Home editor's blog on sun & fossil fuels

Politics of sun & fossil fuels

picture of oil rig with pic of sunset superimposed on right sideEnergy is an inherently political topic. In the “On Sun and Fossil Fuels” blog section, I’ll focus in particular on the often highly-charged politics of sun (and renewable energy) and fossil fuels. Thanks in large part to the election of Barack Obama as President of the United States there is far more political momentum behind the “greening” of America and its economy than in the days of “W”. I hope to help build this momentum, if perhaps in a small way, through my “On Sun and Fossil Fuels” blogging entries.

An open letter to the pro Big Utility hypocrites


In contrast to what the pro Big Utility folks claim, home solar PROMOTES free-marketism by creating the first EVER competition for monopolistic electric utilities. We home solar owners are happy to pay a FAIR AND REASONABLE amount to to use the grid -- as long as the same guy who owns the grid is NOT the same guy with a monopoly on electic power production, a situation which represents a blatant conflict of interest.

editors-blog-entry3I've totally had it with the hypocritical people out there who allegedly support free-marketism and consumer choice, and who then slam home solar and net metering and people with home solar as free loaders and anti-free-marketers.

Come again?

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Utilities shouldn't control production & the grid


While utilities in some places are burning less coal, this is mostly because the voters in states like Colorado forced them to do so.

editors-blog-entry3It's pretty clear what the problem is with the Big Utility Model in the United States, where utilities are trying to throttle down on homeowners' right to generate their own (solar) electricity by pushing back against net metering -->

The same guys who produce the electricity ALSO own the distribution network over which that electricity runs. That's gotta change -- yesterday!

When the same entity owns the means of production AND distribution, it can clamp down/shut down the network to stifle competitors. 

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Distributive solar will take down utility monopolies


editors-blog-entry3So, I've been getting into with a commentator, "Dig Deeper", in a comments stream below an article on TransportEvolved.Com comparing hydrogen fuel cell cars to EVs. "Dig Deeper's" been pushing the typical EVs and solar are too expensive, innefficient, etc. compared to a centralized fueling/electricity system argument. 

"Dig Deeper" thinks he's right about hydrogen, about EVs, and about the top-down, centralized utility model being "cheaper", more "efficient" and "better."

I think he's wrong on all counts. And and he seems to think I'm an idiot for not thinking the way he does -- "do your research", "I don't think you understand" and "the reality is..." are the way he frames his comments. I find this to be patronizing -- you can make an argument against EVs, against rooftop solar, etc. without having to insult the intelligence of your opponent.

In any case, he seems to  think all EV-heads are pretty much idiots.

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Goodbye central utilities, hello home solar!


The old model of centralized electricity production is being replaced by localized, distributive energy production -- much to the dismay of large, centralized utilities, whose business model is not only outmoded, but anti-competitive and fundamentally un-American. [Flickr Creative Commons Photo By John E. Amos]

editors-blog-entry3Imagine a world in which the Big Utility monopoly on energy production and distribution and storage was no more. In its place is a world characterized by you-and-me, localized energy production and distribution and storage. Thinking about this makes me absolutely giddy! 

That's the way I felt today when I read a report by Greentechmedia that Germany's biggest utility, E.ON., is completely retooling in respone to the rise of distributed energy production in that country.

Read more...

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