THE BATTLE FOR SOLAR POWER & THE ALTERNATIVE ENERGY RENAISSANCE
 


The alternative energy industry, especially the solar industry has grown exponentially since 2010 into being worth £170 billion pounds globally.  This industry is now contributing to economic development.  Utility companies have been threatened by the growth of the alternative energy industry and this has escalated into trade and policy conflicts in countless examples globally, with serious economic and political consequences. Countries have been developing the use of  protectionist policies to encourage domestic manufacturing for alternative energy opening opportunities for foreign entry into domestic markets. However, not all countries are well positioned to become competitive exporters or importers of the same green technologies due to high taxes, but if industrial policies can help create competitive domestic manufacturers, there may be direct domestic economic benefits. Opening the global market entrants can lead to more competition in the sector, and encourage further technological innovation. (Lewis, 2014).


The Renaissance of Alternative Technologies

While most people think of Solar and Wind as the main alternative technologies, we are living in an exciting time with regards to alternative energy systems, yet we have not seen these technologies being delivered onto the public market as quickly as we would like to see considering the environmental problems that many are concerned about and part of the reason is because fossil fuel markets are very powerful with a great deal of financial and political power to impede the development of other alternative energy infrastructures.  The original Water Fuel Cell was invented by Stanley Meyers back in the 1980s, he was poisoned in 1998 at a restaurant, probably by oil barons. A few years before Stanley was murdered he gave a presentation on his water fuel cells, in the presentation, Meyer describes a molecular, chemical and electrical level of  how water can be used as fuel — not just as a gas, but for domestic and industrial electrical generation. Meyers was also the holder of  40 patents.


This year Honda have launched their first water fuel cell car to be available on the public market in March 2016 The water fuel cell car will be made available to the public, and there are pilot studies of solar powered roads being tested and solar cars that are powerful enough to travel over 3000 kms on solar energy that will be available on the public market in the near future. Honda have launched the water fuel cell car in March, 2016 and this system has been demonstrated to also be able to support a domestic household with all the power it needs. However, the current lack of infrastructure worldwide to support Hydrogen fuel cell technology will need to be worked on by alternative energy supporters. What this actually means is the politicians and oil company CEOs and shareholders will not take kindly to the water fuel cell car, that can also provide domestic power to the home to finally become available to the public market, therefore they will make it difficult for hydrogen processing plants and water fuel cell stations to emerge as part of this supportive  infrastructure while those that hold the oil monopoly cards also hold places of political  decision making that stop the emergence of alternative emission free solutions that are also solutions as alternatives to consuming oil, stopping ecocide and the current mechanisms behind war. (O’Callaghan, 2014).


Think about the economical implications this would have on the current oligarchy monopoly on grid electricity power companies and oil stakeholders, when oil companies presently rake in 100,000 dollars per hour in profits. An astronomical amount of fortune that the world powers will defend with severe vehemence to protect a lucrative income, even if it will cost us the destructive to the Planet.



Other technological breakthroughs include developments in Nanotechnology. The entrepreneur, Justin Hall-Tipping, sought out the world’s leading nanotechnology scientists to harness the electron and create energy through nanotechnology, now they have a company called Nanoholdings, which consists of team of scientists, investors and innovators working at the cutting-edge of nanotechnology to develop solutions to the world’s growing energy problems. Working in partnership with the world’s best universities, they have developed products and companies that will revolutionize the way we use and generate energy.  The days of the coal or nuclear power stations are numbered as nanotechnologies are developing. Imagine you live in a building that has very large windows, you can use each window much like a solar panel, simply by using a thin plastic film with energy harnessing systems, embedded inside the film as fine or finer than a human hair, the plastic sheet can be stuck onto the window panes of a house or office building to use the light and heat energy beaming in through the window. This becomes a powerhouse using nanotechnology to convert light energy from the sun to power up the building for heat or to cool or generate electricity and if it is not required there, it can then be sent to someone else who needs it more. (Hall-Tipping, 2011).


Copyright of SolarImpulse 2


 This year, a Solar powered plane flew from Hawaii across the Pacific Ocean to California after flying around the world (Associated Press, 2016) The Plane called Solar Impulse 2 completed its world circumnavigated with 17,000 solar cells in the wing and tail; during the day the cells on the wing supply the motors with energy and charge lithium batteries, which power the plane at night (Ingber, 2015). In Santiago, Chile is opening the world’s first Solar and Wind powered train, in 2018, (Holder, 2016). Such innovations will have a large impact on societies and are perceived as major threats to the utility industries which are part of a politically powerful global monopoly, usually investor owned utilities that politicians and lobby agencies have stakeholds in, these are the political  and financial constraints that hold back humanity becoming 100 per cent sustainable, it’s not because we lack technologies or are hindered by technological developments, on the contrary, we have plenty of options, the obstacles are political and usually protect well established corporate interests, (Sierra Club, 2014).


