Moving to renewable energy for personal use is important. It makes the home healthier. It lowers energy costs. It also requires a large up-front investment.
When the US wanted to ensure that everyone could own a home, we started Fannie Mae. When we wanted to make college more affordable, we created Pell grants.
In order to ensure that everyone can afford the investment to upgrade their houses with solar panels, weatherproofing, heat pumps, and other technologies, we need to implement similar programs. With the right financing, people can afford the upfront costs, lower their energy costs, and end up coming out ahead. By setting interest rates low enough, we can get most households to upgrade their electricity to renewables while keeping more of their money.
The scale of the work that we’re going to need to embark on is staggering and exciting. The last time we dedicated the American people to a massive manufacturing project - World War II - we grew our economy, kicked off decades of growth, and created a set of middle class jobs that provided upward mobility and a good life for half a century.
As Saul Griffith, the founder of Otherlab, puts it:
“We need to manufacture electric heat pumps for 120 million American homes and 6 million commercial buildings. We need to manufacture 200+ million electric vehicles. We need 90 million solar rooftops, tens of millions of wind turbines, and billions of batteries, not to mention new biofuel industries, new farming methods and technologies, and new approaches to forestry.”
And while many of these manufacturing jobs will be automated, the installation and maintenance of these systems will create good, middle-class, local jobs that will keep individuals employed for decades to come. We’ll need to establish vocational and apprenticeship programs that will train American workers to install, maintain, and repair these systems, and then ensure that all Americans who so choose can receive this training, including through programs in high school.
It total, my plan calls for $4.87 trillion spending over 20 years. More than half of that spending. $3 trillion, will be given out in the form of loans that will be repaid at an interest rate of 3%. The other $1.87 trillion will go towards investments in new green technologies that will create a demand for millions of new American jobs in manufacturing, installation, and maintenance.
Problems to be Solved
- checkClimate change skeptics claim that we can’t afford to convert our economy to 100% renewable energy.
- checkIn reality, NOT investing in combating climate change will cost us hundreds of trillions of dollars later.
- The Green New Deal accomplished exactly what it set out to achieve, to spark a national conversation. The backlash was immediate, and the argument against it was that it will cost us jobs, money, and growth. But I’m a numbers guy, and I looked at the math. This couldn’t be further from the truth.
- checkEmpower individuals to lower their energy costs and equip their homes with the renewable energy technologies of their choosing
- checkGrow our economy through renewable energy jobs and investment in a sustainable economy
- checkSpend a few trillion dollars now to avoid hundred of trillions of dollars in damages later
As President I will...
- Create the Renewable Energy Building Association - REBA - to loan up to $3 trillion over 20 years to individuals to purchase heat pumps, solar panels, batteries, and other technologies for their residences. If households choose to take advantage of this, they will pay off these loans at a 3% (or lower) interest rate and will end up paying less annually than their previous energy bills.
- Ensure $4 billion in annual funding for vocational and apprenticeship programs to meet the demand for installation and maintenance/repair technicians for the new, sustainable economy.
- Expand the high school curriculum to include programs to train individuals who want to enter one of these careers.
- Invest $4.87 trillion over 20 years in combating climate change.