RE: [hreg] Hydrogen-based transportation
- Robert-Regarding your statement "If you want to propose a national energy independence thrust, why not make a big umbrella that everyone can fit under? Include more oil drilling and natural gas in your plan, and more nuclear power. TIE THAT to funding of the other parts of your plan. ........ For example, promote drilling in the Artic as part of a package that includes the fuel cell research, hybrid research, renewable power research and incentives, conservation measures, etc., that you want."The Chaney-Bush-Lay National Energy policy released in May 2001 used the same idea. While cutting R&D funding for hydrogen technology in half for the following year, and while paying lip-service to wind,solar,biomass, and geothermal, the plan to actually increase funding for these alternative energy technologies was to "Earmark $1.2 billion of bid bonuses from the environmentally responsible leasing of Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to fund research into alternative and renewable energy resources including wind, solar, biomass, and geo-thermal." (Source: National Energy Policy, May 16, 2001, page 13. For full 170 page report, see http://www.whitehouse.gov/energy/National-Energy-Policy.pdf )Why is new funding for alternative and renewable energy resources contingent on opening up ANWR to drilling? The auto and oil companies receive their subsidies directly from approprations and tax relief.Cameron-----Original Message-----
From: Robert Johnston [mailto:rjohnsto@...]
Sent: Sunday, January 13, 2002 1:52 AM
Subject: RE: [hreg] Hydrogen-based transportation
Charlie, do I qualify as one of those providing a wide variety of outlooks and opinions on this list? ;-)
In response to your request for feedback, here are a few comments:
- If your agenda is to be: to encourage conservation and develop renewable energy so as to achieve energy independence from foreign oil, dont be surprised if the first part is forgotten and the last part emphasized. Youd probably find friends in high places that would support domestic drilling as a way to achieve energy independence from foreign oil!
- I think the true cost of competing technologies needs to be included in the price. When that is done, then conservation or renewable energy will be used where they make sense. I prefer this approach vs. a Manhattan Project approach. One only has to look to Japan or Europe to see the deleterious effect of too much government intervention and direction in industrial planning. What looked like a good way to go a few years ago now looks like it bred inefficiency and noncompetitive structures.
- As strategy, using corporations rather than fighting them would seem to me a more effective way to implement your goals. Generally, for every company clinging to a technology, there is another seeking to displace it. Find that company and work with it, and let it fight the battles for you.
- Along those lines (and conservation), I think there remains a need for a national consumer information center that tests and reports objective information on various energy-related technologies. There is not a reliable clearinghouse/source of information for this kind of data right now (that Im aware of). For example, Ive been disappointed with my experience with compact fluorescent lighting thus far. Of the several varieties Ive purchased, some brands have failed very soon (yet it isnt worth the postage to send them in under warranty for a replacement of the same poor quality bulb). Other brands flicker. Others start up very dim and only gradually warm up (and some brands that looked good at first take on this behavior after awhile). Where is objective information from a testing laboratory that offers performance information freely to consumers? I think this is not an unrealistic expectation of DOE: (a) to set performance standards; (b) to certify products according to those standards (directly or via UL or other lab); (c) to make consumer information freely available based on objective laboratory testing. If this information were reliable and widely available, and if minimal standards of performance were defined, then conservation would be encouraged. As it is, consumers try the new technologies, get a bad taste in their mouths and give up.
- I think that enabling markets to facilitate the causes of conservation and renewables is the way to go. Pollution credits and trading thereof, for example. I know this is anathema to some environmentalists, but it seems to me to be the best way to encourage the most cost-effective achievement of environmental goals. Along these lines, take a look at my response to Cameron. Id like to see someone promote the idea of emissions-related speed controls, e.g., efficient vehicles or multi-rider vehicles are exempted from lower speed limits mandated by ozone abatement programs. Special license plates or stickers would assist law enforcement. This is an example of how voters could be empowered rather than disenfranchised by their government; they could proactively participate in the decision of how government affects their lives, by their vehicle purchasing and usage decisions. There are quite a few frustrated voters right now who feel the EPA/TNRCC are dictating onerous terms without their having a meaningful voice in the policies implemented.
