Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Californian’s taking back their wilderness- some benefits and further thoughts on the dialogue.

A reader was kind enough to respond to my call yesterday for new ideas and solutions to the
holocaust now starting out in the Mojave. Here is a Democracy Now interview which I had not
seen with Mr. Hermann Scheer, called by some the father of the alternative energy movement,
an interview given prior to his passing in October of this year. The interview begins around the
12 minute mark. Remember folks that Germany is the world leader in rooftop solar with even
their parliament building’s roof being covered with solar panels!
Folks I could not get the original link to work from the Democracy Now website, this is the same video from Youtube and is only
the interview of Mr. Scheer, ignore the 12 minute comment above please.

What a great man, and a devastating loss for all of us.

Hermann Scheer interviewed by Democracy Now.

If only we had people of this stature and with this gravitas involved with our Mojave Desert
situation, alas, what might have been. Time will tell how our situation will work out.

I just want to say a great big THANK YOU to the person who emailed me yesterday. I believe
in privacy here on the backporch so I can’t give out any details, suffice it to say that with this
individual’s help and ideas, the challenge doesn’t quite seem so daunting today. Folks, as I said
yesterday, no idea is too small. And if you would like your contribution to be made public, please
say so in your missive. Obviously a public comment, is just that.

You know from the beginning in various posts I have said that our side needs to wrap ourselves
in the flag, as the other side for sure will. They will say it’s all about American jobs and values
and I agree. My disagreement with the other side, is in exactly how to reach the goal set by the

We have fundamental problems with how the CEC, BLM, the governator et al believes the goal can
be achieved. We think that the power should be generated on the rooftops first, the other side
thinks it can only be achieved fast by giant plants out in the desert, coincidentally by working only
with the big utility companies, who are obviously in favor of large plants, that has been their business
model for the last century and they see no reason to change it, so they won’t.

Last night I had a long talk with a friend and fellow blogger, who told me he had sold rooftop solar
heating in socal back in the 1980’s. There were several companies installing this just in Orange
County and they employed a lot of people, from sales to back office to installers, you get the
picture. Just imagine if this state with its’ tens of millions of rooftops installing both photovoltaic
panels which due to technological breakthroughs such as thin film, something that the largest
retailer in the world-Walmart- is about to jump into with both feet, started rolling out both technologies
on a massive scale similar to Mr. Scheer’s Germany, hundreds of thousands of real, local, and long
lasting and well paying green jobs would be created.

This is no hype, it would be a fact. Let’s see, we’ll need more transportation workers such as truck
drivers, more warehouse workers and fork lift drivers, more office staff and office managers, more
plumbers for the solar hot water systems, more electricians, a lot of laid off construction workers
could be utilized as installers and trained to become technicians- and the beauty of this plan
is that these would be local jobs near most worker’s homes, most of the hiring
would be done by small business, it truly is a win- win if people would just get
out of the mindset that being joined at the hip to the SCE’S AND THE PG& E’s
of the world for the last 100 years or so has created. We can do this folks.

Let’s talk about Germany for a moment. They have in place something called a “feed in tariff” which
in simple words requires as a matter of national importance, that the utilities must buy local, home grown
power from the individual producers whether they be residential or commercial sellers of the power.
What a concept, Edison and Los Angeles Department of Water and Power for example sending you
a check. Think you could handle that? Or perhaps maybe you wouldn’t produce as much
depending on your system, and you might only have to pay them 20 or so dollars.
As I and
others have noted, the utility companies think that they have finally figured out how to meter the sun
and they have, if the only solar power they use is from the BrightSource’s of the world.

If we put a feed in tariff in place, and we start covering California rooftops with pv solar

Speaking of Germany for another moment, last I heard they weren’t known too much for getting a
lot of sun like we Californians. If they can get such fantastic results in their climate, how do you think
their approach would work here? Hint, we wouldn’t be able to install them fast enough, once the word
got around amongst the people about making money or the bills dropping so much, the panels would
sell like hotcakes.

