Tea Party Takes On Georgia Power Over Lack Of Solar Energy

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"Tea Party Takes On Georgia Power Over Lack Of Solar Energy"

The fight to bring cheaper, clean energy to Georgia is uniting some unlikely allies. Renewable energy advocates and leaders of the Atlanta Tea Party are taking on utility giant Southern Co., and its subsidiary Georgia Power, over resisting the call to expand its development of solar energy.

As Debbie Dooley, co-founder of the Atlanta Tea Party explained in an interview with Climate Progress, the group’s interest in the debate is quite simple: “The free market has been one of the founding principles of the Tea Party since it began and a monopoly is not a free market.”

In Georgia — as in many states — utilities are granted a monopoly over the ability to sell power, which means that customers have no choice in where they get their electricity. A major provision of the monopoly is that Georgia Power act in the best interest of ratepayers, regulated by the Public Service Commission.

Dooley said the Tea Party believes consumers should be able to exercise choice when it comes to their energy source and the activists she works with don’t want to be dependent on one or two energy sources. And Dooley’s effort is not aimed at reducing carbon emissions — in fact, she doesn’t believe in global warming — but based on their view that solar is a commonsense alternative for Georgia ratepayers that could function without subsidies.

As this atypical coalition has come together to introduce competition into the electrical provider market and challenge Georgia Power’s long-held monopoly, Southern Co. continues to ignore consumer demand and market trends. In a recent speech to the Atlanta Press Club, Southern Co. CEO Tom Fanning said, “There may come a time in the next decade when these things will be more competitive. It’s just not right now.”

One reason for this may be that distributed energy resources, like solar, threaten the core business model of utilities. As David Roberts explains in depth on Grist, an expansion of rooftop solar, for example, is a major risk to the utility model because it reduces demand for their most valuable product and goes straight at utilities’ main profit centers.

And the Tea Party isn’t the only unlikely voice for solar in Georgia. Lauren “Bubba” McDonald of the Public Service Commission also wants more solar in Georgia, although his plan would work within the existing utility structure. McDonald told Climate Progress that his decades of experience as a state lawmaker and as an elected member of the PSC, along with research and observation of the solar industry, has led him to believe the time is right for a significant expansion of solar energy in Georgia. He cited a study conducted by Arizona State University that ranks Georgia in the top five for potential benefits from solar expansion, but 38th in actual solar deployment.

The PSC, made up of five Republicans, is currently debating Georgia Power’s long-term plan for meeting the state’s energy needs. Despite the rapidly declining cost of solar and increasing pressure from solar companies and other advocates, the plan includes no new provisions for solar energy. Amending the plan requires a majority of commissioners and the vote is currently scheduled for mid-July.

Motivated by the intent to give consumers reliable electricity at the best price, McDonald is working on a plan for a robust expansion of solar in the state, which he intends to present to his colleagues in the next week. As the Atlanta Journal Constitution explains, it “would require massive fields of solar panels — presumably installed across south Georgia, where land is cheap, sunshine is plentiful, and the imminent closing of several coal-fired Georgia Power plants is being looked upon with dread by local communities.”

Even if the Public Service Commission forces Georgia Power to expand its use of solar power in their energy plan, Dooley said the fight is far from over. She plans to continue her efforts by pushing for upcoming legislation that would allow private companies to set up solar farms and feed their energy into Georgia Power’s grid, continuing to put pressure on Georgia Power for cost overruns at its Vogtle nuclear power plant, and possibly even challenging the law that grants monopoly rights to utilities.

Richard Caperton, Managing Director of Energy at the Center for American Progress, contributed.

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54 Responses to Tea Party Takes On Georgia Power Over Lack Of Solar Energy

  1. prokaryotes says:

    Cool!

    This reminds me …

    The Courage to Fight Climate Change – James Hansen also talks about Free Market solution and the American Party

    http://climatestate.com/2013/06/05/the-courage-to-fight-climate-change/

    Give the CO2 Fee directly to the people! Those with smart (less CO2) choices win and it keeps the Government smaller too!

    • Dave S. Nottear says:

      I think James Hansen has an interesting Dream that is not based on anything resembling reality.

      The same is true for the comical Masked Charade Ball described above in this post.

      The Industrial Monkey Trap is a hell of a thing to watch in-progress.

  2. Leif says:

    “:… the imminent closing of several coal-fired Georgia Power plants is being looked upon with dread by local communities.”

