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Article: Waterfall of Green Jobs

Dear Seattle Times Editor and Andrew Garber:

Market Enabling the Waterfall of Green Jobs

Your Sunday, September 20th, 2009, Seattle Times article, "California's appetite for green power could boost rates here", does a good job of raising visibility on the exporting of green power. This is potentially a good window of opportunity for our state. By exporting green power to California, we could create new demand for green tags that currently have more sellers than buyers. Increasing the value of green tags could help to lower the cost of green power installations and drive down the cost of electricity bringing back such industries as aluminum production, creating and attracting new businesses. The exporting of green power may be just the added incentive to significantly drive down the cost to property owners' rooftop photovoltaic (PV) installations, starting a waterfall of new green family wage jobs.

In Germany market enabling incentives helped to produce their 100,000 PV rooftops project, helping Germany become a leading exporter of PV technology. Washington State could also become a leading exporter of green power and PV technology. Let’s leverage the opportunity to export green power to California and any other state or country. To be a leader, we must create, call them “green incentives” that will lead in enabling markets. Some of those market enablers could be: rate based funding; make working capital cheap through secured loans and revolving loan funds; organize assessment district “green liens”; push development in the directions we need most – stop leaving our livelihood to chance. These and other market enablers could be the catalyst for our state to develop our own 100,000 PV roof tops and become an even greater exporter.

Installation of 1,000 PV roof tops providing economic revitalization and family wage jobs is the vision driving the Wallingford Solar Initiative. The Wallingford Solar Initiative (WSI), is about neighbors coming together to overcome the cataclysmic economic downturn. The WSI would provide family wage jobs from 1,000 Wallingford PV rooftops. To bring the neighborhood together on this project we are starting with a market enabling project, "Coal to Solar".

Wallingford was once a neighborhood plagued with soot so thick at times you dare not got outside. The "Coal to Solar" project would transform the Gas Works Park legacy of toxic creation of gas from oil and coal, to being a 30 megawatt PV source of clean power. Coal-to-Solar will educate and demonstrate to the neighborhood, "Yes-We-Can" develop 1,000 Wallingford roof tops to generate megawatts of exportable electricity. Through the WSI efforts, hundreds of neighborhoods around the state could also be encouraged / enabled to export power and green tags while creating good clean green family wage jobs.

The reader may conclude from the Seattle Times article “California Appetite …” that we are being led into a quandary of how to protect ourselves from California. Instead I propose in the 2010 legislative session, we make alternative energy more attractive to communities and businesses with market enablers that: double the rebates passed last legislative session, establish rate based funding of rebates, make working capital cheap, and require all public building roof tops be covered with PV. Such legislation would establish a secure market for local PV manufacturers and installers, creating new jobs. This legislation would stimulate higher volumes of production, driving down further the entry cost of PV installations to the property owner, making PV installations affordable for those of lesser and lesser means. Enable the waterfall of green jobs to really flow.

Chuck Lare