Sunday, August 31, 2008

My "Plan" For U.S. Energy Independence

My "Plan" For U.S. Energy Independence

Thank you CubConn for the idea.

Summary: Think plug-in flex fuel hybrids operating on biodieselhol made right here in the USA. The biodieselhol would be a mix of cellulosic and algae derived Biobutanol, and algae-biodiesel.

Such a mix would burn cleanly, be carbon neutral, domestically produced, renewable, and priced at today's fuel prices. It would not drive food prices up. It would be used in small super efficient diesel engines that would charge plug in hybrids (which use electric motors) when needed - thus achieving up to 100 MPG in an average sedan, or about half that in a full sized truck or SUV.

Think 80-100 MPG (easy to achieve, and already has been with a battery pack, and plug in kit using a Toyota Prius) for sedans, and 40-50 MPG for full sized flex fuel plug in hybrid trucks and SUVs.

Biodiesel and ethanol could be used to heat homes, and power factories.

The technologies are all converging on providing a solution to the problem of oil, and it is just a matter of having a government on the people's side long enough to help industries to convert.

Any solution will take time. No one can snap their fingers, and suddenly replace imported oil. Any solution will take decades. Existing automobiles will take up to thirty years to eliminate from the nations roads, and my plan would accelerate that to twenty years.

I recommend that the U.S. government take the major role in the transition toward a carbon neutral economy. Industry will do the work, but government needs to play an important role in getting the process started.

First, this will cost money, lots of it, so no balanced budget for awhile.

I don't pretend to know all of the details so I'm going to keep my proposal very rough.


I would implement a cap and trade program for green house gas emissions.

I would implement tough CAFE standards on cars, suvs, and trucks so that within ten years such fleets must average 45 MPG, within fifteen years 55 MPG, and within twenty years 70 MPG.

I would provide tax breaks to homeowners, landlords, developers, etc., to increase the energy efficiency of their commercial and residential buildings.

I would also restore, and triple tax breaks on the purchase of hybrid automobiles.

I would triple federal tax breaks for businesses, and homeowners which install solar voltaic systems.

I would provide federal grants to rural school districts which purchase solar systems and wind turbines to provide power for their schools.

I would mandate that all federal automobile fleets, including the postal service, use hybrid vehicles, and run on flex fuels.

I would mandate that every federal building install photovoltaic, and/or solar heating systems.

I would provide federal grants to each state to subsidize the installation of solar heating and electric systems to heat and power every state's governmental buildings, all the way down to the municipal level.

I would provide federal grants to any university, community college, secondary, and elementary school in the nation to help pay for the installation of photovoltaic systems.

I would provide grants to State, County, and Municipal governments to replace their fleets of automobiles and trucks with hybrids.

I would promote the use of biodiesel, cellulosic-ethanol, and biodieselhol in all military land, ships, and aircraft with the exception of nuclear powered craft. Jet aircraft fuel would also be derived from renewable sources.

I would pass laws which encourage municipalities to allow homeowners, and businesses which produce more electricity than they need to sell it to the utility companies, and force utilities to purchase that power.

I would provide tax incentives to investors in green companies.

I would provide low interest rate loans to businesses seeking to develop cellulosic ethanol.

I would provide low interest rate loans to businesses seeking to develop bio diesel.

I would fully fund mass transit programs, and high speed rail programs.

I would provide grants to governmental bodies to switch their mass transit systems so as to rely upon renewable domestically produced carbon neutral forms of fuel and energy.

I would fund cash rewards programs to businesses which pass milestones in the development of technology and processes which lead to energy independence.

I would fund carbon sequestration pilot programs (clean coal).

I would authorize the building of the next generation of nuclear power plants, and begin the process of moving and processing of spent nuclear fuel to the Yucca Mountain long term storage facility.

I would subsidize a proof of concept program on cracked rock geothermal, and provide tax breaks to companies starting such power plants.

I would provide grants to each state which could be used to build very large energy projects of their own choosing as long as they were carbon neutral, and use domestically produced energy.

I would encourage through grants and tax breaks the development of small scale hydroelectric plants.

I would require that all fuel service stations in the country offer ethanol based flex fuels, and biodiesel. Such stations would receive grants and tax breaks to pay for the cost of the installation.

I would provide for tax breaks for households and businesses which would install LED lighting, replacing less efficient forms of lighting. Less efficient forms of lighting would become illegal to sell after ten years.

I would make the standard gasoline engine illegal to sell (new) within ten years. Engines would need to be able to burn flex fuels, including: ethanol, biodiesel, or biodiesalhol.

I would make the sale of gasoline illegal within twenty years.

I would cut red tape, and reduce approval time for use of federal lands to be used by corporations, and municipal power companies for the development of those lands for photovoltaic, wind, geothermal, and hydroelectric power plants.

It could take ten or twenty years to break our dependence upon foreign oil, but it could be done in a way that creates jobs, and helps our economy. We're going to have to do it anyway, so why not do it in a way the benefits the people of the U.S. instead of waiting until the oil economy collapses.


rickmonday said...


I agree with every single one of your points. I would the following though:

1. Somehow free up patents for alternative energies or processes that big oil companies have purchased and just sat on.

I dont know how to exactly word it or to determine whether someone is just sitting on it to keep it off the market, but there are plenty of lawyers to figure out the proper language

cubconn said...

The very unfortunate truth is that none of this innovation happens or has happened until the price of oil reached the breaking point. Which, in my humble estimation, it has. I agree with and appreciate your recommendations. The tricky part of all of this is that we need to bridge to those alternatives. Thus, unfortunately, we need to exhaust our oil opportunities in order to maintain a viable economy that can support innovative ideas that will free us from oil.

I like your proposals and I wish we were 20 years further along in the process.

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