    Give those displaced workers a life time retirement with health care built into the rate structure. They have earned it, you think?

    At least training in the Green Awakening Economy with health care. Make the rich pay their taxes.

  3. Merrelyn Emery says:

    So funny. Shows you that if you start off from a maladaptive position, you will eventually tie yourself up in knots, advocating for what the initiators hoped to destroy, ME

  4. M Tucker says:

    No one has a choice when it comes to electricity. Name a city or neighborhood or community anywhere in the US that has a choice of electric utility company. These people are full of s#@it. They are using a BS political argument to try to fight something that has ALWAYS existed. If you dig a little deeper you will discover that Georgia is building a couple of nuclear plants. The costs are going up and these rate payers are pissed. I would be too. THAT is why they want solar. Using their dogmatic tea bag rhetoric and claiming that electric utilities should have competition is nothing but crap. They should just argue the merits of the case, look into installing solar or wind on their property. They should look for ways to disengaged from the grid. That is the only recourse any of us have if you are pissed at your local utility.

    • Joan Savage says:

      “Name a city or neighborhood or community anywhere in the US that has a choice of electric utility company.”

      If you split supply from delivery, upper New York State has choices in both electric and gas supply. I buy electricity from a vendor of wind and small hydro electricity, among several possible electricity vendors, and the power reaches me via National Grid’s delivery system.

      Given that electricity is fungible and the grid is AC, not DC, obviously I don’t actually get the electrons that got nudged by a wind turbine, but it works as a billing structure.

    • Mulga Mumblebrain says:

      And the Dunning-Krugerites still deny anthropogenic climate destabilisation. Lie down with dogs, get up with fleas.

    • Royn Ryan says:

      Public utilities used to be owned by the public, in many cases. But they got privatized.

      The day after New Orleans flooded, Entergy New Orleans declared bankruptcy, citing the protection of their stockholders. The other Entergy power companies then refused to sell them power at a discounted rate.

      So the people who returned to rebuild were forced to pay a ‘fuel surcharge’ that was sometimes 500% more than the bill.

      Because we rent the power company we used to own,the City could do nothing. Our tax dollars were spent in court, not on rebuilding. Privatization is theft.

    • Bcre8ve says:

      You are right to be wary.

      My father was involved in the attempt to deregulate energy access in the states, back in the 90s, after bringing “free” markets to the former Soviet Union. He worked with GOP politicians in the Southern states, and it was always sold as a way to give consumers a choice, and a way to bring down prices.

      To the public.

      Remember, these were the same people that went to court in NC to bar localities from providing utilities (in this case high-speed broadband) that the local monopoly was unwilling or unable to provide – and won!

      What was really going on, and what soon became very apparent,luckily for the states that were considering it, could be summed up in one word – Enron.

      The planned “opening” of the utilities was really a plan to allow companies such as Enron to enter these areas with little or no regulation or oversight, under the guise of “free markets”. The entities involved had found a way to buy energy from the grid (it was new, and I forget why), and become resellers, and they were desperate to find anyone other than industrial entities to buy it from them.

      In theory, it sounded like it could work. I was even interested, for a while, even knowing what mercenaries the people involved tended to be. Cheaper power is good, right? But of course, that’s not how it played out. At all.

      The state of California can attest to what a disaster it was for them – skyrocketing prices, rolling brownouts, all courtesy of Enron (as an aside – isn’t it interesting that now that the GOP is out of power in CA, there are no more IOUs being issued for state debts, or rolling brownouts?).

      I do not believe in monopolies. That said, this is an area for which there is a reason for strict oversight. If left to the mercies of for-profit, and unregulated power markets, our citizens, our states, and our industries will have to count on the tender mercies of the human and business equivalent of a velociraptor.

      I, for one, will watch this with interest, and a huge grain of salt.

      • Mulga Mumblebrain says:

        ‘Free Markets’ brought the USSR a Depression far deeper than that of the 1930s and the mass looting of the country’s wealth by a handful of kleptocrats-as intended.

    • zoom314 says:

      CA in a few years will have 33% of it’s electrical needs as renewable energy(solar, wind and solar thermal) and it’s mandated in our state constitution. Maybe one day that will be 100%…

      I didn’t know baggers were starting to adopt ideas that aren’t dreamed up by some filthy rich Conservative…

      I’m shocked…

  5. Omega Centauri says:

    We are going to have to put up with “strange bedfellows”, is we are going to accelerate progress away from carbon. Bring um on. Also see if we can motivate them to end the political denial of Tesla’s sales model in Texas. Basically Tesla bypasses auto-dealers, and the dealer’s wouldn’t want something that cuts out their middleman fees getting a toehold.

