We do have the power to transform our own communities. 100% renewable energy is the opportunity of the century.
We are reaching a great turning point driven by peak oil, environmental degradation, global warming and a growing global community conciousness. Renewable energy gives democracy a future. Without energy nothing works. Energy is the economy. Dependence on energy suppliers means we the people are no longer in control of our own lives much less our democratic institutions.
The great symbol of this solar and renewable energy revolution is the independent home that produces more energy than it consumes. Many exist all around the world. Your house as a powerplant is an extraordinarily powerful idea says Chris Turner, author of Geography of Hope.
Why does the Renewable Energy Act and Feed-In Tariff (FIT) work so well? There are three critical elements that transform the economic incentives in favor of people and their environment, giving them economic and democratic control over their own lives. This system becomes so successful because it can't be interferred with by the existing energy companies who are among the most powerful entities in the world (profitability, revenue, and therefore politically). These three elements are:
1. Guaranteed access to the grid no matter the size of the player (right down to the individual home owner), no permission from the existing power companies (distribution grid) required.
2. Guaranteed payment for a twenty year period. Investment autonomy.
3. No cap on development so that large industrial scale development proceeds with investment certainty for the long term.
The brilliant thing about a feed-in tariff (FIT) is that it is NOT a subsidy. It is a rate payer surcharge. That means it is NOT your tax dollars that are supporting the extra cost, rather it is just payment per kWh of consumption. That means whoever uses more energy pays more and whoever uses less pays less. On top of that anyone can now become a generator of electricity and that can offset some or all of your costs. It is an incredible opportunity for a producer of renewable energy while non-renewable producers find it less attractive (thus leading to their necessary exit from the market...necessary as non-renewables are the cause of the economic/political instability as well as the carbon emissions).
The political art is to create the policy that puts the power, as an incentive, into the hands of the citizen. Then the dynamic process of societal change takes place organically as it derives from and with society. Then the transformation starts. Nothing can be implemented faster than renewable energies. In a race against time the best option for energy is a decentralized renewable energy system. The need for "100%" renewable energy is to ensure large scale industrial development occurs making other sources of energy unnecessary. The justification for non-renewables like coal, gas, oil and nuclear are always that renewables are not enough...but they are enough. A combination of hydro, wind, solar, biogas, biomass, and geothermal, along with conservation, provides many times more than what is required in a form that is both clean and reliable, while at the same time creating local economic benefits and jobs.
Look to Ontario to learn how you, your state, your country, your province, your city, your community, your house could switch to 100% renewable energy. Ontario has implemented the feed-in tariff that Germany did twenty years ago, thus it will be powered by 100% renewable energy in roughly five to ten years. Combining large scale hydro in Ontario with wind, solar, biogas, biomass and geothermal provides all that is required and can be developed in the shortest timeframes. Ontario produces roughly 30,000 MW annually of which 10,000 MW annually is already large scale hydro. That means all Ontario needs to do is develop 20,000 MW. That is exactly what the renewable energy act in Germany has done in that country over that past twenty years. With the new technology and increasing scale of production it is easy to show how Ontario will be 100% powered by renewable energy in the next ten years, in fact in the next five years.
Where is the problem? The problem is only in the mind. With the information you now have, with the idea that a policy change that you can make happen in your community, you now have the power to create a sustainable local energy supply that creates jobs and cleans up the environment while not being susceptable to fluxuating fuel prices (as is the case for oil, gas, and uranium). Hydro (or biogas, biomass, deep geothermal, large solar thermal with storage) combined with wind/solar/conservation solves the reserve problem with renewable energy. Combined these types of renewables could replace all the coal and nuclear in Ontario, and if they can do that in Ontario, they can do it where you live. The problem is not a technological one. We have the knowledge and technology to make the switch to 100% renewable energy power now. The problem is only in the "mind" which means we have the power to change our collective minds. We can choose to enact green energy policies, like the feed-in tariff that will make this transormation happen rapidly and democratically. Get your community to implement a feed-in tariff (FIT). It is as easy as following what Germany and now Ontario has done. Come talk to us. We'd be happy to help share what we've learned.