News, opinions and activism regarding our energy future, and local solutions for Perth, Western Australia.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

A Practical Legislative Action Plan

Considering that the US is responsible for 25% of the planet's energy use and greenhouse gas production, any global solution to the coming energy and environmental crisis unquestionably requires action on their part... action that the current US establishment has been recalcitrant to provide, considering the power of industrial lobby groups in US politics, and particularly with the Republican party.

So its no suprise that the US progressive movement has some... well progressive suggestions. Its a document called Energize America, which has just seen the fifth draft recieve public release, and its a collaborative effort to force some positive change within our capitalist system (i.e. its not a communist or utopian solution, which at the end of the day, are impractical given the realities of present social and power structures). It has mainly been developed through the Daily Kos community, which is the highest traffic blog on the net, with over half a million visits daily.

I have watched the development of this document over the past year, as it has taken input from investment bankers, politicians, lawyers, engineers and many many others, all united by a vision that something needs to be done. Please at least read the brief Executive Summary, if not the Full Draft, which is very long. Its long because it describes why the action plan is needed, how it can be promoted, and specific legislation that can be enacted.

Much of this legislation can be applied to Australia, which has similar problems as the US with regards to urban sprawl, coal based electricity generation, low fuel economy cars and poor mass transit. The plan includes 20 legislative acts:

I.......The Passenger Vehicle Fuel Efficiency Act ("500mpg cars")
II......The Transportation Industry Efficiency Act ("Long Haul")
III.....The Fleets Conversion Act ("Mass Transit")
IV.....The Community-Based Energy Investment Act ("Neighborood Power")
V......The Passenger Rail Restoration Act ("Bullet Trains")
VI.....The Clean Coal Generation Act ("Clean Coal")
VII....The Wind Energy Production Tax Credit Act ("Reap the Wind")
VIII...The 20 Million Solar Roof Act ("Harness the Sun")
IX.....The Renewable Portfolio Standards Act ("Fair Everywhere")
X......The Federal Net Metering Act ("Get on the Grid")
XI.....The State-Based Renewable Energy Investment Act ("Green States")
XII....The New Energy Technology Demonstration Act ("Liquid Coal and Golden Glow")
XIII...The Sustainable Energy Economic Prosperity Act ("Focused for Lasting Success")
XIV...The Carbon Reduction Act ("Atmosphere Stability")
XV....The Federal Energy Policy Enforcement Act ("People's Energy Watchdog")
XVI...The National Energy Efficiency & Conservation Act ("EnergySMART")
XVII..The Home Efficiency Act ("C the Light")
XVIII.The Demand Side Management Act ("Real Time Energy Pricing")
XIX...The Telecommuter Assistance Act ("Work Smart")
XX....The Energy Security Funding Act ("Paying the Piper")


For more detail see the Full Fifth Draft of "Energize America". I just hope the progressive movement in Australia, if it exists, (please, if anyone knows where it is let me know in a comment!) can pick up on some of these ideas and run with them.

4 Comments:

Anonymous technofreak said...

My favourite Act here is the Solar-power one.

15 years ago my father and a business associate devised a plan to market Solar & Rainwater collection systems for the Ausrtralian market. They developed a rainwater collection system that could safely be used in city areas (incorporating filtration methods). They basically saw that the roof of every house in Australia was a resource that was largely untapped.

Finally, local councils have grasped the idea of rainwater collection and incorporate it into building plans.

I would like to see the same thing done with Solar-power. Considering that current market prices indicate that for about $15k you can power your house completely from Solar energy....imagine if everyone started to get on board with this idea and the prices dropped even further...?

19/5/06 22:09

 
Blogger mike said...

Interesting! I agree that the cities need to take a leaf out of country Australia's book and collect rainwater. What was the company called? I will be looking at buying a house when I return to Perth in 6months or so and had already been thinking about rainwater collection.

$15k if that figure is correct for a solar power system is not a great deal on a $300k house or whatever the average price is now. This something I really would like to investigate further - Australia has so much potential for solar power but I'm not sure yet whether the economics are there for large scale PV installations. Its really something I need to research further so any links to good sources would be appreciated!

20/5/06 17:41

 
Anonymous technofreak said...

Sorry, thought I saved the link...eek!!
I found it oneday last month while searching for solar power kits that are portable. Came across an Australian site that listed all these home kits. I was surprized to see it was so cheap. Something I would do if I was going to buy a house.

My Fathers company is "Rainsaver" water tanks. Sold through most large hardware stores etc. Nylex are producing them for him now. My father started in the rainwater tank business back in 1980 during the drought when we lived on the farm. His tanks have a diverter valve in them that diverts the first flow of water in order to wash the roof before collecting. There are several filter options available to further condition the water should you feel the need to.

Best of luck.

22/5/06 08:11

 
Anonymous technofreak said...

http://www.solazone.com.au/SOLPOWER.htm

Found it!!
Prices vary according to what you need of course. Kits start at $12k and go up from there.
Considering that you get paid for excess energy the value in going for a bigger system would prolly pay off in no time.

Still, I reckon that even the largest system is worth it just for the peace of mind of having endless free energy for the rest of your life...

22/5/06 08:21

 

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