I strongly believe renewable energy is the only sustainable energy solution. Firstly, non-renewable energy sources, such as fossil fuels, supplies on earth are by definition finite, not infinite. A recent paper by researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology predicted a global economic collapse by 2030 due to the current pace of utilization of the world’s resources. The story can be found here. The analysis was based on computer models and was similar to an analysis by another researcher several years ago.
While the report was not necessarily related on energy consumption it brings out the point that as the people’s consumption of resources continue to grow there well could a stage when we will not be able to fulfill our needs. It makes logical sense -since the world’s population continues to grow there could be a tipping point when it is nearly impossible to meet the demand for raw material, including energy.
Thus I consider that renewable energy is the essential component of any energy solution.
There are several advantages of renewable energy: 1) decreases the need for importing fossil fuels, improves our trade balance and thus has a positive effect on our GDP 2) in many instances is cleaner and less pollutant 3) is a sustainable job-producing mechanism.
The US Department figures show that renewable energy represents 40-60% of Wisconsin’s energy needs. In states like Washington, Oregon, South Dakota, Idaho renewable energy represents more than 90% of energy sources (100% in case of Idaho).
Recent figures show China has become the leader in renewable energy sources, particularly solar and wind. We need to reclaim that status beginning right here is Wisconsin. We have great potential for solar and wind derived renewable energy production. Further, hemp biomass is a great, clean source of renewable energy, which we have forgotten about.
As Governor, increase in Wisconsin’s job-stimulating, renewable energy production to greater than 75% of our state’s energy needs will be one of my important tasks. If other states such as Idaho, South Dakota, Oregon can do it, so can we.
Work-from-home culture: Besides renewable energy, in other to preserve our energy resources and to decrease in energy costs I believe one of the key elements involves decrease in energy demand. That is why I consider the need for a robust mass transport system essential (see Transportation Infrastructure).
However, another way to decrease energy demand would be by adopting a work-from-home culture, as much as possible. We recognize this is the age of the internet, and it only gets better here onwards. However, we have not embraced this knowledge to re-consider how we do business related to our work structure, if you will. To expound, given the ease of internet-based communication, sending documents via email, there are several instances in which case the worker can do the entire day’s work sitting at home. Even office phones can be forwarded and can be answered from home. In my own example, if I do not have to see somebody physically I can do the same work I would do in the office from home –answer emails, respond to calls, write papers and documents. I am sure the same applies to umpteen instances to everyone else. By doing so, we decrease gas demand, decrease traffic and pollution, increase the amount of dollars we have as disposable income to spend on other components of the economy and thus stimulate growth.
The challenge for employers would be how to ensure the employee does office work at home and as opposed personal work. A simple solution is embrace a task-based approach linked to time versus a sole time-card model. In other words, employers can easily derive the time it takes to complete a certain task and assign employees to complete the task in the given time. For example, if a secretary has to type a ten-page contract one can estimate the time to type the same (say one hour). If contract preparation is the only work needed for the day, the employer can assign eight contracts to be completed, and sent back via email by the end of the day (this is a representative example).
I recognize not all job circumstances will permit such a model. However, even if on an average one day per two weeks the employee can work from home, in 10% of circumstances it would result in significant energy savings. Even government would be wise to adopt such a model. I am sure a lot of government employees can do their tasks from home.
In short, we have not utilized the tremendous potential of the internet to decrease travelling to and fro from home to office. I intend to aggressively promote such a model as part of my energy policy.
To conclude my energy policy will consistent of enhancing job-creating, renewable energy generation in Wisconsin and promotion of an energy saving work from home model.