Wednesday, February 11, 2009

The Individual Power Station

Scott Adams, the Dilbert cartoonist, has identified a basic modern problem, and the beginnings of how to solve it.
One of the frustrations people have with the current economic downturn is feeling they are helpless to do anything about it. We are told by the media that only the government is big enough to fix our problems.

Remember after 9/11 how President Bush told us to just go about our business? It was as if to say, "Move along folks, nothing to see here, just move along." Why doesn't the government ask anything of us? Isn't it strange that they don't?

It wasn't so long ago that President Kennedy said, "Ask not what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do for your country." 300 million individuals working towards a common goal could accomplish anything. But, nobody's asking us. Apparently, at some point between Kennedy and Obama, we stopped offering. So, leave it to a cartoonist to have the best idea yet.
Suppose President Obama ordered the power companies to make one change in policy. Not only would they credit the bills of customers who have solar panels on the roof when they generate more power than they use, as is the current situation, but they would actually pay customers cash for any energy created beyond the limit of their own monthly bill. That would make any home with a Southern exposure a potential generator of electricity. The President could ask citizens to invest in solar panels, as an act of patriotism, knowing the payoff would take years, but the collective benefit to the country would be great. It would stimulate the economy, create jobs, and drive down the cost of solar panels. And your neighbors could see your new solar panels and know you were doing your part.

Imagine tens of millions of clean energy companies run by private individuals. Each one energy independent, with at least the beginnings of a multiple income stream, and the costs to the poor being only in the distribution. Think of the effect on Nevada property values.

If the people in Washington DC would look at the governed as something other than a potential threat to their power, they might think of something like this. As things stand now, we are left with presidential decree's, legislative pissing contests, and the idle musings of cartoonists.

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