Our nation is pondering going electric on virtually everything, as the sources of carbon-emitting fuels become both more scarce and expensive. As a central part of the greening of America, it makes sense to create ever-more independent energy generation systems, and electricity seems to be the key.
However, our politicians seem to be locked into the concept that only large-scale facilities hold the answers. That only massive generators can do the job. That only centralized systems that are purely profit driven can be accomplished. To which I say “balderdash.”
It is feasible, although costly, for every single home in the United States to be net-producers of electricity. It is possible, but costly, for geothermal systems to be built that would produce the heating and cooling needs of entire communities. Already large-scale housing complexes are incorporating geothermal into their thinking, as private industry has woken up a little to the potential.
But there are massive legal roadblocks. Zoning codes that won’t permit a small wind turbine be privately installed in a residential neighborhood. Ordinances that regulate the size and placement of solar panels. Homeowner covenants that give aesthetic considerations of small-minded individuals the ability to block a solar-powered Stirling engine from being installed in a backyard. And regulations are in some place that not only inhibit, but actually forbid the electric monopolies from purchasing any of the excess electricity generated in such a manner.
This is insanity.
These centralized systems of power generation require two things in abundance. Carbon-based or radioactive fuels – both of which have huge long term pollution issues; and massive supplies of fresh water to cool the generators.
They are also easy targets for an enemy power to create massive disruptions on a regional level with a single well-placed bomb. Which would be impossible to accomplish of the electric generation capacity of our nation was shifted to a localized generation model, with interlocking distribution networks. The model we should be looking at is the Internet – which distributes electrons via a widely diffuse set of distribution channels.
So far, our elected officials fail to approach our power system in what could be in a rational manner. They are influenced by Big Business, eg. oil monopolies, coal monopolies, and electrical generation monopolies.
1. Repeal all laws that give aesthetics precedence over prudence.
2. Require, on a national level, that power distributors purchase at their retail price, less distribution costs, any electricity generated by a small generation system.
3. Reallocate the excise taxes being paid by net energy consumers to a low-or-no interest loan program to be lent for the sole purpose of building small-scale energy production systems, with all repayments to the system being re-lent for the same purpose.