More and more Free Energy devices are emerging all over the world, Countries like India and China are not going along with the repression of Free Energy, While, in America, the privately owned Patent Office is reported to have already managed to suppress some 44,000 American free-energy patents.

Meanwhile, since Tesla’s work was repressed, scientists and inventors have been creating alternative energy systems for 180 years. Inventions that defy  the theories of physics that humanity adopted as laws, Paramahamsa Tewari is Chief Project Engineer of the Kaiga Project, Karwar, India, he and many other alternative energy scientists have already disproved the mainstream beliefs of the laws of physics. He states “It has been hitherto believed in physics that the total electric charge in the Universe is a constant quantity, and if additional charge appears in some region, it is only at the expense of the charge deficit in some other regions. It is a basic law that electric charge is conserved and cannot be destroyed or created. Precise experiments on a Space Power Generator (SPG) which has been now further developed to demonstrate the commercial viability of the newly discovered phenomenon of space power generation however, totally violate the existing law of conservation of charge, by generating output electrical power much in excess of the input electrical power. Since electric charge is a form of basic energy, the law of conservation of energy will need to be enlarged to incorporate in it the dynamics of absolute vacuum which in a state of rotation generates a fundamental field to produce electrical charge and energy.”  (Naik, 2002)

 

Conflicts with Solar vs Utilities (Fossil Fuels & the Oilgarch)

We will focus mainly on the conflicts between utilities and solar power which are being slowed down by political and corporate conflict of interests. Despite this, there is a positive outlook for the booming Solar Photovoltaics industry which in 2015, exceeded the nuclear power energy production.

In the UK almost 90% of our energy comes from fossil fuels. Together, projects to cut Carbon Emissions such as Power Down and Power Up with the goal to eliminate all emissions from our energy system. Renewable energy provides a primary energy supply before conversion losses of around 1,160 TWh per year, allowing us to meet 100% of a final energy demand of 770 TWh per year (665 TWh per year, not including ambient heat for use in heat pumps) using only ‘zero carbon’ energy sources. Wind energy plays a central role, providing around half of the primary energy supply (581 TWh per year). (Center for Alternative Energy, 2014). The rest is generated using various renewable sources of energy, the UK could step up and follow Germany’s and China’s example, by installing more solar and wind, it would also benefit greatly from utilizing wave power.


Despite the above project initiatives no one wants to take note of the fact that Governments and banks gain around 33 trillion in profit, a year from trading carbon and taxing emissions. Pushing the Global Warming Agenda is a profitable business and an excuse to keep using geoengineering which is poisoning ecosystems globally and unnecessarily blocking out the sun, is this really to cool the planet or is it another excuse to discourage solar energy?  The system of taxing and trading carbon does not remedy the root of the problem, while the emphasis is on carbon emissions in the public arena instead of consumption of Oil, the root cause to these critical environmental problems are blatantly ignored, it is the consumption of oil which is causing ecocide and influencing ecocide  and ecosystem collapse of the planet.


Global oil consumption is the highest it has ever been in human history, in 2010 the world oil consumption was at a rate of 87 million barrels of oil per day,(Rapier, 2014),  in six years of profitable wars for the global elite this has currently increased to 97 million barrels of oil a day, this year 2016. (EIA 2015), That is almost a 100 million barrels per day drained from the Earth. Despite this, we already have exciting fossil fuel alternatives appearing in vehicles, so there really is no need for us to rely so heavily on oil anymore.


In the U.S. utilities have attempted to slow the growth of distributed generation (DG) solar by reversing policy support, and they have greater financial and political resources than the fledging solar industry. Energy companies with power and resources have attempted various strategies to slow the growth of DG solar,  the result vary by strategy type and also depends on the policies in various US States.  Niche organizations can somewhat overcome the political power of regime organizations through various options, to  form coalitions with political parties that support the niche technologies, or gain support from countervailing industrial organizations, and form coalitions with social movements to mobilize political protests and petitions. The political opportunity structure (in this case the party in control of the state government), affects the pattern of niche-regime strategies and interactions. Utility industries such as electricity exercise a strong influence on the development of Solar Technology. Motivation for support for Solar Technology is in the policy arena reflecting the need to find solutions to environmental sustainability issues in ways that create jobs and enhance competitiveness.


