Solar and Wind Energy-Imagine that some entity made a TEST CASE out of Somervell CountySomervell County Salon-Glen Rose, Rainbow, Nemo, Glass....Texas


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Solar and Wind Energy-Imagine that some entity made a TEST CASE out of Somervell County
 


14 January 2009 at 12:28:04 PM
salon

The other day I read an article that said that, if transmission lines bills were passed, all that solar and wind energy that exists out in west Texas would be available to metroplex areas, usable, within three years. That's opposed, for example, to three years of waiting to START, maybe, building another nuclear power plant, which would itself take years to come online (and has its own set of issues.)

I'm dreaming here, but you know how recently the tourism bureau of Las Vegas arranged to send the whole town of Cranfills Gap for a fun weekend in Vegas? Imagine that some company  or group of *alternative* (don't care for that designation) companies decided to help out the 2nd smallest county in Texas and supply solar and wind energy as a test case, along with, say, some conservation procedures, like making a house more energy efficient, etc. Did a before and after. I would think that not every family would want to do this, but probably enough would, particularly if the carrot was that they could get all or most of their energy from natural processes and have no electricity bill. Imagine being able to do some kind of video process where the whole thing was covered from start to finish, lots of heartwarming stories, data, etc. I mean, I can even imagine where particular neighborhoods get together to share their own electricity, as in, if you had a windmill on your hill but your neighbor was in a valley, you'd pool your electricity for your own neighborhood.

The problem, right now, with solar and wind is nOT that there isn't a lot of it, it's that Texas is far behind the rest of the country to USE it. Why? One reason is that it's dang expensive. While companies like Luminant/Energy Futures HOlding get all kinds of subsidies from the government, as well as loans and even guarantees that if they harm the environment, the taxpayers will pick up the tab, not them, what kind of spiffs are there for solar energy companies? Even the wind generation companies are part, generally, of a bank of generations that still require transmission lines to be built FROM those farms to where people are. But I remember reading about a guy up in Melissa, Texas a few years ago that put a dang windmill in his back yard. If people would see them as attractive BECAUSE they get low or nill energy bills, bet everyone would put them up if applicable.. IF they were inexpensive enough or subsidized.

It's also not like corporations aren't doing this. I read a year or two ago that Walmart was running one of their stores in California on solar. Why isn't this filtering down to people? In my opinion, it's because people want to pass the responsbility of energy off to a grid company, which is happy to do it because it makes the owners and shareholders LOTS of money. (I don't address here the jobs and other local benefits for utility companies, but heck, remember that buggy whips were a going business once.)

So, anyway, in my dream, it would be like that show where people go in and build a house for needy people, except that this would be for an environmental project that would clearly show HOW a community could rethinki and redo energy for truly CLEAN energy.. from the sun or wind (or geo, et al) rather than what purports to be clean energy, like nuclear with radioactive waste or coal burning plants that pollute.


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