MasterPo says: This blog is about topics and issues that are of importance to me. I am not one of the countless blogging lemmings that are tripping over each other scurrying down the hill and off the cliff of blogging oblivion trying to write the greatest blog on the latest topic de'jour. Your comments are welcome.

May 8, 2009

Alternate Energy Requires Alternate Thought

Alternate/alternative energy is the buzz of the year. Perhaps the decade.

I'm all for it!

Yes, that's right. You read it correctly. I have no problem with wind or solar, especially with individuals applying that technology to power their homes.

But…..(you had to know that was coming)

It's all well and good to say that if everyone put up a wind mill or placed solar panels on their house we'd save X-amount of generated energy. But that doesn't help when non-alternative thinking prevails. Or the realities of the situation.

For example, wind power requires you to put up a tall tower. That might be fine in someplace like Nebraska. But most cities and communities have zoning laws that prevent the tall (usually 20 feet at least) towers needed for wind power. And they rarely give out variances. After all, what town wants their scenic beauty landscape dotted with electric wind mills? Case in point is Block Island, Rhode Island. The controversy over wind power vs. the electric utility (some of the highest rates in the country!) has been going on for years! Doesn't do much good to have viable wind power if my local own won't let me put up a tower (not to mention I don't think your neighbors would be too happy with that eye soar or the SWOOSH-SWOOSH of the blades 24/7).

For solar, I'll use the example of someone I work with. A woman in my office had solar installed on her house and raves about it! In the summer she boastfully puts copies of her electric bill on her office door showing she only paid $6, $10, $12 etc all summer long. That's great for her. But you also have to know her situation.

First, she lives in a very small house. It doesn't use much electricity to begin with. Second, she isn't married and has no kids. That means when she isn't home there's also a bare minimum of electric being used. And third, related to the second, she has a very active life, both work and social. So she just isn't home often to use much electricity. By comparison, I wonder what the electric bill for a medium sized house on Long Island (say 2,500-3000 sq. feet) with a family of 4 or 5 would be with a full solar array?

I'm not knocking the new technology. It has great potential. Someday.

But unless the rules and think of daily life change, and realistic projections are used for usage and savings, it's still just vaporware.

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