Creating a New European “Eco-Marshall Plan”
Chris d Craiker AIA
Recently JP Morgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon floated the idea of a “Marshall Plan” to develop more domestic American gas and other petroleum energy resources and for Europe to increase drilling wells for its own production of gas to secure its independent energy security.
This is a bad idea. A really bad idea.
The first fallacy is, it would take years for Europe to investigate, drill, capture and distribute a maligned product we are all trying to escape from. And embracing oil as its savior is also his second fallacy.
This is the opportunity the World needs, not just Europe, to create an independent renewable energy network throughout Europe and eventually the World. While we all want to wean Europe off Russian oil, more drilling is not the solution.
It’s time for us to take stock in the America’s past successes and talents. Upon winning World War II, we found Europe in tatters, not much different from Ukraine today. In 1948 President Truman created the Marshall Plan, named for Secretary of State George Marshall, who proposed that the United States provide economic assistance to restore the economic infrastructure of postwar Europe as an economic and powerful counterbalance to the Russian block. We poured $13 billion into Western Europe to rebuild, the equivalent of $1.1 trillion today.
For the United States, the Marshall Plan provided gigantic markets for American goods, created reliable trading partners, and supported the development of stable democratic governments in Western Europe.
A new 21stCentury “Eco-Marshall Plan” would concentrate on rapidly reducing Europe’s devastating addiction to petroleum products by creating the greatest renewable energy grid in the World.
This could be a 3-Step process:
Step 1) We know wind and solar are the cheapest and quickest-to-build forms of energy we can produce, far less than drilling for oil. For a European quick mobilization, we would immediately create wind-farms on land or at sea and fields of locally manufactured solar panel arrays to immediately serve the nations. Swift installation and investments into these cheap renewables could make rapid reductions in Europe’s billion dollar a day addiction to Russian oil. A full transition from fossil fuels to renewable clean energy will not happen overnight, but the need is growing more urgent.
Step 2) We must increase our nations investment -and propriety ownership- in new battery energy storage systems including ocean wave energy collection, compressed fluid and gases, green hydrogen fuel storage, and pumped Hydro. Huh? I digress for a moment, but storing water at higher elevations in man-made lakes has been both an historically cheap energy supply, such as Lake Powell, but also a disaster to our environment. New hydroelectric plants with environmentally correct man-made lakes can create cheap energy and be available now. More on this another time.
Step 3) Europe needs to provide significantly higher building energy efficiency standards. This is where I get excited as an Architect. It’s a dirty little secret that Europe is terrible at reducing it’s building energy consumption. Higher levels of building insulation and energy efficient heating and cooling is essential across the drafty ol’ Continent in order to reduce their reliance on natural gas.
We could do for Europe what we can’t currently do for ourselves. Today, America is ambivalent about converting itself to a sustainable and renewable future, but Europe has already started. It has its roots in renewable energy and the know-how to make the transition.
Perhaps another WW II program, Lend/ Lease, could be a way to provide the infrastructure and make a long-term investment for America, not a gift.
It will probably take up to $1 trillion, but the investment is well worth it. What we can do for Europe, could be contagious to us. Making Europe self-reliant on renewables could perhaps boast us to do the same. Maybe, in our own timeline.
This is War: War against injustice, authoritarianism and what’s destroying our Earth. Russia? No, The Petroleum Industry that rules us.
Chris d Craiker AIA/NCARB expects renewables to replace oil in his lifetime… or his grandchildren