Why Energy Experts Like Douglas Healy Urge a Slow and Steady Approach to Sustainable Energy
Sustainable energy will become a prominent feature of political and economic life in the 21st century. Millions of people will be affected by the changes in economics and climate wrought by changing energy sources. Many people who agree with the overall concept of sustainable energy do not know where to start. They are not sure how their system of energy will win out over the massive oil and gas companies that dominate politics today. Douglas Healy believes that the answer is a slow and steady approach. He argues this will be most effective in transitioning the global economy to a sustainable energy system.
Disruption to business
The clearest reason to embrace a slow and steady renewable energy approach is the current business landscape. Billions of dollars each year are generated through fossil fuel production. These companies have become a powerful force in the overall economy and are responsible for hundreds of thousands of jobs. A change brought about overnight would cripple those who depend upon oil and gas production for their livelihood.
A slow and steady approach is inherently different. Such an approach could create a transition period where companies could start to move their infrastructure to other energy sources.
Massive stakes involved
Significant success with an incremental approach is essential for a wide variety of reasons. One of these is the set of massive stakes that are involved. Sustainable energy has the potential for transforming the entire American economy. It might change the way that people live, work, and travel. These changes are frightening and worrisome to a large number of Americans. Moving slowly has the ability to significantly reduce these fears in a number of different ways. For instance, moving slowly reduces the number of immediately perceptible issues that many Americans have to face.
A fast approach to solving the problem of climate change and sustainable energy would involve grounding planes and restricting the amount of meat that many Americans consume on a yearly basis. These changes would cause massive upheaval and would result in many people rejecting the idea of sustainable energy altogether. However, a gradual change like a simple increase of the gasoline tax to pay for new electric vehicles and wind turbines would do an enormous amount of good while only making incremental changes to the day to day life of Americans.
Going quickly also has the risk of propping up failed ventures that symbolize an overall failure of the sector. A prominent example of this potential failure was Solyndra during the Barack Obama administration. When sustainability is rushed, it becomes vulnerable to vultures like Solyndra who rush to take advantage of the boom. The field of green energy could become synonymous with the failure of massive companies and the loss of billions of dollars. According to Douglas Healy, such a reputation would take years and perhaps even decades to fix.
Building a reputation
A slow and steady approach to sustainable energy can result in the time to change the reputation that green energy currently has. Green energy has had a reputation for being a social cause for decades. As a social cause, it is not always seen as a field where an investor can make a significant amount of money, nor is it given the proper respect it may deserve.
A slow approach can help the field show its profitability. It must create millionaire stories and a number of massive IPOs. Such changes can result in less pushback from conservative politicians and the oil companies that are still seen as an attractive source of investment for millions of Americans. When sustainable energy companies are finally seen as profitable, they will begin to attract their own massive investments at a rapid clip.
What to do
The entire American economy needs to start on the slow and steady march towards sustainable energy. They need to create more incentives for old-fashioned companies to embrace green energy. The government also needs to set clear timetables for companies to start pursuing a green energy future. They should create incentive and investment systems that make it much easier for these companies to make money from both the marketplace and the government for their green investments. The government also has to create more incentives for companies to invest in technology. They should take action on their own to build windmills and green energy generation plants. The government needs to make money on these projects in order to show companies that they can become profitable by doing the same.
Many of the supporters of sustainable energy want a rapid approach. They want trillions of dollars to be spent over the next decade to radically alter the world’s energy landscape. These men and women are courting disaster with this approach. Instead, a slow and steady approach would be much more successful in helping supporters of green energy achieve their goals and limit blowback by as much as they possibly can.