The use of energy (KWHs) as an incentive for desired consumer behaviors - EV Obsession

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    Tim Paris

    Hi everyone, and thanks to EVO for setting up this forum. I’ve had an idea for some time that needs feedback, and this opportunity fits the bill just fine.

    We’re all familiar with the incentive of tax credits to encourage to adoption of promising new “green” technologies, like solar and wind. The incentive is actually money, in the form of a tax credit. It’s not exactly cash-in-hand, but rather savings on your tax bill. Still, that cash comes in handy since it’s essentially money saved, instead of money spent. Most all western nations have such tax credits, or similar financial incentives to promote the adoption of new energy technologies at the consumer level. These incentives are obviously helpful, but as far as nations go, western nations don’t need these incentives nearly as badly as Eastern, South American, and African nations. Per capita income is dwarfed in these places by Western nations. The 3rd World needs as much help in adopting new energy technologies as they can get.

    The first question for these 3rd world nations is what form of incentive would be most beneficial? Money, or the ability to produce clean energy for their own use? For instance, money can be used to purchase anything, including energy, but money as an incentive requires money up-front to make that purchase, with the incentive applied after the purchase. Not very many people have the up-front capital to make the purchase of new-energy technologies for their own personal household use. Would the incentive of energy-production, like a PV solar panel for home use, not be a more direct incentive to influence consumer behaviors? What other consumer behaviors would work as the basis for incentives? What’s an enormous problem that needs to be changed for long-term planetary benefit? In SE Asia, that problem could very well be (is) plastics and other garbage in the oceans. Consumer behaviors in this arena need to be changed ASAP, and what better incentive is there to offer than energy, as opposed to money?

    The model would work in a select city, or even a neighborhood within a city, perhaps in Bangkok, or Manila. Volunteers are given an electronic tracking device that provides access for the disposal of plastic refuse. Based on the volume of deposits of plastics in the established location, the holder of the FOB is awarded credits that can be used to lease a solar PV array for use on their home. A threshold accumulation of credits is set for the receipt and installation of the PV panel, and continued use of that panel is dependent upon continued participation in the plastics-disposal program.

    The PV panel would be owned by a business that follows the same business model as Solar City. They lease their solar arrays to homeowners and businesses, and charge a monthly rental fee for the PV roof-mounted units. The same model would work in this plastics-disposal program, except that the lease fee is provided to the business by a 3rd party, and that brings up the second question. Who benefits from cleaner oceans in SE Asia?

    Perhaps the better question is, Who does NOT benefit from cleaner oceans in SE Asia? Everyone would benefit from cleaner oceans, so perhaps the funds for the solar PV panels are diverted from existing plastics mitigation programs. Instead of removing the plastics from the oceans, divert that funding to prevent the plastics from entering the oceans in the first place. The tourism industry would certainly have a direct benefit to cleaner oceans, so perhaps a bed-tax on hotel rooms to fund the Solar PV lease program. Bring in the COP 21 and the Paris Climate Accords, and everyone in the world becomes a potential funding source that #1, results in fewer plastics in our oceans, and #2, provides new clean energy sources for a demographic that otherwise could not afford them, in a part of the world that desperately needs them.


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