Sunday, February 14, 2010

Energy Efficiency: Home Market & Smart Grid

The energy efficiency industry is undergoing unprecedented growth. This boom is driven by the increased participation of state and federal authorities, and movement toward a smarter grid. According to two new reports by Colorado-based Pike Research, the smart grid and deep retrofits for the home market are the next big energy efficiency initiatives.

Tax credits, low-cost financing, and other incentives are encouraging homeowner demand for more efficient heating systems, windows and insulation. The Pike report forecasts that the energy auditing market will triple from $8.1 billion in 2009 to $23.4 billion by 2014. Those auditors will recommend home improvements emphasizing efficiency upgrades. Pike Research predicts a $50.2 billion market in the installation of new electrical systems, appliances and major equipment, HVAC systems, roofing, windows and doors and other efficiency improvements by 2014, up from $39.3 billion.

The Energy Star appliances industry could receive an additional $11.3 billion in addition to the $21.9 billion by 2014 that is already forecasted.

The US smart grid project is another mammoth undertaking and it is increasingly focused on cyber security including measures to protect the electrical grid from attack. Research forecasts that from 2010 to 2015 about $21 billion will be invested globally in cyber security for the smart grid.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Tea Party's Climate Change Denial

Tea Party supporters deny the existence of climate change and oppose any attempt to regulate emissions. Despite their distrust of science and resistance to civil debate, the Tea Party's crusade is gaining momentum. Republican organizers are hoping to channel Tea Party anger into electing a conservative Congress in 2010 and a conservative president in 2012. The Tea Party movement began about a year ago as a protest against government bailouts and health care legislation. Starting last Thursday and culminating this weekend, the first national Tea Party convention was fittingly held at Nashville's Gaylord Opryland Hotel and Convention Center. Tea Party conservatives resent the Democrats stimulus spending even though it staved off economic collapse and helped to pull the world out of recession. Tea Party attendees tend to frame issues in terms of the choice between free markets and Marxist-Socialism. Many argue that conservative policies are counter indicated by current realities. The climate crisis, recession, and geopolitical situation require bold leadership not laissez faire capitalism. Unlike last year's Tea Parties this years inaugural National Tea Party Convention had no posters comparing Obama to Hitler or Stalin. However, the punch lines were toned down variations of the same old propaganda. On Friday, Joseph Farah, editor of the conservative Website WorldNetDaily, opened his speech at the Tea Party convention with jokes about the President's citizenship and was met with a thunderous ovation of approval. Tea Party supporters proudly proclaimed their support for Tom Tancredo who blamed illiterate voters for putting a "committed Socialist ideologue" in the White House. Former congressman Tom Tancredo stirred up controversy with his opening night speech Thursday. He called for making literacy tests a prerequisite for voting, like the banned Jim Crow laws that prevented many blacks from voting prior to the introduction of civil rights legislation. Tea party convention organizer Judson Phillips called Tancredo’s speech “fantastic.” A Tea Party supporter recounted organizing a bowling party which he called "Knock Down the Pinheads of Communism." A strike equaled Mao, a spare, Pol Pot. The Tea Party Convention speakers included Judge Roy Moore, the judge who fought to keep a monument of the Ten Commandments outside his courthouse and is now running for Alabama governor. President Obama "has ignored our history and our heritage by denying we are a Christian nation," Moore said. As reported in Politics Daily, Tea Party supporter and global warming skeptic Steve Milloy called modern environmentalism, "tatalitarianism." Milloy and other Tea Party failthfuls are not only critical of Democrats, they criticize Republicans who work with Democrats. South Carolina GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham was criticized for cooperating with Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) on climate change legislation; California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's environmental efforts had Milloy calling for "reverse immigration." Milloy, who runs the website, questioned the sanity and morality of cap and trade supporters, whom he called "bad people." Tea party supporters are trying to use social media to help promote their agenda, but unlike Obama's supporters, most supporters of the Tea Party Movement are too old to understand how to make the most of this technology. Apparently the youth are not much interested in Tea Parties. The core of Tea Party supporters are still angry old conservatives whose passion precludes the facts. They say they are angry because of the growth of the federal government and President Obama's policies. Truth is, the average age of the Tea Party supporters speaks volumes. Perhaps they are angry because they cannot keep pace with a rapidly changing world.