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Priorities - Rationale and Proposal

The components of the Solar Grand Plan (SGP) are:
  1. Local/state/federal solar and wind energy programs
  2. Development of a national solar and wind production and distribution system
  3. Electrification of the U.S. transportation fleet
SGP’s key components are massive solar installations in the desert Southwest and massive wind farms in the Midwest, which with an interstate transmission system will provide a majority of the nation’s electricity at lowest cost.

The question is how to get from NOW to THEN without pricing ourselves out of current/transition fossil fuels market and wrecking the economy/environment; and what ASAP can do to support this transition.

Market forces will contribute in making the needed transitions: Implementation of SGP should maximize usage of the results of these market forces. This will require using “everything” “everywhere” that the market provides: Given the favorable movement of market forces, it would make sense for ASAP to concentrate on areas where markets could get “stuck” and be unable to rationally respond:
Market Problem ASAP Potential Actions
Entrenched interests successfully lobby for extended government support of existing energy sources. This injures both renewables and the environment. ASAP should monitor these efforts, publicize egregious actions, and promote alternate options. But this is a negative approach, and ASAP impact will be limited due the size of the existing infrastructure and players. Most results will be obtained by long term market forces.
Major shock(s) to the system, probably related to the availability of fossil fuels. Not much, other than continuing to urge progress toward the SGP.
Transmission line bottlenecks (e.g. lots of cheap solar power in the southwest with demand in the northeast). The market has difficulty here because this is a bureaucratic problem: power distribution is highly regulated, players are entrenched, and there are large legitimate bureaucratic challenges such as establishing rights of way. ASAP could have a significant impact here by taking a positive approach and lobbying for this to be a focus item at government legislative and executive levels. Educational/advocacy involvement in specific high-profile proposed implementation instances might also be helpful.
Intermittency of renewable energy. ASAP could vitally participate in this with both research and education. A serious analysis of firming options is needed, taking into account the recent CAES setbacks and positive market forces. Advocacy of solutions should then be undertaken.


Top priority: Important secondary priorities: