Winning the War Without Firing a Shot

It is time we recognize that we are now at war with Russia. This is no longer the cyber war that may happen in the future, it is now.  And the answer to winning it is not tit for tat. That could easily escalate to nuclear war. The winning is easy and simply requires changing the rules. In fact it would all be above board and all Putin could do is sit back and impotently watch his hard work implode.

Step 1 – must happen in 2018 with democrats sweeping into control of congress and throughout the country at state and local levels. Step II is to is to destroy the Russian economy (No Marshal plan until their economy has been crushed and they should be removed from the UN security council and replaced by Germany – Germany has done their WWII penance and now is a world leading economy who has led the European Union wisely).

Step 2 – we go all renewables. This is actually easy to do and the crush Russia part could be done in about 5 years. Energy is non-linear, we would not need to get far into that program before it would collapse the price of oil and just like the Alaskan Pipeline and CAFE standards crushed the Soviet Union, another collapse in oil prices will destroy the Putin regime. Not much is required from a policy standpoint to make this happen. The technology is ready now and companies and capital are ready to step in and make it happen almost over night.  Here’s how:

Simply triple the number of ZEV vehicles that are covered under the ZEV tax credit and change the formula to leverage state’s buy-in. Have the feds lower the federal tax credit to $5000 but add a match to state incentives up to $2500 per vehicle.  This would raise the incentive from the current $7500 federal incentive to $10,000 bringing EVs to the reach of the middle class.  As gasoline prices crashed it would be important to raise the gasoline tax and use the revenues to retrain oil and gas workers for the enormous uptick in manufacturing jobs that would arise out of the shift to renewables.  The amount of the gas tax increase would require analysis beyond what I bring to the party but my guess is that starting immediately with $0.10 per gallon = over $10 billion to start training workers immediately.  As the price of gasoline would drop precipitously, the tax could be ramped up. Some of the funds could be fed back into the oil industry to shut down oil fields in a permanent and environmentally sound fashion which would provide a cushion and ease the employment displacement.

The renewable power needs to be brought from where it is cheap (great plains for wind and Southwest for solar) to where it is needed, the East and West coast.  This requires some wise lawmaking.  We need to adjust eminent domain laws to cover intra-continental transmission lines.  There may be need of a utility / regulated monopoly status.  Currently people are trying to adjust eminent domain laws for private companies that want to build the lines.  There is the potential for unfair wealth shifting, there is some real innovation needed here by law makers.

Require real time, time of use metering for electricity.  This must include not only billing but signals to all power consumers and producers so that they can control their loads and generation to respond to the price of electricity on the grid. 

With the high capacity factor, low cost wind power in the great plains, low cost, surprisingly predictable solar in the Southwest and enormous storage that will come online with the ramp up of electric vehicles, a stable, zero emission electric grid could be ours in 2 decades.  However, due to the highly inelastic pricing of oil and gasoline, we could crush the Russians in about 5 years.  While it would be hard for us, we have many industries to fall back on, they do not.  It would end Putin’s regime and possibly bring us someone like Gorbachev who was interested in a free and democratic society.  Then, and only then, might we offer the olive branch of something like a Marshal Plan.   

 

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