be tapped.
Local Economy Booster From Rooftop Solar
No matter where a person lives, the idea of generating your own electricity from rooftop solar panels and not sending such a large portion of your budget to a monopolistic utility is quite attractive. With solar costs dropping, and dropping, and dropping, this is increasingly a genuinely smart financial decision.
But it’s not just about the individual. Rooftop solar creates jobs for local installers, electricians, and other members of the industry. These people then have more money to spend on other local businesses. Whether you are in rural Arizona, small-town Chapel Hill, or metropolitan Miami, rooftop solar is something that should be easy to get permitted, should be incentivized more by local and state governments, and should be a winning economic focus for conservatives and progressives alike — as well as all those “moderate” folks.
Energy Independence — Isn’t That What We Want?
Not being at the whim of foreign energy markets and oil dictatorships has long been an American dream, one that no president could achieve despite consistent promises along those lines. However, we are at a point where energy independence is a real, legitimate, potential reality.
As hinted above, renewable energy now typically outcompetes fossil fuels on cost alone in the US. We can and should switch to renewable energy for electricity generation.
But that’s just half of the energy equation. We also have the use of oil for transportation, and that’s where much of the energy dependence concern comes from. Incidentally, we seem to be crossing that cost crossover at the same time. Battery prices have plummeted and continue to plummet, and the simpler design and needs of an electric car otherwise are making electric cars cost-competitive with gas cars and better.
Thousands or millions of Americans have launched into energy independence already, but it should be tens of millions soon, and then hundreds of millions, and then all of us.
Taking that energy independence one step further, we are evolving into an energy market where actual energy self-reliance is possible.
No home coal power plant? No problem. No oil well? No problem. In the 21st century, some silicon-based electronics on your roof, a battery in your garage, and an electric vehicle or two can make you into a power plant owner driving on sunshine that you stole from your roof. Throw in a little backyard gardening and an electronics studio for your TV, computer, and phone, and you’re set. 😉
Get On It, Grand Old Party!
Is there anything above that screams “Progressives Only, Conservatives Not Allowed” and justifies the Grand Old Party pushing so hard for polluting fossil fuels instead of clean energy? To the contrary, there are several things above that have been tied to conservative values for a long, long time.
Logically, the vast majority of people (in the US, Republicans and Democrats alike) support and want clean, renewable energy. Unfortunately, one party’s leadership has been hugely opposed to clean energy. The reasons why seem pretty obvious. The party line can change — and the voters clearly want it to change — but the Republican Party’s pro-pollution stance is certainly not going to change unless voters demand it, vote in Republicans who are passionate about public health and clean energy, and force out the Republicans with corrupt ties to pollution industries like coal, oil, & gas. Crony capitalism has no place in US politics — ya know?