Now some will say, yes but it will depend on tax subsidies from the government, like that’s a bad thing.
Let me see, where have all those crocodile tear shedding folks been the last many decades while the
fossil fuel dinosaur companies or the other industries have been receiving all their corporate welfare?
And don’t forget all the billions of federal tax dollars going into those gigantic solar plantations
out in the Mojave, without those dollars, those boondoggles absolutely would not be built
period, if you don’t believe the old Morongobill, ask yourself if they were so good why haven’t
they been built already. You think those sharks on Wall Street would pass up on a sure thing?
I believe if this idea was tried out, we’d have to fight off those pirates with a stick, a very big

Another thing to consider is that the prices of photovoltaic have dropped to a point to where now it’s
being reported that they are finally competive with other energy types. As Bill Powers, the noted
engineer and power expert pointed out, rooftop solar being installed plus building out the Westlands
Solar Park which by the way is on totally degraded land, would more than meet the requirements of
the California law requiring a 33% renewable energy source for the portfolio of the state. You add
thin film solar, truly a revolutionary advance in pv, allowing for it to even be put on bus stops for
example, the possibilities are endless.

But this while sounding good, has a snowball’s chance in Hell of getting through the political process
as it currently exists. I believe I made a convincing case in my post yesterday. That is exactly why
it is so important that we, the people, drive this process. In my opinion, as a long time watcher of
politics and the political process, especially as it now exists, this will not happen without the people’s
action. We citizens and consumers of power, will have to force our will upon the political
elites, or in other words, show them who the boss is, at least on this matter. To
be blunt and crass about it, it’ll be nice to have the political hacks kissing our
asses for a change. Now that was spoken like a true man of the south, which I am
and proud of it. We are going to have to quit talking and start doing, the sooner the
better. Shake the bastards up in Sacramento. A little revolution is a good thing in
my opinion. Mount up folks and ride to the sound of the battle!

Dear friends, I am not trying to get you to do something you don’t want to do. If you prefer the status
quo and would like to keep up the love affair with the utility companies and their myriad minions, so be
it. If you don’t care that there are plans to permanently destroy the Mojave wilderness as we know it,
so be it. Fare thee well, my friends and vaya con dios. But if you would like to, for once, put the shoe
on the other foot and to stand up tall so the man can’t ride your back anymore, then please consider
helping out here.

There are a lot of ways that you can participate. The easiest way is to offer encouragement and yes,
your honest advice, via comments here or via private email to me. Another way you can get involved is
to pass this email along to people you know who have an open mind and would check it out. If you
know some young people, idealistic and full of energy we welcome them, we need them. I have no
pretensions about this, I am just the idea man, and really not interested in running things, just in
saving the desert. That’s my sole motivation.

Let me tell you guys something. I am scared to death by the thought of going back to the
Ivanpah site. I walked this several times, I may not know all the scientific names
but I put my boots on the ground, and at long last saw just how rich and diverse
life was there on that playa and I am heartsick at the devastation now ensuing
and don’t think I am up to seeing it in person, I know I have failed it, perhaps I can
make up for my weakness in other ways, we all have to do what we can within our
limitations as a person.

That personal failure however will have no effect on my attempts on behalf of the remainder of the Mojave
that so far as escaped the bulldozer.

Everyone involved in this process of trying to save the Mojave must now at long last face up to a simple
fact- the system has been corrupted, and is of, by, and for the energy promoters and since no
environmental group appears to want to make a stand via the judicial process, WE THE PEOPLE

I hear a lot of defeatist talk that it’ll do no good, nobody cares, it won’t change anything, etc.

I only have one answer.

That is a crock of bullshit!

We are just going to have to rise up and impose our will. It is still our country and state. Rumors of the
people’s courage and resolve being dead, are just that, rumors, not worth the time to type it out.

Just like a parent that has to explain something to a child and sometimes may have to enforce his will
in a loving way for the child’s own good, we may have to exert our will upon our “elected leaders.”
In this case, perhaps we might consider corporal punishment as a means of enforcing said will.
Well, I can dream can’t I?

Folks again, thanks for coming by the backporch and I look forward to hearing from you in this last
ditch effort to save our wilderness, and create jobs and take back our government in the process.


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