Mike's Blog


Why we’re getting it wrong on the Renewable Energy Superhighway

That’s right…we’re going about it the wrong way. It seems despite the current political winds…one thing remains the same….our government continues to ignore the lessons from the past. In March of this year- Senator Harry S. Reid(D-Nev) introduced a bill that will send billions of taxpayer money to his home state. The Clean Renewable Energy and Economic Development Act provides a regulatory framework for the development of a national electric superhighway, a network of high-voltage power lines that would transmit electricity from remotely located wind and solar farms to energy-hungry urban areas. While this sounds great in theory even to the most conservative of red-staters…there are numerous problems…

First the bill allows the Federal Government expanded authority to trump state’s rights and approve permits for new transmission lines despite the objection of the state. Even in the most basic sense… this has gigantic constitution hurdles to clear if the states decide to pursue it. This is just another case of the Federal government getting bigger and more powerful to the detriment of state and individual rights.

But even more of a problem is the cost and time involved in building this energy superhighway…Already $11 billion has been set aside to fund this endeavor and it’s not expected to produce fruitful results for another 16 years. Seriously??? This is the answer to perpetuating Green energy? Giving our nation’s utility companies $11 Billion in taxpayer money for something that will not reap any benefits for 16 years is the answer? Do we really think $11 Billion is all that’s going to be required or will we be going back to the well in a few years asking for more money because we “under-budgeted”??? Frankly as someone who believes renewable energy can help to set our country free of the shackles of foreign oil…I’m incredibly disappointed with this government’s plan.

The answer…The Microgrid. Basically the exact opposite of the plan Reid(and his buddy Al Gore) are pushing, the microgrid takes the power away from the utility companies and the government and put’s it in the hands of individuals. Picture this…a homeowner can pick up a solar panel system, a small hydroturbine or a small wind turbine at their local Home Depot that’s as easy to install as a normal household appliance. How about the homeowner not only begins generating enough electricity IMMEDIATELY to power their own homes, but also has enough of a surplus to start supplying power back to the existing grid…essentially spinning the electric meter backward. That’s right…consumers begin receiving a check each month instead of writing a check. Entire neighborhoods could connect creating mini-powerplants. Businesses could create their own powerplants… reducing energy expenses and in some cases creating entirely new profit centers. We would have a nation of renewable micro-powerplants generating their own power and supply power back to the grid…thus…the Microgrid. Your home still connects to the existing grid and power plants without the need to build an entirely new system of powerlines…as Reid and Gore suggest.

There are several reasons this approach makes sense…first and foremost…the power is in the hands of the individual…not the government and not the utility companies. Homeowners and business can begin producing their own renewable electricity immediately. Why wait 16 years… when the individual can do it today. Allow capitalism the room to work…

This is all about individual freedom… aligning tax incentives and information to make green energy pay off for homeowners, businesses and towns. The whole idea is to get enough homes generating green energy fast enough to get costs down so entrepreneurs and large companies alike have the demand incentive to produce the systems for widespread adoption. It’s a great blend of the seemingly opposing forces of capitalism and the green movement.

Mike Hogan

Associate Broker

RE/MAX Commonwealth





Comment balloon 9 commentsMike Hogan • June 28 2009 04:47PM



 you have this one right.That makes sense , that why it won't work for the government!  They only thing they understand is money. Throw enough money and they can fix it.

C. "Chuck" Mixon,

Posted by Chuck Mixon, Cutler Bay Specialist, GRI, CDPE, BPOR (The Keyes Company) about 10 years ago

Spot on, Mike!

Here in the Boston, MA area, I've been meeting with a number of solar vendors and home energy rating inspectors and we are all bemoaning the same fact - none of the stimulus money seems to be making its way to the actual consumer who can start making a difference now by installing solar.  Even in our own state, we have a program called the MassSAVE Heat Loan program, which provides for up to $15,000 in energy improvements to a home, with a 0% interest rate and a 7-year repayment period, and I can only find one local lender who's even done just ONE of those loans! 

Even if only a small portion of the stimulus money were used to promote the CURRENT array of green financing alternatives (Energy Efficient Morgages, Energy Improvement Mortgages, etc.), we could start creating jobs, improving our energy independence, and reducing our carbon footprint.

I suggest we start with the FHA and Fannie Mae - they're the sponsors of these programs and they need to start doing a better job of educating both the consumer and the rest of the real estate industry. 

Keep up the good work!



Posted by Tim Cahill, MBA, EcoBroker (RE/MAX Results) about 10 years ago

This annoys me big time!  There is NO reason why a home shouldn't be built without photovoltaic shingles here anymore......NONE!

I say you need to run for office and I will vote for you!  I am so fed up with the utilities here (and I am Reid's constituent.)  It is unbelievable what enron and some other wholesalers did to us back in 2000/2001 and now we are paying the price.  My last electric bill was $531 and we had a mild summer till YESTERDAY!

Posted by Renée Donohue~Home Photography, Western Michigan Real Estate Photographer (Savvy Home Pix) about 10 years ago

Oh it all annoys me too. The political winds may shift in extreme directions...but one thing remains constant despite what political party is in office...we never learn from past mistakes.

And Renee thanks for the Kudos...however there are WAAAYYYY too many skeletons in my closet for me to run for nay office.  :)

Posted by Mike Hogan, MBA (The Hogan Group at Keller Williams Realty) about 10 years ago

I agree (about political winds) and I am from Nevada so skeletons in closets don't bother me, haha!

Posted by Renée Donohue~Home Photography, Western Michigan Real Estate Photographer (Savvy Home Pix) about 10 years ago

We want to hear about the skeletons.....oh, nevermind.  I am interested in hearing more about the Eco-Broker designation though.

Posted by Ann Allen Hoover, CDPE SRES ASP e-PRO Realtor - Homes for Sale - AL (RE/MAX Advantage South) about 10 years ago

LOL- skeletons are always fun to talk about....as long as they arent mine. Ann- check out ecobroker.com

That will answer a lot of questions. It's a lot of information to learn- and it's not cheap. But I learned a ton and it definitely helped my biz.

Posted by Mike Hogan, MBA (The Hogan Group at Keller Williams Realty) about 10 years ago

If only Kansas had a net metering law. We have a LOT of wind in KS and no net metering law.

Posted by Ken Jansen, REALTOR, CRS, 913.908.2215 (REMAX INFINITY) about 10 years ago

Yep...42 states have Net Metering...but of course Kansas is one of the few that doesnt. That has to change...thats an antiquated stance.

Posted by Mike Hogan, MBA (The Hogan Group at Keller Williams Realty) about 10 years ago