Distraction Warning: Solar Energy Policies

While I agree that the whole Russia-Trump situation is potentially a pretty big issue, so far nothing much concrete and prosecutable has come out of all the revelations. Meanwhile, a lot of other decisions are being made on the behalf of the citizenry which are being overshadowed by all the nonsense. Let’s keep investigating as long as there are legitimate suspicions (which there are currently), but let’s not also lose sight of the other goings on. They will also have far-reaching repercussions on our lives, possibly even more than what may just end up being a nauseating scandal.

Case in point: there are those who are determined to reverse our solar energy policies, in favor of increased reliance on fossil fuels for electrifying our nation’s grid. You can read this article from the New York Times, which I will summarize with my two cents below.

The gist of the article is that the solar panel market was booming in large part due to government incentives to private owners. But that boom has slowed down recently, in at least some part due to elimination of some of those government incentives and lobbying by “investor-owned” utilities. All over the country, folks who have installed solar panels on their homes and businesses get reduced electricity bills for providing their own electricity, as well as the opportunity to sell their excess electricity back into the grid. These are state programs, but now, as a result of the “investor-owned” utility lobby, the federal government will be conducting a review of national solar energy policy.

Here are some key points:

 – Currently individual states have decided to offer incentives for alternative energy usage. Soon the federal government will have a energy policy for the whole country. Please remember that Republicans are heavy into States’ Rights.

 – I interpret “investor-owned” as “private corporation.” In other words, public utilities have been privatized in certain areas. IMO – public utilities should remain as public utilities.

 – These utilities, via their lobbyists, complain that it is unfair for people to not have to pay for their electricity, forgetting that those who are getting “free” electricity have made a significant investment in solar panels for their homes or businesses.

 – The utilities claim that if too many people use solar-generated electricity, it will make fossil fuel-generated electricity too expensive for people who cannot afford to put solar panels on their homes, forgetting that if “too many” people have solar panels, they will have enough excess electricity for utilities to sell to everyone else.

 – The utilities pay millions of dollars to politicians to promote fossil fuel-generated electricity instead of investing themselves in solar panel production, such that they could be the ones making money off of solar energy.

 – The most prominent lobbying group, as cited in this article, is the Edison Electric Institute. If the name Edison means nothing to you besides light bulbs, please read this comic from The Oatmeal.

 – A former top executive from the Edison institute is the man tasked by Energy Secretary Rick Perry to head up the federal review. Do we have to wait for his report to know what it is going to say?

If you believe in promoting alternative energy sources rather than continuing to rely solely or largely on fossil fuel, please contact your state, local, and federal representatives, and let them know how you feel.