  6. nyc-tornado-10 says:

    in the future, electric utilities will be more involved in redistributing electric that is generated and stored at remote sites, including solar, wind, and battery storage in customer’s homes and businesses. There is no reason why a house can’t have an 85 kilowatt battery in the basement next to the meter and solar inverter, if it can be stored under the seats in a tesla model s. Utilities will maintain some generating capacity and storage capacity, but there main business will be controlling the transmission of power between the generation and storage devices that their transmission network covers.

    • Omega Centauri says:

      I was thinking about the future utility business model. Lets assume for the sake of the argument, we’ve gone 100% renewable, half is solar, and half is a combo of wind, and other local sources like hydro, geothermal, waves, tides, biomass etc. About half of solar will probably utility scale scale plants feeding the grid, and at least 90% of the rest should be utility scale plants. So this future utility will still generate (or have power purchase agreements for) at least 70% of the net power. It will also have storage and be responsible for power in both space and time.

      I think storage will largely be in utility scale systems, not in everyone’s basement. Batteries are likely not the storage of choice, and the best batteries are likely to use chemistry you wouldn’t want amateurs taking care of. The only case for distributed storage is, to either reduce maximum draw on the grid -earning some sort of price break from the utility, or as a component of a backup system for when the grid is down. Outside of vehicle to grid systems, I don’t think much storage will be residential.

      This should still leave plenty of room for a profitable utility business model.

      • John says:

        I agree there is no conflict between utility companies and solar or other forms of alternative power. Unless someone is completely off the grid (which may be more efficient in very rural areas) there will always be a need to have backup capacity from the grid. One’s solar and/or wind turbines can feed the grid and you pull back out when the sun/wind is down. That said, there are vast potentials in storing energy in forms other than batteries. Hydrogen gas, for e.g., or even refillable reservoirs. (i.e. using solar energy to refill a reservoir then running the water through turbines when electricity is needed.)

        One of the most neglected forms of renewable energy in my opinion is tidal power–power from the moon. It is virtually constant, and would have to be done by a utility. Biomass, in my opinion, should be stopped. We need to grow food, not fuel.

      • zoom314 says:

        Don’t forget Solar Thermal(Nevada Solar One), it can store up power and supply it 24/7, in fact build enough of that technology in Southern Nevada and build a national electrical grid and the US wouldn’t need anything else, the future could be quite shocking indeed…

      • Brianna Amore says:

        This is assuming that battery technology does not evolve from the 100+ year old technology we have now. There are companies working on far more efficient battery systems that are not nearly as chemically destructive, don’t need recharging, or filling. Once that happens, watch the world change almost overnight.

  7. Mike Roddy says:

    That would be way cool if the Tea Party turned on their patrons, the Koch Brothers. Then we might have a chance.

  8. ToddInNorway says:

    This news should be viewed as a turning point for the better. Whenever your most aggressive opponents change their minds and join your cause, do not be suspicious, but instead, see that as a sign that your cause is winning! So for me, the ultimate dream case would be to get Koch bros. to publicly support renewable energy projects both in spirit and in fact themselves invest heavily in them.

    • Merrelyn Emery says:

      I’ll bet you that the Koch bros did not forsee their adherents backing solar and are probably contemplating their next move. And NB, Dooley does not believe in global warming, ME

    • Mike Roddy says:

      The Kochs are too old, too weird and, especially, too evil to ever change.

      Years ago some loggers didn’t like a few redwood groves being protected along the California coast. They came in at night and cut a bunch of them down, just for the hell of it. That’s how the Kochs think.

  9. quokka says:

    Southern is building two AP1000s. Most optimistically, you would need at least 10 GW of PV to produce as much electricity. This single nuclear project will produce more low emission electricity than all the PV currently installed in the United States.

    Reality check time.

    As for teaming up with the tea party – if you lie down with dogs, you get fleas.

    • facts lean left says:

      A single nuke will kill more Americans than 9/11.

      • quokka says:

        As no member of the American public has ever been killed by a nuclear power plant, your claim looks a little ridiculous. How safe safe would you like?