When powerful industrial regimes attempt to defend their business-as-usual models, political consensus for this justification for Solar can break down. What are the political strategies available to niche organizations and their coalitions? Some strategies implemented by the fossil industries are that the utilities continue to create obstacles for the Solar Technology market favoured by consumers, who have the right to choose to support the transition of technologies for the environment. The utilities are conveniently ignoring the environmental benefits of Solar technologies and the avoided costs in new non-solar generation and transmission.  Despite this attempts to gain monopoly control over solar energy, such as the legislative effort in the Washington State and  Iowa,  have been unsuccessful.  (Hess, 2015).


However, there are some specific dimensions to the issue that make the analysis of the U.S. cases interesting. For example in the USA,  the Koch-brothers-funded front groups like American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) make it hard for home owners to convert to solar because of the punishing rates they endorse when people attempt to do so, which make the possibility of Solar powered states like Nevada and Arizona lag behind many others, the same situation with Florida, one of the warmest state in the USA, because the Solar market again has been hemmed out with similar techniques by Investor owned fossil fuel companies that have wealth and substantial political power as a result.


Key policies that have spurred a rooftop solar revolution elsewhere in America are absent or actually illegal in Florida.  Another example where utilities have the power to prevent a mandate in Florida for electricity from renewable power. Worse, the state’s restrictive monopoly utility law forbids anyone but the power companies from buying and selling electricity. Landlords cannot sell power from solar panels to tenants. Popular solar leasing programs like those offered by SolarCity and Sunrun are outlawed. Rooftop solar is limited to those who can afford the upfront expense; as a result, fewer than 9,000 Florida homes have panels installed. (Dickenson, 2016).


The USA produces around 25 gigawatts of solar energy and is concern with China and Germany becoming  leaders in alternative energy produced by wind and solar,  China this year has overtaken Germany as the world’s leading solar energy producer with an installed capacity of over 43.2 gigawatts (GW) according to the latest statistics from the National Energy Administration (NEA). Germany produces about  38.4 gigawatts. (Lindon, 2016). The phenomenon with Solar technology is that nanotechnology is developing rapidly that it has elevated the Solar industry so fast as new ways to trap more of the sun’s energy into more powerful cells and convert it into more electricity per cell.


Lobbying should be illegal since it erodes democracy, but Lobbying is a legal form of bribery where corporations can funnel millions to politicians, to influence their decisions and make them rewrite environmental laws to suit the access needs of fossil fuel companies.


The utilities companies funnel millions or billions of dollars though lobbying agencies, a lobbying agency serves as a legal way to bribe or influence the decisions of politicians, so basically a corporation with enough power and money can buy one politician or a whole party to help the company get the outcome they want. (Sierra Club, 2014). Arizona Public Service disclosed to the PUC that its parent corporation had spent $3.7 million on the solar battle that year. (Hess, 2015)


They spent $3.5 billion lobbying in the USA . A group of 167 organisations with almost $3.5 billion of disclosed lobbying spend in the USA, are also engaged in lobbying and public affairs activity in the UK.  Research by Who’s Lobbying in the UK has identified at least 167 organisations with disclosed lobbying activity in both the UK and USA.


In the U.S. the utility industry spent over $21 million in lobbying campaign donations in 2014 in comparison with the roughly $2 million spent by the entire sector of renewable energy industries (Center for Responsive Politics, 2015). Yet, even with these Goliath advantages, the utilities have not always ended policy support for DG solar and contained its rapid growth (Hess, 2015)



When Tony Blair was in power, he was deeply involved with Egypt and Israel’s gas industry as an energy advisor, it was recently revealed that they are involved with plundering Gaza’s gas ocean-based reserves, which Israel is planning on selling to Egypt. The Labour Party, received up to 2.5 million pounds in  lobbying donations  in less than a year, from energy giants, (Ahmed, 2015).


In the USA these 167 organisations have a combined disclosure of $3,499,731,804 total amount spent on lobbying and lobbying firms hired. (Siera Club, 2014).  The UK lobbying system is less transparent and will not disclose the amount of money spent by corporations on politicians, (Whose Lobbying, 2012).


In the UK almost 90% of our energy comes from fossil fuels. Together, projects to cut Carbon Emissions such as Power Down and Power Up with the goal to eliminate all emissions from our energy system.  (CAE, 2014).


