How Will the Stimulus Affect Energy?

This article suggests the energy stimulus will be mostly green and decentralized-

I’m not sure how the author of this article (Richard Martin) knows this, but he says the part of the stimulus directed specifically at energy will consist mostly of community based activities, retrofitting, energy efficiency and the like.

I add that this kind of energy stimulus will also create more jobs per dollar by far than remote solar farms, wind farms, and transmission lines.

The article is in New West. How Will the Stimulus Affect Energy? By Richard Martin







  1. kt Avatar

    I sure hope making more energy efficient buildings and communities is where the stimulus goes. So we can save energy, and not need all of this humongous new infrastructure.

    It will destroy sage-grouse and other wildlife habitat, and local people across the West don’t want huge new transmission corridors, either.

    These folks want to shove the Idaho Power Boardman line back onto public land. Scary stuff, though – just how much spray is on those onions or suspended in some kind of aerosol if electricity might arc through spray brine to zap a person or cow on the ground?

    When you think about these huge corridors tearing all over the pace – and these destructive public land wind or solar plants – it is like a mining boom. “Claims” are staked. Wind Speculator A’s Met (wind monitoring) towers go up before BLM lets Wind Speculator B in on the action. Investment and hedge fund speculation get rolling. Important people and friends of politicians pour big-bucks into a betting on the plant getting built. Plant gets ok’d – then there is a brief “boomtown” where fleabag hotels have No Vacancy signs (the kind me and the dogs stay in, too, when forced by bad weather)— followed by only a hand full of permanent jobs. I think the Basin and Range Watch folks had some figures for the proposed industrial wind facility near Searchlight, Harry Reid’s hometown and also the name of his PAC Political Action Committee). Only 15 or fewer permanent job once a wind plant is built.

  2. Ralph Maughan Avatar

    You’re right, KT. Capital intensive projects provide few jobs. That certainly doesn’t make them bad things to do, but these powerlines and remote wind and solar certainly seem to be horrible in environmental impacts and a likely source of new ill-gotten wealth for a few.

  3. outsider Avatar

    I find this thread kinda funny. If you had told me 5 years ago that there was going to be massive wind power projects, and the main force opposed to them was going to be the Enviros, I would have called you crazy. But here we are and WOW. I guess maybe after we have rolling blackouts, triple the current cost of eleciclty, then and only then will some of you see we need more power generation. In a perfect world we would all just put on another sweater, and turn down the lights, maybe retro fix some buildings and yada yada. But foks heres the reality, we need more power, be carful of what you oppose because the alternitive might just be worse, ie. nucular, coal, and natral gas. Sooner or later your going to to have to decide.

  4. vickif Avatar

    Okay, I sort of agree with outsider.
    We do have choices to make, and some of them require us to determine the lesser of two evils. You will not stop energy use, you can merely manage it for maximum efficiency.
    Not every spot on a map is ideal for wind, but no spot is good for a coal mine.
    I diagree with outsider though, in the suggestion that ‘it is a fact that we need more power’. We need more, we need to better use what we have, and even find ways of using less.
    Everyday, we see more and more products boasting that they are more efficient. Than what? We need an effciiency rating scale. We have one for food, for vehicles, for drugs…why not for energy consuming products. And why have we not introduced legislation to mandate recyclable batteries be used for products manufactured after a set date? Heck, we have mandated digital media signals….yet we can’t say ‘if you make a battery after January 1 , 2010, it must be recyclable.’
    It is my understanding that there is increasing focus being placed on smaller grids and locally based energy.
    No matter how you look at it, this IS progress, because it is being researched and talked about. WOuld we have seen this under the last admin? Nope, so here it is…speak up, but keep in mind that SOMETHING has to be done. If not wind, then what? If not solar, then what? You can say ‘use less’ and some folks will hear you, but most of them will use whatever is available…so you need to make what is available BETTER, or make it so obsolete that is extinct.

    There is big industry involved when you think that you can give 15 people in umpteen places a job long term, but you give hundreds in those umpteen places a job now. That increases spending and therefore ‘recycles’ the economy and the tax base.
    The jobs don’t end with the 15 people who have permanent jobs in the direct energy market…it goes on to the realator next door, the checker who can afford to spend more on her cable bill because her electric bill is half as much, the banker who got the loan for the energy developer. The economy doesn’t operate on an immediate relief basis, it breathes on the trickle down life support system. The effect of the moment promotes the entirety by how it reaches varied degrees of seperation.
    Is this a cure? No, you can not cure a chronic problem. The use of energy is just that, chronic. The need for jobs is chronic, the need for tax revenues is chronic.
    We cannot change some things, but we can effect and manage many others.

  5. Save bears Avatar
    Save bears


    As far as I know, all batteries have been recyclable for many years now and just about every community I have been in the last ten years, advertises they have days to recycle them and have encouraged us NOT to throw them in the trash…

    What makes you think they are not recyclable?

  6. vickif Avatar

    Save Bears,
    I know you can ‘recycle’ batteries, as in you can break them down and use the parts/components. I meant that they should be rechargable. Sorry. I have been working three jobs recently (regualr job, and consulting) and have only slept about an average 2 hours per day. 🙂 Never let anyone fool you into thinking that lack of sleep doesn’t effect the mind’s sharpness.
    Still yet, they should stop producing any item that is not rechargable, or requires an excess of energy be used to break it down, to the greatest extent possible.
    There are a number of items it is lucrative to recycle, ie: t.v.’s and computers. But the process still requires a lot of energy be used to do it. It also is a system that needs to be streamlined, making it more efficient and more cost effective for those who donate and those who do the recycling.
    Then again, if we had more lithium batteries, with greater energy out-put, we could certainly utilize less electricity (or non-lithium but long lasting). Eventually it still requires clean up somehow, and energy to manufacture. Which puts us all back at this same question, “which is the best way to proceed, and does the least harm with the most reduction in other negative consumption”?
    There is no one hundred percent fix here, it all comes at a cost. If the conservation community becomes the ‘no’ crowd, we will be seeing little change and increased opposition.
    Being a conservationist is starting to look more like the Arab/Israel conflict everyday. Both sides are far too all or nothing, and look how far it has gotten the. I know the situations are both very comlicated, but seeing that you can’t win an all-or-nothing war is not complicated at all. When has it ever been done with a perfect plan that didn’t hurt anyone or anything? Never.
    I don’t know, it can be a very dismal thing to ponder. Perhaps that is why people can burn out quickly when fighting this big battle, and become complacent? It can suck the energy right out of you.(No pun intended)


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Ralph Maughan