An Idea for the New Public Works Initiative

What should we do to employ more people? What should we do to get closer to energy independence?

What if we did something that helps both at the same time?

A major issue with alternative energy systems like solar and wind power is that it isn’t (yet) quite as cost-efficient as oil, coal, or gas. There isn’t yet an economy-of-scale to help reduce costs on these systems. Early adopters carry a big cost burden for the initial installation.

Producers of alternative energy systems could use more orders to establish their businesses and fund further research and development. But with a big economic downturn going on, customers who have enough money to finance the equipment are rarer than ever.

So here’s the idea: use the next big government push to employ people to do so as alternative energy installers, and fund financing to allow people to afford the alternative energy system being installed. This gets people working at jobs that are going to be in demand for decades to come, allows alternative energy manufacturers to get scaled up sooner, and reduces our energy dependence on foreign oil and gas. If we specify that systems installed will be grid-ready, but also able to go off-grid for completely self-reliant households, we would also improve emergency preparedness, too.

Yeah, there’s lots of details to be worked out. But I think that there way more positives going for this than negatives.

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Wesley R. Elsberry

Falconer. Interdisciplinary researcher: biology and computer science. Photographer. Husband. Christian. Activist.

2 thoughts on “An Idea for the New Public Works Initiative

  • 2010/09/20 at 9:51 am
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    The Ontario government (after some rather stupid false starts) is offering 20 year contracts at preferential rates to small-scale electricity producers, with the proviso that some percentage of the hardware has to be sourced in-province. We’ve taken advantage of this to install 2.7kw of photovoltaic beside our house. The system went live at the end of January, and to date has contributed ~2.3MWhrs to the grid.

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