Friday, September 21, 2012

The Holy Grail meets up with the Boondoggle to top all boondoggles. Which renewable energy technology will win out? And will the wilderness survive until the winner emerges?

First, a personal note. Longtime readers know that I wrote many articles about Ivanpah and desert renewable energy projects, opposing them, in favor of rooftop solar panels. But after about 2 years, a burnout settled in along with
a lot of negativity, and I quit writing about it. My opposition to the projects never
wavered, it was just that the idea that it served nothing but to vent my displeasure in the only way I could, via this soapbox out on the web, seemed not enough of a reason to continue down that trail.

Lately, I have been feeling a little more upbeat about the situation that is ongoing, despite evidence to the contrary, in the form of all the projects that are in the pipeline. I don’t have a solid fact to base this upon, only a feeling that has been coming on as news items come up on the radar, and political and economic events play themselves out. These things get processed in the
Morongo News Ticker and end up in writing here sometimes.

So yes, I am finally starting to come out of my funk! There is a chance that scientific breakthroughs combining with news of the actual costs to be paid, and who will actually be doing the paying, might be the fulcrum needed to
lever the direction of renewable energy development back upon its’ rightful
track, which is up on rooftops and then degraded, used up land, to meet our energy needs for the future. So let’s talk about these new developments. First,
it might be a good idea if you had some links to check out.
UCLA's new transparent solar film could be game-changer

By now, hopefully you will have visited that link and come back out on the backporch. Do you see why this has got me so worked up that I, in a fit of
hyperbole, am calling it the Holy Grail of distributed power generation?
What a scientific breakthrough, and a huge game changer in the renewable
energy debate currently ongoing, if in fact, it can be commercially viable and
made available quickly to the market. In my opinion, if the government wants to
intervene and back a winner, forget Solyndra, this is the real deal! Get the big brains at Livermore and other federal think tanks on this right away, without cutting out UCLA researchers of course.

I mention bringing in the feds only because of the difficulties involved in increasing the % of energy harvested using their infrared technology, they obviously need to double the amount of energy collected, and it seems to me that the government could play a role in providing research assistance- staff, money, etc- after all, do you think China is going to be standing by and waiting
patiently for this small company and research staff to finish up their work? China is going into renewable energy big time; who knows, they may also be working right now on a similar project.

The prospects and benefits of this technology are truly breathtaking- just imagine every glass sided skyscraper generating its’ own electricity with the
windows, while simultaneously reducing air conditioning costs! Amazing! And
just imagine other inventions which could follow from this, and other applications.

Why it might even help bring the demise of the local power companies antiquated command and control model of providing electricity! I could definitely live with that result. Just kidding

Enough of the good times. Now let’s have a conversation about the bad times.
Here is another article from the Los Angeles Times today about the ongoing
renewable energy Boondoggle to top all boondoggles ongoing out in the
deserts of the southwest.
THE SOLAR DESERT: Taxpayers, ratepayers will fund California solar plants

Now from the “I just can’t help myself” department- have I or have I not been saying ever since this blog started over 2 years ago, that these renewable energy advocates and companies have no skin in the game, that the long suffering taxpayers and the ones who pay their utility bills(ratepayers)
will be the ones paying through the nose for this new greedgreen energy
and that the companies, Wall Street, and others are laughing all the way to the bank at us CHUMPS?
I said it so many damned times that I finally got fed up with hearing myself say it. Now, at long last, the mainstream news media is starting to come around, to what I and you longtime readers here have
known for years. We are getting screwed! No doubt about it.

I don’t know about you guys, but I would at least like to get a kiss, when I it happens to me! These greengreedy bastards are making out like bandits, and the fun, for them, is just beginning. I am telling you, just wait, you just wait, until the power bills start coming in after these Ivanpah and Blythe solar projects come online- you just wait- all I can say is, your power bill is going to soar through the presently un-solar paneled roof atop your house!

But hey, it’s not like nobody tried to warn us, right? Voices were crying out from the wilderness, trying to warn folks about the destruction that was planned for the wilderness, and ultimately for the average person’s checkbook. Pretty soon,
we are all going to find out how much we will be paying the piper for that pipedream tune that he has been playing.

You better go grab that jar of Vaseline before the bill comes!

I feel better now that I have got that load off my chest. Now back to the article.

Right now at this very moment I am rereading the article which I admit that I only skimmed through earlier, and it is way worse than I initially thought, you had better go out and buy about a case of KY Jelly, because you and me are about to get the financial screwing of our lifetimes!

Did you catch this little factoid- although prices in the power purchase agreements are confidential and considered trade secrets, BrightSource will admit that the price is in line with the PUC’s recommended rate of $129 per megawatt hour, about 4 times the average rate paid in California for electricity! Wow! We are really about to be screwed!
Hope you like financial punishment, because like it or not, you are about to experience it. And don’t go thinking that because you live in another state, that you won’t be affected; trust me on this one, the federal government is doing all it can to promote renewable energy, sooner or later, you will be screwed just like the rest of us. Unless…..

Unless, we the people get involved in this and start telling our public servants, who allegedly still work for us, that this is how it is going to be. We want solar on rooftops first, period. You got that, bureaucrats? You got that, environmental groups? You know who you are, taking small donations from the little guys and preaching to the masses about one thing, and hobnobbing with
the BrightSource’s of the world in the backroom’s picking up the real, big money in return for not doing more to save wilderness from destruction caused by these renewable energy schemes, some of which, you have secretly supported and made possible by placing your own elite policy wonks on the rule writing committees- yeah, we know about it, we just need to quit rewarding your bad behavior by sending you more of our hard earned money. Enough, enough, you get the picture, my dear readers.

On the one hand, we may have found the Holy Grail of renewable energy development, which may be the answer that we have been looking for. Added to solar panels on rooftops and on degraded lands, along with wind; and continued conservation efforts, and with market driven choices that can bring the cost down, we may be on the verge of welcoming a new sunrise and an answer to weaning ourselves from fossil fuel power; on the other hand, same old, same old, the rich getting richer, and the rest of us, just getting screwed.

Which way will we go? My guess is that unless a whole bunch of people wake up, like yesterday, and start taking charge of their stake in this battle, we are just going to keep on getting the shaft, while the Wall Streeter’s and the industrialists will ruin the wilderness getting their gold mine.


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