        As the just available UNSCEAR report states, radiation from the Fukushima accident killed nobody, not one person was treated for radiation sickness and there has been no identifiable effect on the biota of Fukushima. There may be a small and statistically undetectable increase in cancer incidence.

        The Fukushima accident involved three reactors with severe core damage. The response was all the more difficult because of the widespread destruction of infrastructure due to the horrendous natural disaster. Even in this very difficult and rare situation, the adverse health effects have been and will continue to be minimal.

        Lessons have been and will continue to be learned both in accident prevention and in response to and mitigation of a severe accident. For example the fitting of hardened containment filtering systems for venting. Had such devices been in place at Fukushima, radiation release would likely have been far less.

        The net effect of the Fukushima accident will be to make what is a relatively safe technology even safer.

        As James Hansen has recently pointed out in a published paper nuclear power has saved many lives by displacing coal and reducing the huge health burden imposed by coal.

        • facts lean left says:

          Wow, what a collection of lies and propaganda. You nukeheads are truly dangerous and sick.

        • Mulga Mumblebrain says:

          What I find truly vicious about nuclear apologists is the way that they pretend that people are not killed years later by nuclear radiation, by neoplastic disorders, where the attribution of direct cause is, so far, impossible. My uncle worked in a uranium mine, and twenty years later died of lymphoma, no doubt caused by his love of ‘marma-bloody-lade’. You can add the thousands being poisoned, alive and in utero, by depleted uranium munitions, another benison brought to us by the nuclear ghouls.

          • quokka says:

            Your “argument” about DU is beyond absurd.

            People in Iraq suffered terrible injuries and horrible deaths from white phosphorous. The chemical industry is evil. Shut it down now!

            People in Iraq had their bodies torn apart by weapons delivered from aircraft. The aircraft industry is evil. Shut it down now!

            The US military tortured people with electricity. Electricity is evil. …..

            We could go on and on.

            The truly shocking thing about the war in Iraq is that it was utterly unjustified. And that has absolutely nothing to do with the use of nuclear power to produce low emission electricity.

          • Mulga Mumblebrain says:

            DU is different from those other horrors, which I would also outlaw, because it is forever, or two billion years, whatever you prefer.

    • zoom314 says:

      There is one plant I think down in Southern Nevada that could keep up, it can make up to 75MW on 400 acres, store up the energy that’s collected, generate power and distribute it 24/7, but then it’s a Solar Thermal power plant.

      Nevada Solar One

      Here’s a Google Search on Nevada Solar One, for those who want to know more and for the curious…

  10. Chris says:

    strange bed-fellows indeed but glad to see it

  11. Joy Hughes says:

    The Green Tea Alliance strikes again!

  12. shineOn says:

    The oil, coal and gas industry seems to have a dying dinosaur-like business model. It is becoming more desperate, and therefore more dangerous.

    They have known about the necessity of switching to renewable energy for decades, yet have done nothing but hire more lobbyists to ensure bigger profits. For their hubris and arrogance, they do not deserve a share of the new energy industry.

    Municipalization rules!

  13. SecularAnimist says:

    M Tucker wrote: “Name a city or neighborhood or community anywhere in the US that has a choice of electric utility company.”

    That has been true in Maryland for years.

    The distributor & grid operator (PEPCO) is one company, and no, you don’t have a choice there. There’s only one set of wires to bring electricity to your house, and it belongs to PEPCO.

    But you do have a choice of electricity providers, which are separate companies.

    That’s how I am able to purchase 100 percent wind-generated electricity, sourced from a wind farm in Pennsylvania.

  14. M Tucker says:

    Thanks Joan and Secular, I had not heard of this before. I was not aware that some utilities had sold off their transmission lines. I find it fascinating that customers have a choice of electrical generation. Do you pay just one bill to Nat Grid or PEPCO? Or do you pay one bill to the transmission company and another to the electricity generation company? To the point of the folks in Georgia, does this choice, and supposed competition, in generation companies lower the price? Have you seen your bills going up or going down? How does customer service work? Are you told to contact the provider when you place a call to Nat Grid or PEPCO?

    I think that separating the distribution from the providers is theoretically a good idea but after looking into both Nat Grid and PEPCO it looks like what you really get is complexity. But, since that is not what we here in the most populace state in the union have I really have no way to actually know.

    • KD Brown says:

      M Tucker, one of the worst results of separating transmission for small, individual households is the establishment of mandatory fees that are unhinged from the per KwHr charges that you find on your bill for consumption.

