Q&A w/ DANNY KENNEDY, ROOFTOP REVOLUTION: How Solar Power Can Save Our Economy and the Planet from Dirty EnergyWritten on May 13th, 2013
Is there a revolution coming to your rooftop? While opponents claim solar is expensive, inefficient, and unreliable, in his book ROOFTOP REVOLUTION: How Solar Power Can Save Our Economy And Our Planet From Dirty Energy, DANNY KENNEDY makes clear solar can save money, create jobs, and protect the environment if only politics and perception will get out of the way.
During the recent Presidential campaign, we heard a lot about Solyndra, the solar start-up that received a sizable government loan only to go belly up. Solar’s detractors claim the collapse of Solyndra proves solar is just a hippie pipe dream, but Danny Kennedy, says the truth is quite the opposite. Solyndra failed because it wasn’t able to compete in a red-hot industry, not because solar isn’t ready for prime time.
The industry employs 100,000 people in the United States, twice as many as in 2009 and twice the number of coal miners. In 2011, Warren Buffett invested $2 billion in a solar farm, and General Electric bought a start-up solar manufacturer, announcing, “By 2020 this is going to be at least a $1 billion product line.” Production of solar-generated electricity rose by 45% in the first three quarters of 2010, while electricity from natural gas rose only 1.6% and coal declined by 4.2%. Kennedy argues for a rooftop revolution to break the entrenched power of the coal, oil, nuclear, and natural gas industries and their progress-denying allies.
We're hearing a lot about the trouble Europe is in. The debt crisis in Greece, and perhaps Spain, Portugal, and Italy, is threatening the Euro and the European Union. What's really going on? How did it happen? How bad is it? How will they deal with it? And what does it mean for the rest of the world and for the US in particular?
We'll deal with those issues this Sunday, but that's not all. While the bad news of this Euro crisis makes headlines in the US, a quiet and successful revolution taking place in Europe does not. Europe seems to be finding a way to make capitalism and democracy work for people, not just for corporations. I think this is a critical unreported story in terms of its potential impact. Here's just a few things you may not have heard about.
The European Union, 27 member nations with a half billion people, has become the largest, wealthiest trading bloc in the world, producing nearly a third of the world's economy - nearly as large as the U.S. and China combined. Europe has more Fortune 500 companies than either the US, China or Japan.
European nations are rated by the World Health Organization as having the best health care systems in the world. Yet they spend far less than the United States for universal coverage, even as U.S. health care is ranked 37th.
Europe leads in confronting global climate change with renewable energy technologies like solar and wind power, conservation and "green design," creating hundreds of thousands of new jobs in the process. Consequently, Europe's ecological "footprint" (the amount of the earth's capacity that a population consumes) is about half that of the United States for the same standard of living.