Burning the Midnight Oil for Living Energy Independence
Well, Modular Pumped Hydro and Bio-Coal, I reckon (and as a reminder, Bio-Coal is charcoal produced from sustainable biomass with modern high efficiency methods inside a sealed vessel ... its not that stuff you dig out of the ground, and it sure as hell ain't your granpappy's charcoal).
And, yes, this is about winning friends and influencing people.
Bio-coal ... the technology is just about ready for prime time, but we do not have the feedstock. Define soil-conserving and soil-building perennial production techniques, make sure that coppice production is in there, and establish strong soil husbandry income to entice Appalachia into coppice wood production.
Unlike subsidies on the product side, soil husbandry payments can explicitly discriminate in favor of production on degraded sites and against any production that involves breaking ground in old-growth forests. It is, indeed, mostly a matter of enforcing the common sense and defending it against nonsense modification.
And corresponding capital subsidies for the establishment of decentralized bio-coal production in areas with depressed labor markets and substantial perennial bio-mass production ... that money will zero in on Appalachia like a laser beam.
Similarly, Appalachia has plenty of the most valuable resource for Modular Pumped Hydro ... that is, Elevation along straight line paths between potential renewable resource exporting regions and strong electricity consumption areas. This can be built into the long-haul HVDC trunk systems, with a feed-in tariff for supply of peak on-demand electricity from storage, and, again, with a capital subsidy for establishment in areas with depressed labor markets.
Now, the thing here is to attack the economic rather than cultural basis of Republican strength in Appalachia as a resource-exporting area, by providing Appalachia with new capacities to export new resources, hinging on the success of the New Energy Economy.
That's the wedge issue here ... converting existing latent renewable resources into actual renewable resources, giving Appalachia growth industries that give them a reason to shift their loyalty to whichever party is more trustworthy as a supporter of expansion of sustainable, renewable energy.
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