The “green revolution” continues to be marked with dis-information. A lot of the promise of so the called “green” technology is cost reduction, emissions reduction, energy independence or green jobs. So far, the path has been marked with poor results.
Switching light bulbs from incandescent to fluorescent is supposed to be a great way to reduce electrical costs at home. I, for one, switched every light in my home two years ago and I can’t see any improvement in my monthly bills. The only benefit so far, is that I haven’t changed out a light bulb in two years. I can’t even find any decrease in the cost of heating during the winter, when the waste heat from the lighting in the house would normally have some effect.
Another aspect of cost reduction is return on investment. Solar cells and horizontal wind turbines have payback periods that are as long as the equipment life expectancy. Most utility companies with alternative energy portfolios are forecasting the cost of electricity to increase in the near future. Certainly not what was promised.
The myth of energy independence is based on the energy equivalence of electrical watts and a barrel of oil. While you can calculate how many watts of electricity are contained in a barrel of oil, there are no alternative energy technologies that displace oil imports. This is because almost no foreign oil is used in the production of electricity. Energy independence will only come from more efficient cars, using electric and hybrid cars, and refining crude oil from domestic sources.
US lawmakers are attempting to make emissions “taxable” through a tax and credit policy that is complicated and obscure. So reducing emissions is supposed to be accelerated through this new category of tax. But many industry analysts have commented that the new policies will add cost. (No, I haven’t read the legislation)
And regarding job creation, well, close reading of the American Wind Energy Association’s report shows that a lot of the job numbers are inflated. In this report employees that install insulation are “green jobs” that are counted in the report. Also, parts of the appliance manufacturing industry’s employment are counted since some portion of the business is focused on “energy efficient” products. No specifics are provided with these reports.
There is certainly some job growth currently, but it’s nothing like the claims. There are jobs being created because the installation of wind and solar systems requires trained people to do this work. But on the manufacturing side many of the components are still coming from other countries. China, for example, is leading the market for solar cell costs.
So far, on any basis that you can evaluate the “Green Revolution”, we’re not seeing any major successes. That’s what happens when politicians take charge of technology. This is all stuff that can be addressed in the free market that used to be the was the US did business.