Deja Voodoo

Richard Perez, of Home Power magazine, recently had a flashback and realized why President Bush’s new energy plan will not work – the ideas are over a decade old and they didn’t work the first time either!

On 24 May 2001, I received the following email from a Home Power reader: “Hello again, Richard. Since I got your four Solar CDs from my son for Christmas, I have spent many hours reading the back issues. One page stood out today – HP22, page 4, and I thought you might want to be reminded of it. Perhaps you could run it again and save yourself a little time! Reminds me of the old saw, “Like father, like son.” Hope to see you at the MREA fair in June. Cliff Anderson, Brooklyn Park, Minnesota.” I didn’t remember what Cliff was referring to, so I pulled out a copy of HP22 and looked. Here is a verbatim reprint of that editorial. We first printed it in the April/May 1991 issue of Home Power.
Bush’s Energy Non-Policy for the Suicidal and Terminally Stupid Bush’s new energy policy assumes we are fools with a death wish. There is nothing new in drilling Alaska till it hurts, or in building more nuclear power plants. This is the same short-sighted BS that has gotten us in environmental trouble and into war. Let’s look at the facts. Sucking Alaska Dry There really isn’t that much oil in Alaska. How much? Well, look at it this way. Alaska contains less oil than we’d have saved by sticking with the EPA automobile mileage guidelines modified in the 1980s. When the government lessened these EPA requirements, auto makers stopped making more efficient vehicles. This one dumb move has consumed more than all the oil in Alaska. Drilling Alaska only postpones the inevitable, destroys Alaska, and pollutes us all in the process. We need alternatives to oil burning, not more oil. More Nukes No one is building new nuclear power plants. Nukes under construction are being decommissioned. The reasons for this are simple: One, no one knows what to do with the radioactive leftovers. Two, the nukes operating now are more expensive and have more down-time than any other type of power plant. Three, when the Washington Public Power System (WPPS) failed financially, it took the entire nuclear power industry with it. The third reason is what has really stopped nuclear power. The WPPS bonds (AAA rated municipals) went from valuable to worthless in a single day. No one will finance new nukes because they are financial disasters. Let us give thanks for small favors because if nukes were cost-effective, then we’d have to deal with their radioactive waste. And no one has the answer to that. Something Else? Yes, we want something else! We’re tired of the same old dreck that is visibly poisoning our planet and picking our pockets. We’re ready to do whatever it takes to give this planet a sustainable energy future. And here’s what it takes. Use Renewable Power Sources Make power from sunshine, wind, and falling water. There are between 30,000 and 50,000 households now doing this in America. Home power producers have their own power company. No monthly bills, no blackouts, and no pollution. Conserve Electricity If you can’t get your power from a renewable source, then conserve every watt-hour. Use efficient appliances. Turn off appliances when not in use. Be aware that the cost of grid power is much higher than your electric meter shows. Treat every watt like it will come back and bite you – because it will. Coal, nuclear, and oil power plants all extract a high price from our environment. Drive Clean Keep your vehicle in top shape. Drive only when necessary. Drive slowly. Keep your tires pumped up. Use an electric vehicle. Demand automakers produce emissionÐfree vehicles. Then buy one and smile as you drive it. A Green Dream Green certainly, but this is no dream. Look at the articles in this issue alone. These are people who are living the Green Dream. Check out Huckleberry Homestead on page 6 – they’re doing it. Check out the electric car on page 85 – hey’re doing it. If we just plain ole’ regular folks can accomplish this on our budgets, then government and big business has no excuse. It’s a dream until you decide to live it…
After reading this, I got slack jawed. Did I really write this ten years ago? I thought about opening up a hotline – call 1-900-Solar Psychic. Then I realized that I’m not psychic, it’s just that nothing has changed in the U.S.A.’s energy policies during the last ten years. About the only thing out of date in that editorial is the number of RE users, which is well over 180,000 now. As far as our government’s energy policy, it’s the same old BS. President Bush is following his dad’s ten-year-old policies – more oil, more coal, and more nukes. Is this effective? Hardly. We are now having utility blackouts, and the price of gas is higher than it ever has been. We have train loads of nuclear waste waiting to cruise the tracks looking for a home. Bush’s energy policy doesn’t work and history shows this. It seems like the folks making real progress in the energy field are home power people – we’ve tripled in number in the last decade. What do we know that they don’t? PV Module Alert If you are planning to buy PVs this summer, you may be disappointed. Demand for PV is now exceeding the supply. People are buying PV modules faster than they are being manufactured. This increase in PV sales is being driven by the recent utility blackouts. In late May, I surveyed over 124 renewable energy dealers nationwide. I asked them how long it would take to get a PV module if they ordered it at that time. I also asked them if their businesses had grown within the last six months. Thirty-six dealers responded. They are waiting an average of two weeks for delivery of smaller PV modules, and an average of two months on modules larger than 85 watts. They also reported business increases from 50 percent to over 300 percent. This clearly shows that many more folks are considering PV as an alternative to grid power. It also shows a need for more PV production to meet this increased demand. We need more PV dealers too, especially those who design and install complete systems. Solar Energy Future Bush’s energy policy takes us back ten years into an instant replay of his dad’s energy policy. This policy of increased coal burning, increased oil burning, and increased use of nuclear power didn’t work ten years ago, and it won’t be any more successful today. This policy is what has gotten us into today’s energy shortages, high energy prices, blackouts, and environmental degradation. While Dubya is stuck in the past, many Americans seem to have other ideas. They are buying photovoltaics faster than ever before. They see the bright future of solar energy, even if Bush cannot. Copyright © 2001 Richard Perez, Home Power, PO Box 520, Ashland, OR 97520 – 530-475-3179 – Fax: 530-475-0836
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