No one has yet to figure out how to own the sun or wind. As a result, our government is left with no choice but to punish those who use it instead of what comes from the planet: coal, oil, and water. In most cases, it is illegal to construct your own solar panels and then install them and connect them to your local power grid. The same is true with windmills.
Our local, state, and federal governments tell us this is to ensure our safety, but the truth is, they are all beholden to big energy and go to great lengths to make sure we remain dependent on the most expensive and harmful forms of energy. Renewable energy will remain on the back burner until a way can be figured out to develop it under the control of the major energy producers and distributors who are raking in profits while residents pay through the nose for something they must have.
This nation dodged a bullet with the energy crisis of the 1970s and in the 40 years that have followed, it has only just been until just recently that we managed to use renewable wind and solar power for 10 percent of our total usage for one month. For a whopping 30 days, one-tenth of our energy usage came from the wind or sun. Meanwhile, in Europe, many nations regularly use 30 to 50 percent of renewable energy to meet their needs and they faced the same energy crisis we faced 40 years ago.
This great energy accomplishment of ours is a joke when compared to many of the world’s major industrialized nations. We are boasting about something that is an embarrassment. How do we ever expect to make this nation great again if we continually fail to learn from the mistakes and hardships that not only hit us, but that have hit other industrialized countries? This is not the fault of a single political party. For 40 years, both have had plenty of opportunity to create, fund, and construct a modern energy system that leaves us independent rather than dependent on fossil fuel. Both have failed miserably to meet the needs of this nation.
Is there any logical reason why a nation blessed with as much sunshine and wind like we are is unable to tap into these sources to expand and improve our energy capabilities? Is there any logical reason citizens have to pay through the nose for something that can be had so cheaply? It is not as if our current energy grid meets our needs. In fact, just the opposite is true. Like much of the rest of our nation’s infrastructure, it is outdated, stressed beyond capacity, and greatly in need of updating. Doing so will not just help meet our current and future energy requirements, it will provide much needed jobs, especially if we make a serious move to catching up with the rest of the developed world by moving toward cheaper energy sources.
When questioned about why we are not moving faster toward renewable energy, elected leaders far too often fail to answer the question. They’ll claim either the money is not there or taxes would have to be raised to make it happen. Then they ask back, “What programs would you like to see eliminated to pay the cost?” Funny, this is never their response when the military asks for more funding.
In California, how many home solar panels could be purchased for the cost of what we are paying to fund Governor Brown’s boondoggle train? Why isn’t every new home required to have enough solar panels to meet that home’s energy needs?
Officials love to tell the public how complicated all of this is. They’re liars!
The reason is very simple: elected officials believe they do not answer to us, at least not nearly as much as they answer to the energy companies that help fund their re-election campaigns. Our needs are not as important as making sure oil, gas, and coal companies can continue drilling for more archaic and expensive sources of energy.
We have the means to make sure every home, new and existing, has its own private energy grid, free of any major grid that can be hacked or compromised by over use or high demands. Each grid can be as easily monitored as our water meters with extra energy collected and stored by local or state grids. Customers will receive a monthly bill for the installation and maintenance of the solar or wind collectors on their property.
Edison and PG&E will still get their money since they will be tasked to oversee all of this while at the same time we transition away from older, dirtier, and more expensive methods for our energy needs.
The purpose of government is to meet the needs of the people. It is what our Founding Fathers wanted and created after having lived under the far reaching and poorly serving hand of the King of England and long before we sold our country’s needs to the greed of corporations.
At its best, government is simple, proactive, and allows all of its citizens the chance to make it in this world. It does not promote a massive gap between the haves and have-nots and its decisions should make it difficult for citizens to point the finger of blame for their lives at anyone but themselves. Can anyone say this has been the case under either Democratic or Republican rule in the last 40 years?
We have endless challenges before us as a nation. However, we all need and use energy and only a fool would say we should continue to rely on outdated and more expensive forms when just the opposite is available. If the left and the right cannot come together to create a better system of much needed clean energy without turning it into a war over science and global warming, then it become imperative voters muster up the energy to elect people who will.
Jim is a life long resident of California and retired school teacher with 30 years in public education. Jim earned his BA in History from CSU Chico in 1981 and his MA in Education from Azusa Pacific University in 1994. He is also the author of Teaching The Teacher: Lessons Learned From Teaching. Jim considers himself an equal opportunity pain in the ass to any political party, group, or individual who looks to profit off of hypocrisy. When he is not pointing out the conflicting words and actions of our leaders, the NFL commissioner, or humans in general, he can be found riding his bike for hours on end while pondering his next article. Jim recently moved to Camarillo, CA after being convinced to join the witness protection program.