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The Cost of Doing Nothing

The cost of "doing nothing" to support alternative energy and efficiencies includes the loss of manufacturing and export opportunities.

One of the main arguments against shifting to alternative energy and adopting energy efficiencies has been the up front associated costs. 

A video put together by the Florida Solar Energy Center, a research institute of the University of Central Florida shows the cost of not taking action to increase efficiencies and invest in alternative energy. The video targets Florida, but the principals put forth are applicable anywhere.

Energy retrofits and investment in renewable energy is the strategy offered that would not only cut costs and create jobs but also make it possible for the US to increase exports. Waiting until the cost of solar energy is less than the cost of fossil fuel will mean the US will miss the opportunity to expand it's manufacturing and export capabilities.

It must be remembered that every major energy and transportation sector in the United States owes its success to the US Government nurturing those industries along when they were just getting started.

In "What Would Jefferson Do?" researched and written by Nancy Pfund a Managing Partner of DBL Investors a venture capital firm based in San Francisco and Ben Healy a graduate student at Yale University reported that the US Governments' commitment to Oil and Gas "was five times greater than the federal commitment to Renewables during the first 15 years of each subsidies life and it was more than 10 times greater for nuclear."

Fossil fuel industries still receive generous subsidies in the form of tax breaks, loan guarantees, research and development grants decades after the companies have grown to dominate the political and economic spectrum in the US and globally. 

So it is disingenuous to claim that Solar and other renewable energy alternatives are not worth supporting unless they can compete in the market without federal subsidies.

Silicon Energy manufactures solar panels in Marysville Washington and recently expanded to Minnesota. Blue Frog Solar is a second "Made in Washington" solar company. These manufacturing companies are poised to expand exports to other states and other countries.

But if Congress and the states fail to continue to offer market certainty through offering incentives then China will continue to dominate the solar industry keeping manufacturing jobs overseas. Is that a price we want to pay?

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

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