September 11, 2011
Overnight our leadership had an epiphany that our country would benefit if we dramatically moved to being powered primarily by renewable energy
starting with our transportation system which would be converting to electric drives for cars with gas/electric for heavy trucks. Markets would go through the roof the next day as our trade deficit would start to shrink as oil imports would no longer be needed. A surplus of $300 to $500 billion would now become available to fund and pay for the transition. An instant stimulus package would be set in motion because Americans would no longer need to fork over $1,000 for every man woman and child in the US to send overseas to fund oil imports. Put another way the average American family would now have an extra $400 per month to spend!
Wouldn’t cars cost more? Absolutely not, they would cost less as the battery powering the car would be leased separately from the car reducing the car cost below that of gas powered cars. Our leadership would be sensible enough to mandate the separation of the battery (which is after all the fuel pack) from the car as was done in the gasoline car. Electric cars would also be much cheaper to drive since they are 3 times as efficient as a gasoline powered car and driving it will cost more like 10 cents a gallon. The automobile business would undergo a tremendous new cycle of business opportunities as a result of battery competition, engine miniaturization, material science research and development for lighter and safer cars—we are talking new companies and millions of new jobs.
All those unemployed people would not be collecting unemployment checks because the job of paving America’s Interstate Highway medians with solar panels to generate the electricity to recharge the battery packs for cars would be going to the currently unemployed. Of course building and maintaining the new PV plants would also be jobs that cannot be outsourced.
Our much argued over budget deficit would disappear because the newly robust cleantech transformation economy will be creating millions of new jobs in the US. Our defense budget will be significantly lower since we will not be bothering to deploy American troops on foreign soils to protect our former energy resources. We have plenty of sun energy available right here in the US. You might say we have a Saudi Arabia of PV energy in the American Southwest.
Alas what if is not what is.
Ran Kohn is Executive Director of Cleantech Corridor