      Not only does it lock you into fixed fees, which are silly for a quantity based product and difficult for those on fixed incomes, but it destroys the economic benefit of reducing consumption. There should be no disincentive to save energy in todays world. Saving energy is a priority for us all.

  15. Ernest says:

    I’ve always thought a possible formula for alliance with conservatives/libertarians and climate change activists might be in the area of “resilience” and “local control”. De-centralized or distributed energy generation is part of the picture. Community control of it’s own energy sources, food and water supplies, and economy, might also be part of those values.

    Now if only they would accept (1) the science of climate change, and (2) a simple revenue neutral carbon tax, I’d be happy. I can also be supportive of fiscal responsibility, a smaller and more efficient government. No big deal.

  16. pluege says:

    trying to transition the US (and world) to a sustainable energy economy by fear mongering climate change is completely unnecessary and as we’ve seen, is a fools errand – too many vested interests in the status quo to make headway based on future notions of survival. Sustainable energy stands on its own economically as far, FAR CHEAPER than fossil fuel based energy when all costs are considered and a proper economic analysis is done.

    At the highest level you take sustainable energy where the cost of fuel is ZERO – the FUEL IS FREE!!!! vs fossil fuel energy where the cost of fuel is ENORMOUS!!!! and you know right away that only a corrupt facocted economic analysis could ever result in fossil fuel based energy being cheaper.

    As the article correctly points out, the fossil fuel decades old scam has everything to do with centralized profit-making for a small number of people and NOTHING to do with producing energy economically for people.

    • Raul M. says:

      Capturing the energy from sun, wind, wave and earth requires someone there with something to get it started.
      There are plumes of natural gas in Alaska and there is location where it is “free” to go into the air. It isn’t supposed to be that way but there it is going into the air.
      Must be a better way of getting energy from it than whiff and warmer air.

  17. John says:

    quokka,

    and who pays when they blow up and contaminate half the east coast?

  18. John says:

    Quokka,

    and nobody was killed or suffered radiation poisoning by Chernobyl? And how many trillions of dollars did the Fukushima end up costing the Japanese? Not so cheap after all, was it? Anyone investing in or insuring a nuclear power plant must be interested in this great bridge I have in Brooklyn.

    • Mulga Mumblebrain says:

      Quokka would have just ignored it, or pretended that it didn’t happen, TEPCO’s usual response.

      • Mulga Mumblebrain says:

        Nuclear might just be acceptable if for some reason solar, wind, geothermal, tidal, wave and greater efficiency and reduced over-consumption etc prove insufficient. It could be an emergency stop-gap only, and only if the waste can be consumed in fast breeders as promised, then it can be shut-down, forever, because too dangerous. However it is simply laughable, to be politic, to deny that it is deadly dangerous, from radiation and proliferation points of concern, and that it has not caused death and suffering far in excess of the propagandistic numbers produced by industry apologists. The convenience of radiation victims dying of cancer decades after exposure, with definitive attribution of cause being, so far, impossible, is exploited by the nuclear lobby with no apparent attacks of conscience, but such a state of mind is all the rage these days, don’t ya know!

    • quokka says:

      Nobody claims that there were no deaths at the Chernobyl accident, so just what point are you trying to make?

      There were less than 50 deaths from acute radiation syndrome and from memory about 150 cases requiring hospitalization. Some of them very severe. It was a very bad accident.

      The San Juanico gas disaster in Mexico in 1984 killed five hundred people and severely burned ten times that number.

      The Banqiao dam disaster in China in 1975 killed 27,000 people outright with multiples of that number killed by the consequent famine and disease.

      Oil and gas pipeline accidents in the US alone have killed 536 people.

      The Piper Alpha oil platform accident in 1976 in the Nth Sea killed 167 men.

      The Minamata methylmercury incident in Japan (not really an accident but more like willful negligence) has had far more adverse heath consequences that the Fukushima nuclear accident is ever likely to.

      And I’ve hardly even started on the list of industrial accidents. The numbers for coal mining over the years must be horrendous.

      Believe it or not, safety is a relative matter and nuclear power remains one of the safest energy technologies.