- Finally, if we must have a government funded program, then lets do it evenly, and consider a win-win proposition for both sides rather than fighting the oilmen and big corporations. If you want to propose a national energy independence thrust, why not make a big umbrella that everyone can fit under? Include more oil drilling and natural gas in your plan, and more nuclear power. TIE THAT to funding of the other parts of your plan. In short, rather than trying to enlarge your piece while shrinking theirs, make the whole pie larger. For example, promote drilling in the Artic as part of a package that includes the fuel cell research, hybrid research, renewable power research and incentives, conservation measures, etc., that you want. WHAT?! Am I CRAZY?! No. Think of it this way: If you believe that what is needed to get renewables and conservation successfully implemented nationally is $XX billion (I assume that is what you believe since you are proposing a Manhattan project), then make sure that your plan includes that much money for renewables, as part of a larger overall energy plan. If you are correct, then what will happen is this: Initially there will be a surge in drilling etc., and yes, you wont like it. But in the long run you will have accelerated the time at which those technologies become economically disadvantaged, and thus you will stop them sooner than if you just fought them (and lost) year after year. In short, I think there is some logic to a national energy independence campaign, but to achieve your goals, you need to jujitsu your opponents.
My 2 cents.
From: ChasMauch@... [mailto:ChasMauch@...]
Sent: Saturday, January 12, 2002 10:36 AM
Subject: Re: [hreg] Hydrogen-based transportation
Like most big corporations with political clout, the Big 3 have other ways of dealing with competition besides making a competitive product. The first time they were seriously challenged by foriegn competitors offering a superior product 20 or 30 years ago they went to the government and got 5 year's worth of import quotas to "give them time to get competitive." I remember it well - had to wait in line for months and pay a premium to get my Toyota Tercell. They just used the 5 year grace period of protection from competition to continue making profits and still did not have a competitive product - it took them many years to change their sluggish ways and finally start making good cars - some say they still have not really achieved superiority but - like many things - that's a matter of opinion.
But I would like to change the subject slightly. Since we have a wide variety of outlooks and opinions on this list, I would like to get a sense of how everyone feels about another matter that is not off subject - in fact it is seriously relevant to our organization - we are, after all, the Houston Renewable Energy group.
Several weeks ago a member of the Houston Chronicle editorial board wrote an editorial entitled "Lead us to energy independence, Mr. Bush" in which he suggested that we need to have a "Man on the Moon" or "Manhattan Project" effort to encourage conservation and develop renewable energy so as to achieve energy independence from foriegn oil, since we now import almost 60% of what we use. This affects our national security, our balance of payments, our total economy, the environment, and many other matters. He suggested that since Bush and Chaney are oil men, they were the ones to do this, much as Nixon had the credentials as a commie fighter to open our relations with China.
Then several weeks later I saw the same identical ideas expressed by Thomas Friedman in the NY Times, even including the reference to the "Nixon-China" thing.
Then last week I was meeting with Congressman Kevin Brady (a moderate Republican from the Houston area) about another matter and in passing mentioned it to him and he said he thought it might be a good idea.
Now I had thought about this myself but dismissed it as maybe a bit too radical but now I feel that it makes sense and is something we should do and the public would accept. Since I will be running for the Texas Railroad Commission on the Green Party line again this year, I plan to make it a very serious part of my campaign and discuss it at every opportunity.
I know this is not a focus group but would appreciate some thoughts from everyone, including some of you lurkers. I know also some folks have complained about too much traffic on this list and I guess I am one of the worst offenders so it you prefer to just send it to me and not the whole list, that's fine (but I would hope it would be of interest to most of our members). Thanks for your consideration.
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- I have accepted to be at the Woodlands event on April 8.John Gardner
Michael Ewert <mewert@...> wrote:Looking ahead to Earth Day, Id like to get an idea how many of you will be willing to help staff an HREG booth at one event or other. Im sure we will have many opportunities and I dont want to accept more than we can handle. Please let me know if you would like to staff the specific request below or if you would like to sign up tentatively to staff another Earth Day event. Most will be on Saturdays in April. Please e-mail me at mewert@.... Thank you.-----Original Message-----
From: Eric Duran [mailto:eduran@...]
Sent: Thursday, January 19, 2006 11:35 AM
Subject: Bellaire Earth DayMr. Ewert,I'm writing to ask the Houston Renewable Energy Group to participate in Bellaire's Earth Day Festival on April 22nd, 2006. We'd like you to have an informative booth at the Nature Discovery Center site, from 10am to 2pm. We're asking the exhibitors this year to make the booths as interactive as possible, but information would be okay, as well. We look forward to having your organization join us.Thank you,Eric DuranStaff NaturalistNature Discovery Center713-667-6550