While the governments focus on cutting carbon emissions, the focus needs to be on cutting oil consumption in order to cut emissions. Global oil consumption is the highest it has ever been in human history, in 2010 the world oil consumption was at a rate of 87 million barrels of oil per day, (Rapier, 2014) which has currently increased to 97 million barrels of oil a day this year 2016. (EIA 2015),


 That is almost a 100 million barrels per day drained from the Earth. Despite this, we already have exciting fossil fuel alternatives appearing in vehicles, so there really is no need for us to rely so heavily on oil anymore. British Shell Petroleum, which is just one of dozens of different oil companies, makes a net profit of about one hundred million pounds an hour.  (Mann, 2015). This is one of the reasons why there is so much resistance to developing infrastructures for water fuel cell and solar vehicles.

 

Summary

It is not surprising that political-economic conflicts have emerged when the foundation of wealth was built on the fossil fuel industry. While the Oilgarchy will continue different strategies to try to keep things as they are and in some cases, the incentives for conflict may overpower the incentives for cooperation, efforts for continuing to take a collaborative approach to work with major trading partners or coalitions may defuse tensions that lead to feuds before the World Trade Organization or other controlled institutions. (Lewis, 2015). 


This battle has  been paralleled with the famous story of David and Golliath, instead this battle is between fledgling alternative energy technologies and the Oilgarchic giants.  Where there is a will, there is a way. There are more of us than there are of the global elite despite the power they claim to yield and as increasing demand for Solar innovations spreads and as technology is rapidly accelerating along with other nanotechnological innovations for Free Energy, the build up may be to the explosive variety of alternatives flooding the market which will have the effect of collapsing the current system because it already cannot control the diversity of  new technologies. During global collapse of ecosystems and the unfolding environmental crisis, we must embrace a change from the current energy monopoly which is causing ecocide for a transition to an ecologically sustainable and transparent economy, we are witnessing this transition albeit a warlike one, the diversity of  innovations, in response to the environmental crisis is overwhelming, alternative energy will prevail with persistence, demand and growing awareness.

by 

Carlita Shaw

Author and Ecologist

 

References

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Dickinson, T. (Feb, 11, 2016). The Koch Brothers’ Dirty War on Solar Power. Rolling Stones Magazine. Issue 1255: February 25, 2016.

Hall-Tipping.J. (2011). Ted Talks. July. Last accessed. Feb 2016. <https://www.ted.com/talks/justin_hall_tipping_freeing_energy_from_the_grid?language=en >


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Ingber, S, ( April, 2015) This Solar-Powered Plane is Currently Circumnavigating the World. Smithsonian Magazine. Last accessed 26th May, 2016. <http://www.smithsonianmag.com/innovation/solar-powered-plane-circumnavigate-world-180954587/?no-ist >


Lewis. J. (November 2014). The Rise of Renewable Energy Protectionism: Emerging Trade Conflicts and Implications for Low Carbon Development. Global Environmental Politics 14:4.  Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Lindon, H, (2016). China Now World’s Largest Solar PV Market, With 43.2 GW Of Installed Capacity. Industry News. 18th Feb. Last accessed 26th May <http://sustainnovate.ae/en/industry-news/detail/nea-china-now-worlds-largest-solar-pv-market-with-43.2-gw-of-installed-capa>


Mann, H. (2015). Shell Oil Profit- Comparing British BP with Shell Oil profits. Interactive Investor.  25ThJuly. Last accessed November 2015 <www.iii.co.uk/articles/182699/shell-vs-bp-who-wins>


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Orwig, J. (2016), The 2 most dangerous numbers in the Universe could signal the end of physics. Business Insider. Accessed March 20th <http://www.businessinsider.com.au/the-end-of-physics-as-we-know-it-2016-1>


Rapier, R. (Jul, 10th 2014), World Sets New Oil Production and Consumption Records, accessed 12  December 2014,<http://www.energytrendsinsider.com/2014/07/10/world-sets-new-oil-production-and-consumption-records/>.Energy Trends Insider 2016,


Sierra Club (March, 2014) Polluting our Democracy and our Environment. Published by Sierra Club & Oil Change. Last accessed March 2016

The Associated Press. (24th April, 2016), Solar-powered plane completes journey across Pacific Ocean. Phys Org. < http://phys.org/news/2016-04-solar-powered-plane-journey-pacific-ocean.html>


Who’s Lobbying  2012. They spent $3.5 billion lobbying in the USA – what’s their activity in the UK? Accessed 26th May 2016.<http://blog.whoslobbying.com/post/18488136446/4billion-lobbying-spend>


From my blog The Silent Ecocide


https://thesilentecocide.wordpress.com/2016/05/30/the-battle-for-solar-power-the-alternative-energy-renaissance/