Renewable Energy and the Public Policy Transformation
We live in interesting times. Renewable electricity sources age spreading on the market, new technologies are still being invented and prices of traditional fuels constantly pick up. I believe we should consider what does it all mean for us – for our everyday lives that we live today and for our future social changes.
We get alternative energy from few different sources like wind and water turbines, geothermal power plants, or solar batteries). Commercialisation of these solutions is taking place from quite a long time already. Believers of these solutions claim this is because of active work of oil industry. People connected to it are told to be spending huge money on lobbying and bribing government to keep things just as they are today. Oil and coal consortiums get huge subsidies and other support (like supporting regulations) from governments, and media burry real social costs of their use. Mainstream media also do not say anything about possible alternatives (like alternative energy sources, among which some can be called free energy generator). Just like everyone was somehow wired to chose close term benefits over long term benefits.
If we want to change things we need to take the economy to the debate. Economists have discussed it many times, what exactly should be done to switch the world into using renewable energy. The one single most important think they talk about is… taxes. Change of taxes is necessary as long as we’re talking about long term transformation. What is necessary is lowering income taxes and raising taxes on environmentally destructive solutions (connected to fossil fuels industry). For example coal use equals increased health care costs associated with breathing polluted air, the costs of acid rain damage. Things like that should be included within ‘fossil fuels tax’. The main idea is to make using coil and oil a bad deal. Some of modern economies in Europe (likeNorway,France,Germany, orItaly) already started implementing this tax shifting (the call it “Environmental Tax Reform”). And it brings great effects. For instance inGermanytraditional fuels use has been lowered by 5% in just two years.
Another crucial issue economists arise is a need of grants shifting. As long as governments will subside oil industry, there will be expansion on fossil fuels usage. What we need is to relocate subsidies traditional energy into renewable solar, wind, and geothermal power. In parts of the Europe and Asia this has already started, but in United States it’s just the opposite – the financial support for fossil fuels and nuclear power has been increased.
When global economic crisis began main economies allocated big money into renewable energy. That was to support recovery of global economy. This may be good beginning of a new stage of these technologies development and spread.