We don’t need no stinkin’ subsidies

I don’t mind saying that Al Zelicoff is a bit of a nut. But I mean that with the greatest respect, because you frankly can’t argue with the results (1.2 meg pdf, and more here). At Al’s ordinary (OK, slightly larger than ordinary) upper middle class Albuquerque home down the street from me, he has slashed his fossil fuel consumption, as the graphs in the pdf linked above show. No particularly wacky adjustments to an ordinary middle class American life required, just a bit of ingenuity. OK, the spreadsheets and sophisticated statistical analysis Al brings to the task are not exactly normal American middle class. This is a guy who pulled out his laptop at lunch (we were eating Thai) to show me his latest weather/energy consumption correlation analysis. But really, what he’s done, anyone could do. Without subsidy:

Much of the southwest – including large swaths of heavily populated California and Arizona are in more or less the same solar flux zone as Albuquerque and there are state-by-state subsidies for installing small PV systems. New Mexico has no such subsidy, and I must admit I’m not a fan of subsidies in any case as they tend to distort markets. Better, I think, to remove the subsidies – both overt and hidden – from fossil fuel costs and their horrific externalities.