This discussion primarily talks about the budget of the City of Lancaster Ohio, and uses the real audited budget from the Auditor's office to make all the calculations and assertions that this article will discuss. The link for that spreadsheet (copied over verbatim from the PDF) is here.
Let us look at precisely why energy, fuel, and Health Insurance are being tallied into a frivolous spending cost assessment. First we will look at the energy and fuel cost. We live in a time where technologies exist, are currently in place, and have the potential to be incorporated in every facet of life that would make the necessity of paying for fossil fuels, and electric companies to deliver power obsolete. This isn’t rhetoric, or a talking point, this is a verifiable fact! Here are just a few examples:
http://www.solarroadways.com/faq.shtml#faqCost Solar Roadways Cost Analysis
http://solarroadways.com/numbers.shtml Solar Roadways Power Computations
http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2014/jun/13/tesla-open-source-technology Tesla Motors open sourcing it’s technology!
http://my.teslamotors.com/roadster/technology The actual tech!
As you can see from these 5 examples alone there are more than one way currently available to be incorporated into the power grids, and used as fuel sources for our machines and vehicles. Furthermore even at this stage of high costs, the funding is still more than available with a concerted effort of funding these programs and eliminating future costs for energy and power until they have been “paid back”. What isn’t readily understood is how will that actually impact an economy. If I spend $20,000 on solar power this year how many years will it take to get my “money back”? The question isn’t just that but what is that $20,000 you’re now not spending on energy going towards now?
That is the economic conundrum because on the one hand you have a high initial cost, but you will still be spending that money you would normally be spending but on something else. So what is the impact of this new money? The answer is much like a hefty initial investment in savings, or stocks. The initial cost will be high but the dividend down the road will increase with the success of the investment. The good news unlike investing in a business that could go belly up due to a whim of the market, or putting your money in a 401k and suffering exorbitant fees for taking that money back, solar energy, and renewable energy powered machines and vehicles don’t lose the value of not having to incur additional costs.
The fundamental point of having renewables as the primary power source is the fact that the “energy crisis” will become 100% solvent. If you can get energy from the sun without having to pay extra then you have a limitless supply of energy that you can put to use. In short free energy for everyone, and unlimited energy at that! Now apply that to fuel costs in vehicles and all of a sudden the savings truly start matriculating! The average vehicle owner spends roughly $600 a year on gas alone! Now that’s during a time when gas isn’t $4+ a gallon and assuming 22 MPG avg. Those costs go up with the rollercoaster of the oil market! Now imagine never having budget the cost fo fuel for a personal vehicle or for a government agency, the cost of fuel for their fleet!
This is why we can calculate energy and fuel costs as being frivolous because after the intial costs have been accounted for, ie 1 fiscal year, those costs will never have to be calculated again! This isn’t rhetoric, or a talking point, or a marketing scheme it is a undeniable fact that we could eliminate energy and fuel costs from any sort of budget discussion at any and every level of society. This doesn’t just ease the burden from the tax payer, but also from the businesses especially ones who deal with data crunching and use MWH and GWH of power a year!
According to the above calculations the annual savings would be $20,885,198 just for the city of Lancaster Ohio alone! A city of 35,000+ people with a city budget of $137.8M could save an additional $20.8M a year by moving to renewables and changing their fleet to electric cars! Granted the first year this would happen or the initial costs would most likely be high because there is plenty that needs to be done to the energy infrastructure to make it viable, without getting into the science of copper wires versus fiber optic networks, suffice to say there would need to be upgrades in most cases. And the initial costs would be in addition to the costs that would have to be expended to maintain the current system as it transitions. These are all true statements but what’s more costly: wasting $20.8M on outdated technologies each and every year as well as having those costs rise with the market fluctuations, or pushing for a complete overhaul that will be solvent almost as soon as it’s complete?
The reality is that initial costs would hurt but the long term benefits would be exponentially greater and not particularly easy to quantify accurately because all of that money would be put into other economy improving pursuits! Now picture this being applied to the entire nation, or being funded at the federal level! The cost of the War on terror currently has exceeded $6 Trillion, it would only take a fraction of that cost to set the groundwork for building a clean energy infrastructure in the country, and even if it took as much or more we would see a return on that investment within a few years! What return did we get on that war? What return did we the people see on the War on Terror? That’s the bottom line, a revitalization of our crumbling infrastructure and eliminating our dependence on fossil fuels will skyrocket our nation’s capabilities and security so much more than what any war with another country could accomplish!
Now this was just the discussion of energy and fuel cost savings, we haven’t even begun to talk about the savings from health care! The good news is that with health care the costs wouldn’t have an initial versus current cost issue like the energy program would have. Universal healthcare can be funded at any level or be implemented by the hospital outright! Which means if the hospital itself can have a solvency of free health care by maintaining its costs or receiving the current level of support it does from the federal government through Medicare/Medicaid then the costs would either be negligible or free to the patient or taxpayer whichever the case may be! In short the $13,082,688.77 that it costs the city of Lancaster to pay out each year would be eliminated from the costs the exact instant universal health care were applied!!!
So tell me again why we aren’t funding this?