      • Mulga Mumblebrain says:

        Most of these disasters are incidents where, apart from the acute effects of death and suffering, no long-term effects arise. Mercury pollution is different, and heavy metal pollution is akin to radioactive pollution in that its effects are very long-lasted. So too, with a somewhat shorter time-frame for hydrocarbon pollution, but these chemicals do eventually degrade. But nuclear waste remains dangerous for millennia, and despite its relatively insubstantial quantum, it includes fantastically deadly stuff like plutonium, which, moreover, presents a real nuclear weapons proliferation risk, as I suspect we will soon see in Japan with the revanchist Mr Abe and his ilk. Why anyone would wish to continue adding such deadly stuff to the world, when other renewables are much cheaper, and growing more so, as nuclear continues to grow and grow in cost, is a mystery to me.

        • quokka says:

          Both UNSCEAR and WHO have stated that any long term adverse public health effects from the Fukushima accident will very likely be too small to be detected. The notion that there is some vast legacy of suffering and death is preposterous. Furthermore spreading this nonsense directly causes harm to the affected population by inducing unnecessary anxiety and blighting lives.

          Fukushima will NOT have any serious level of contamination for anything like hundreds of years. The radio isotopes of any real interest now are Cs-134 (two year half life) and Cs-137 (30 year half life). Add in erosion, dispersal, dilution etc and even the worst hot spots will be pretty tame in a few decades. Recently the Japanese government has eased restrictions on access to Futaba town. It is only about 4 km from the gates of the Fukushima Daiichi plant in the north west direction where most of the plume went. I predict some level of shock in some quarters at the speed of recovery in Fukushima from the accident.

          Reactor grade Pu (as is present in spent fuel from Japan’s PWRs and BWRs) is not considered a proliferation risk. For example the US does NOT object to the Bushehr nuclear power plant in Iran. I have little doubt that Japan could produce nuclear weapons if it chose to do so, but neither their power reactors nor their spent fuel would have anything to do with it.

          You seem to be putting forward some sort of ethical proposition that dead now is better than dead later. Can’t see the basis for that. Maybe a better metric is number of years of life lost. I believe that the average loss of life duration for the survivors of the atomic bombings who received more than 100mSv radiation dose (mostly acute and many of those received a lot more) was 4 months. Radiation dose to the public of Fukishima is far far lower. There have also been no statistically significant ill heath effects (including birth deformities) observed among the children of the survivors. These are the best long term data available on effects of ionizing radiation.

          • Mulga Mumblebrain says:

            It is now known, after decades of secrecy, that the WHO signed a secret agreement with the International Atomic Energy in 1959, to allow the IAEA to vet any WHO research before publication. And the WHO, which had highlighted the dangers of nuclear radiation, fell silent ever since. No more observations such as this, from 1956, ‘Genetic heritage is the most precious property for human beings. It determines the lives of our progeny, health and harmonious development of future generations. As experts, we affirm that the health of future generations is threatened by the increasing development of the atomic industry and sources of radiation’. The cynicism of ignoring long-term detrimental effects like raised cancer rates (that can be fobbed off as an artifact of rising age distribution) and unattributable congenital disorders, is a real weapon in the nuclear industry’s propaganda apparatus. Cynical, inhumane, but useful. The motivation, as ever, is greed, the cupidity of the vast economic interests behind the nuclear industry. They are quite prepared to take any risk with the lives of others, including hundreds of future generations, so long as profits flow. And they certainly flow, to an industry that grows ever more expensive, is basically uninsurable, which has no idea how to remediate the devastating mess of sites like Hanford, but has every demand for billions in public handouts met. And all this, the whole farrago of extortion, danger, pollution etc, is utterly unnecessary if the money expended on this disaster was spent on renewables instead.

          • jorma says:

            Nice to see that some informed person bothers, at least sometimes, to challenge the anti-nuclear power nuttery that so many people whose “facts lean left” etc. seem to subscribe to…

  19. KD Brown says:

    Most posts on energy related sites argue the pros and cons of single over-riding systems. So if one system for creating electrical power does not work to replace oil and coal with NO drop in the kind of performance that we get from fossil sources, then there is something wrong.

    Good to see that so many are looking at multiple sources.

    What is missing is reference to locale and environment. This will inform choices that are made locally.

    Small communities are interesting places to try new sources of energy. There is often a simpler grid from the outside world, making power outages frequent and the rationale for back-up power more pressing. Not only is the political case more easily made as a result, but with smaller areas to cover, the establishment of a smart grid should be technically more feasible.

    Pioneers?

  20. JR says:

    I would like to welcome the Tea Party to the fight for alternative energy. Don’t forget to support the Renewable Fuel Standard for a clean burning alternative to oil.