Zero Hour: Time to Build the Clean Power Platform

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Modern life rests on two electromagnetic wave platforms: knowledge and power. The power platform is where the knowledge platform was in 1993. Emanating from the United States, digital mobile and Internet networks wrapped around the world, changing societies and economies in just a few years. The hundreds of millions of dollars invested in the American move to the new knowledge platform meant for the Clinton Administration that everything supposed to go up (labor force participation, income, productivity), went up. Everything supposed to go down (unemployment, cost of capital), went down.

Now the power platform begs to be rebuilt quickly, producing cheap, clean, abundant energy instead of expensive, polluting, and inefficiently consumed power. As was the case for the knowledge platform in the 1990s, if America moves to the new power platform, all can revel in full employment and take satisfaction in reduced inequality in wealth and income.

The mass purchasing power of consumers will cast the deciding vote for the new power platform, if and when consumers can buy energy solutions that are both cleaner and cheaper than what is otherwise available. Each American should be able to order and get (1) a cheaper bill for household or business consumption of cleaner energy, (2) no up-front payments for any of the steps necessary to get cheaper, cleaner energy solutions, and (3) convenient access to charging stations for electric cars. These three rights – buy cheaper and cleaner energy solutions, finance up-front costs, and rely on others to provide charging station networks – will make consumers leaders of the move to the new power platform.

To give Americans these rights, state governments should charter green banks. These non-profit banks can borrow the money to build the new platform, give the money to the utilities and investor-owned businesses that would do the work, and then get paid back over the years as customers pay for the cleaner, cheaper electricity. As everyone who has bought a house knows, the lower the interest rate on a loan, the less the consumer has to pay on the loan and the more house the consumer can buy. Similarly, the lower the cost of capital for clean energy, the lower the price of the clean energy that the consumer has to pay, and the more clean energy projects people will pay for.

After November 2010, when the Republican take-over of Congress killed the already dim prospects for a federal green bank, the governors of Connecticut and later New York decided to create their own state green banks. If Connecticut, New York and others move forward in persuading utilities to lower the energy bills paid by consumers even while selling them clean electricity, other states will follow.

In summary:

1. Knowledge is Power. The shift to the new knowledge platform, manifested in digital mobile and the Internet, foreshadows the move to the new power platform.

2. Power of Price. People should pay less for cleaner energy solutions than they would otherwise pay for electricity.

3. Lemonade Tastes Better than Lemons. Political leaders should adopt tax breaks and low cost financing through green banks to produce cheaper, cleaner solutions to the common problems of heating, lighting, air-conditioning, industrial processes and transportation. Customers should be better off moving to the new platform.

4. Borrow Long, Spend Now, Get Paid Back Over Time. Governments should capitalize green banks by borrowing at low rates, with long terms; green banks should provide long term, low interest financing support to clean energy and efficiency suppliers; customers should pay over long time periods either on electricity bill or on mortgage. No consumer should have to pay up front for solar on roof or insulation under roof or any other clean energy solution. Everyone should get a deal they just cannot turn down.

5. Money Talks, Nobody Walks Away from a Deal. Consumers are voters. If everyone can order cleaner energy, either through clean generation like solar panels on a roof or energy efficiency measures that reduce consumption and displace carbon-emitting generation purchased by utilities, then consumers/voters will drive the move to the new power platform.


Al Gore
Former Vice President and Winner of the Nobel Peace Prize
“We are on the verge of a clean energy revolution -- one that will move us away from our reliance on dirty fossil fuels and towards a more sustainable future. As FCC chairman during the 1990s, Reed Hundt played a critical role in a similar transformational period for information technology. Drawing from this experience, Reed has outlined and detailed in his new book, Zero Hour: Time to Build the Clean Power Platform, an eloquent guide for the future of our energy infrastructure. A must read.”

Daniel Esty
Commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection
“Reed Hundt is one of America’s biggest thinkers on energy and technology. Zero Hour represents Hundt’s best work yet on the challenges that the United States faces as it moves into a new era that requires great innovations in both technology and policy. He proposes bold solutions and backs them up with convincing evidence and thoughtful analysis. A must-read for any policymaker or politician in these fields.”

David Hayes
Former Deputy Secretary of the Interior and Senior Fellow at the Hewlett Foundation
“By reminding us of the transformative impact that telecom advances have had on our economy, Reed Hundt makes a strong case for using low-risk financing and tax incentive tools to accelerate our deployment of clean energy.”

