Solar Energy: Our Turning Point

The cost of solar is equal to or less than the cost of electricity powering electric grids in at least 79 countries, according to Al Gore’s piece in Rolling Stone (The Turning Point: New Hope for the Climate, 6/18/14). Gore alerts us to the reality that the tide is turning in favor of consumers for our energy needs. No more blatant example of this can be found than in our struggle with Hydro Quebec over their Northern Pass Project. We have struggled for 4 years against HQ’s slick advertizing, empty promises and outright lies in their efforts to sucker NH into caving into their scam.

To illustrate the turning point, Gore uses the example of Solar energy’s growth, thanks to consumer initiatives. People have gradually been adding solar to heat their water and their homes. Like cell phones that began as big boxes 25 years ago and have now streamlined to small handheld devices affordable by most consumers, solar is gradually becoming streamlined and more affordable, thanks to ordinary citizens, not corporate power.

Key to this turning point is our ability as individuals to keep alert and informed about new possibilities for renewable energy. Massive campaigns by centralized corporations, full of empty promises of affordable energy, need to be recognized for what they are.
In Arizona, the Koch brothers tried to stop homeowners from expanding their use of solar by funding a campaign that asked the public utility commission to tax solar households up to $150. a month. The opposition (grass roots people like you and me) worked out a compromise that reduced the tax to $5. a month.

Keeping each other well becomes possible when we choose to stay awake and informed and, as Gore says, “empowered by a sense of urgency and emboldened with the courage to reject despair and become active.”

With elections coming, we have the opportunity to attend candidates nights and find out where candidates stand on energy issues. We can talk with neighbors who are exploring solar and other renewable energy systems. We can keep informed by reading Gore’s and other articles about climate change and real renewable energy available free on the internet. We can keep our governor and legislators posted on our concerns.

As always, it’s that first step that counts.


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