Friday, January 16, 2009

Thinking outside the box that is provided.

posted by The Vidiot @ 7:52 AM Permalink

Tonight on PBS, on NOW, they're doing a segment on the "Power Struggle" which talks about renewable energy and how government should handle it.
As America looks to dramatically increase its use of renewable energy, an inconvenient reality stands in the way: the need to upgrade the country's antiquated electricity grid. Part of that overhaul involves the construction of gigantic and expensive long-distance transmission lines to carry clean energy from remote sites to population centers.

NOW travels to California, which has the most ambitious clean energy plan in the nation. But the state's efforts face stiff opposition from property owners and conservationists who prefer renewable energy from "local sources," such as photovoltaic rooftop solar panels.
Oh, those horrible, horrible conservationists. Who do they think they are? Egads, man!

I actually heard part of an interview with the producer this morning on the radio (interspersed, of course, with TONS of coverage on that plane that landed in the Hudson river.) She was going on about how they need to figure out how to get say, solar power that's generated in sunny areas to areas of the state that aren't so sunny. And that got my feathers ruffled.

While I didn't listen to the whole interview and will probably not watch the program, I can safely assume that the angle of the story is towards the government rebuilding its decrepit infrastructure and how the government needs to do the work, get the funding, make the plans, and blah blah blah. What I'm sure won't be discussed that the idea that maybe a huge government managed infrastructure may not be the best idea. That maybe less sunny areas need to generate their own renewable energy in another way. (Or if it is discussed, it will be done with a tone of derision.)

Are we so incapable of thinking without a government? Has government really solved any problems? Hell no. If government has solved any problems, and that's a big if, but if they have, it was only to correct a problem they created in the first place. Why do we trust the government to do good when they are constantly not capable of doing anything at all? Did government lay down the rail road tracks? No. Private companies did, maybe with the help of some government regulations, but the minute the government took it over, it went to hell in a hand basket. Government built the highway system, but they didn't do it for us. It was a war-time preparation plan. It was for the military. War is the only thing they're good at.

And that's what gets me about these shows discussing so-called renewable energy and the country's infrastructure. Thinking in terms of a smaller, more nimble and responsive solution just isn't done. The real solution will never be discussed. The real solution is for every community to get together to see what works best for them -- maybe it's solar, maybe it's geothermal, maybe it's wind or hydro or some combination of those things -- and then they should do that. Our tax dollars should go our own to local communities to help facilitate this process with a very small percentage of those tax dollars going to a fund that gets diverted to areas that need financial help doing the same thing, but don't have the money in their own community to do it. I have no problem with the government playing the role of facilitator (with a TON of oversight), but I don't believe they are capable of doing much else. The greedy people in power just muck things up with their incompetence and shortsightedness.

Our "power struggle" therefore is not only how to generate the renewable energy, but who should manage it. The State? The Federal government? The counties? That's the real power struggle. It's easy to get the juice, it's what's the best way to make it controllable and profitable and who gets to manage all of it is what's causing all the distraction.

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