Professor Alex (Sandy) Pentland
MIT Human Dynamics Laboratory
“Reed's idea to create Green Banks that support a consumer-led drive for local power generation and energy savings -- which will actually reduce consumer energy cost -- can clean up power generation globally. It is a win-win-win solution for consumers, governments, and the earth...a huge improvement over the current impasse in energy policy.”

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About the author

Reed E. Hundt is the CEO of the Coalition for Green Capital, a non-profit headquartered in Washington, D.C., and he is a principal at REH Advisers. He was chairman of the Federal Communications Commission from 1993 to 1997. He sits on various corporate and non-profit boards. His previous publications include The Politics of Abundance: How Technology Can Fix the Budget, Revive the American Dream, and Establish Obama’s Legacy, an e-book co-authored with Blair Levin (Odyssey Editions, 2012), In China’s Shadow: The Crisis of American Entrepreneurship (Yale University Press, 2006) and You Say You Want A Revolution: A Story of Information Age Politics (Yale University Press, 2000).

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Odyssey Editions
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Published on
Nov 15, 2013
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Political Science / General
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Of late, there has been a very serious interest in alerting the entire world on the volatility of oil dependence and the dangers of climate change. This book is an indispensable contribution to the growing debates on the overarching concepts of the danger of perpetual oil dependence, climate change, and the urgent need for switching to a new habit in energy use the use of alternative renewable energy sources. This book is framed around the foundation laid in my first book, Delta in Distress. And it goes further to situate the problems associated with the worlds perpetual unquenchable quest for energy within the global context.

In my first book, there was an elaborate treatment of the concepts of deprivation, destitution, desperation, and distress associated with the exploration and extraction of oil in the contemporary human society as typified by the case of the Niger Delta region in the core Southern Nigeria. The description and analysis was clearly articulated with an enduring affinity for possible solutions to these endemic problems of humanity.

Emphatically, in my first book, the case of the Niger Delta region of Nigeria, which has since become a mosaic of restive communities, attracted a critical treatment. This was done with very thoughtful and insightful examination. There was proper ex-ray of the plights of the common community people in that first book, Delta in Distress. These common citizens of the oil communities within the reviewed region are perpetually made to suffer the pangs of untold denials and despair while enormous oil and gas resources of inestimable economic worth are continually extracted from underneath their land.

Of course, these problems are not limited to only one region. They are global in scope and effects. Thus, the perpetual dependence on oil has drastically placed the security and economic future of the global community on tenterhooks. Of late, there appears to have been increasing interest in the concepts of oil-related crises and conflicts. These man-made mishaps have claimed many human lives. Their causes are directly linked to the mismanagement of the economic proceeds of the oil and gas resources.

The problems associated with perpetual global dependence on oil surpass the issues of deprivations, disaffections, conflicts and crises which, in a collaborative sense, perpetually pose threat to global security. More than that is the negative environmental impacts of oil operations in most oil regions. This trend has gone down to put the lives of plants, animals and human beings on our increasingly ailing planet Earth in serious jeopardy.

Obviously, energy is at the very center of our daily lives. Everybody uses energy from the time of rising from bed until the time of going back to sleep. In every nation of the world, there is a persistent drive to continually advance in technology. This growing technological break-through is what makes modern live easier and more convenient. So, the more technology the human folks use every blessed day, the greater our need for energy.

Looking at the compelling nature of this energy problem, and its interrelationship with almost every facet of the lives of virtually everybody in the society, every attempt to face the fearful odds associated with this problem implies a different and well defined approach to the issue. In the first place, America, like any of the other developed nations of the world, can no longer afford to risk treading the path of isolationism, neither can any of the other nations of the world afford to bask in the luxury of self-contentment or toughness under the present dispensation.

To say the least, President Obama and his team are truly driven by the realization that the United States must telegraph a new message of respect, collaboration and mutuality in the quest to lead the way out of the present pace of uncertainty that defines the global energy future. This new drive and President Obamas passion for our planets overall serenity, prosperity and progress are the themes, which this must-read volume drastically and critically examines. This book is truly a must-read.

In an effort to provide greater awareness of the necessary policy decisions facing our elected and appointed officials, Energy Policy in the U.S.: Politics, Challenges, and Prospects for Change presents an overview of important energy policies and the policy process in the United States, including their history, goals, methods of action, and consequences.

