7. The Future And Politics Of Solar Energy
If there is one organized body capable of the political leverage needed to give solar energy a boost, it is the American union movement. They will be able to see the job potential of solar energy. However, the job-creating powers of solar energy could hold it back in corporate circles because industrialists want to keep a certain measure of control over people when there is adequate unemployment to hold down wages. That is, the more people out of work, the more competition there is for what jobs are available, and the easier to keep wages down and hold back unions (of course, no one will admit to this outright). Remember, the nuclear power industry has $100 billion dollars on the line.
In this country the top 19% of families owns about 76% of all the privately-held wealth, with the bottom 25% having no assets at all (Dr. L. C. Thurow, M.I.T. Department of Economics, 1979). The concentration of power and wealth is such that the top 5% of the American population owns more assets than the bottom 81% combined. Goods produced, no matter what their function, are looked at in terms of selling them at a profit. Purchasers are locked into a system of dependence with built-in obsolescence. Products that become a necessity in life and that can’t be made by the purchasers themselves are considered best. Centralized energy fits into this category, and decentralized solar energy gets only lip service from our rulers. The people themselves are surely intelligent enough to see that solar energy works in their best interest.
A newsclip from June 1981, stated that “in a sharp reduction of the federal government’s role in solar energy, the Reagan administration has ordered the dismissal of 370 of the 959 employees at the four-year-old Solar Energy Research Institute at Golden, Colorado, and has fired its director.” In addition, the institute’s budget was to be cut to $50 million for the next year, which was a 50% reduction. This would reduce spending for outside research. The Reagan administration’s “logic” was that most development work should be carried out by private industry—it increased the budget for nuclear power, however. An internal Department of Energy report concluded that American taxpayers have quietly subsidized the private U.S. nuclear industry with almost $40 billion over the past 30 years. In reality, nuclear-generated electricity is actually costing Americans two times what the atomic industry claims. So, is it alright for us to subsidize nuclear power, but different when solar power is concerned? The report says that between 1950 and 1979, billions of dollars in federal subsidies went for such things as designing early reactors, getting low-cost fuel to reactors and guaranteeing loans to power plants.
The Energy Research and Development Administration (formerly the Atomic Energy Commission) says “solar energy falling on about 3% of land, if utilized at about 10% efficiency, could meet the total projected U.S. energy requirements for the year 2000.”
The big hurdle in promoting solar energy is getting the public enlightened. Changes must really be made on a worldwide basis in order to be effective, because the biosphere is like one big aquarium—we have seen how pollution affects everyone. We who are already enlightened about pure diets based on living food, and using alternative, renewable energy sources, should reach out to others and share the knowledge.
- 1. Solar Energy
- 2. Nonrenewable Resources
- 3. Nuclear Power
- 4. Solar Systems
- 5. A Solar Home
- 6. Solar Energy And You
- 7. The Future And Politics Of Solar Energy
- 8. Other Renewable Energy Sources
- 9. Questions & Answers
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