In the first half of the book, the authors frame the energy policy issue by reviewing U.S. energy policy history, identifying the policy-making players, and illuminating the costs, benefits, and economic and political realities of currently competing policy alternatives. The book examines the stakeholders and their attempts to influence energy policy and addresses the role of supply and demand on the national commitment to energy conservation and the development of alternative energy sources.

The latter half of the book delves into specific energy policy strategies, including economic and regulatory options, and factors that influence energy policies, such as the importance of international cooperation. Renewed interest in various renewable and nontraditional energy resources—for example, hydrogen, nuclear fusion, biomass, and tide motion—is examined, and policy agendas are explored in view of scientific, economic, regulatory, production, and environmental constraints. This book provides excellent insight into the complex task of creating a comprehensive energy policy and its importance in the continued availability of energy to power our way of life and economy while protecting our environment and national security.

The exploding pace of technological change today offers America opportunities to reduce our debt, grow our economy, and cement America as the most innovative and advanced nation on Earth. These solutions could be faster, better, cheaper and lasting—if the post-election government can agree on a growth strategy as well as a sensible budget policy.

In The Politics of Abundance: How Technology Can Fix the Budget, Revive the American Dream, and Establish Obama’s Legacy, Reed Hundt and Blair Levin, Chairman and Chief of Staff at the Federal Communications Commission from 1993 to 1997, offer strategies that use private investment to rebuild America’s vital knowledge and power infrastructure in this country. Hundt and Levin explain that similar strategies during the Clinton Administration resulted in budget surpluses, and 4% GDP growth and can be applied now to broadband and energy. The Politics of Abundance contains strategies for transforming:

• Broadband – The US should lead the world in delivering education, healthcare, public safety, and all government services from cloud to broadband connected devices, as well as in exporting personalized education and healthcare.
• Energy – The government should rebuild electrical generation, distribution, consumption, and automotive engines. In four years, the US should double market share of wind and solar generated electricity, increase by half natural gas generated electricity, and lower consumption by ten percent.
• US Policy through Congressional Deals:
    • Tax Agreement: tax carbon-intensive emissions from power plants in return for reducing the income tax rates that will become effective in January.
    • Incentive Reform: couple utility reform with corporate tax reform, requiring states to remove barriers to private sector investment in clean energy and energy efficiency while simultaneously increasing other corporate investment incentives.
    • New Wave Infrastructure Financing: charter a national “electromagnetic wave bank” that provides long-term financing at low rates for investments in renewable power, energy efficiency, and next-generation data networks, capitalized by allowing technology companies to repatriate some of the nearly $2 trillion they keep overseas to avoid American taxes.
    • Next-Gen Government Now: create a CEO-led Digital Transition Commission, with the power to accelerate more of all government services to digital platforms, resulting in long-term savings and establishing American leadership in such emerging areas as personalized education and health.

More information about the book and the authors can be found at
From the editor-at-large of comes a galvanizing and alarming look at the strategy and tactics of leftist thuggery.

While President Obama and the left like to pretend that they oppose bullying with all their hearts and souls, the truth is far darker: the left is the greatest purveyor of bullying in modern American history. Bullying has morphed into the left’s go-to tactic, as they attempt to quash their opponents through fear, threat of force, violence, and rhetorical intimidation on every major issue facing America today.

Ben Shapiro uncovers the simple strategy used by liberals and their friends in the media: bully the living hell out of conservatives. Play the race card, the class card, the sexism card. Use any and every means at your disposal to demonize your opposition—to shut them up. Then pretend that such bullying is justified, because, after all, conservatives are the true bullies, and need to be taught a lesson for their intolerance. Hidden beneath the left’s supposed hatred of bullying lies a passionate love of its vulgar tactics.

The left has created a climate of fear wherein ordinary Americans must abandon their principles, back abhorrent causes, and remain silent. They believe America is a force for evil, that our military is composed of war criminals, and that patriotism is the deepest form of treason. They incite riots and threaten violence by playing the race card, then claim they’re advocates for tolerance. Disagree with Obama? You must be a racist. They send out union thugs and Occupy Wall Street anarchists to destroy businesses and redistribute the wealth of earners and job creators. No target is off limits as liberal feminists declare war against stay-at-home moms, and gay activists out their enemies, destroy careers, and desecrate personal privacy.

These are the most despicable people in America, bullying their opponents while claiming to be the victims. Shapiro takes on the leftist bullies, exposes their hypocrisy, and offers conservatives a reality check in the face of what has become the gravest threat to American liberty: the left’s single-minded focus on ending political debate through bully tactics.
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