Thursday, July 2, 2009

Clean Energy Bill

I'm packing my bags (read: waiting for the dryer to stop) to spend a weekend with my folks and relax a bit. Given this space on the Internets where I can write just about anything I want, and usually choose to write nothing, today I decided to write something. I read a big chunk of the Clean Energy Bill which passed the House this past week. There are a few things I like about it, but only if they are suggestions.

There are provisions in there which say every house and building must be inspected for energy efficiency and labeled in some public way and filed with the title/deed. The Federal Government will give favor to "Superefficient Best In Class" appliances. Did GE purchase the Democratic Party or what? What the heck is a Smart Grid Dishwasher going to do for me, and why do I have to buy one? There are even standards for spas in this bill!

Also, why do government agencies automatically get free installation of net metering (where the meter spins backward if you're generating more power than you're using if you have solar panels or a windmill) and not everyone else? Why is it that we are punishing the oil, gas, and coal industries? Why does Congress get to write permission slips to polluters and auction them off? What in the Constitution gives them that power? The more of this I read the sicker I get. Why would any intelligent person vote for these things? Maybe none did.

Wouldn't it be enough to just cut the oil and gas subsidies and tax breaks (like the $4 billion break the Republicans gave to Exxon), and let clean energy alternatives compete on their own merit? Why do we have to swing the pendulum to the other extreme? Why can't we just create a level playing field?

If I could put a windmill and a solar panel on my house and run my appliances on that, I would, if it wasn't so cost prohibitive. I get the feeling that the purpose of this bill is to make buying power from a utility so cost prohibitive, I can't afford to NOT get solar panels and windmills.

To be honest, I think that the price of those things is coming down. Natural market forces would see them come into play in good time, when they're ready. Instead, we're all going to be punished for having found coal-fired electricity and gasoline powered transportation the norm by no choice of our own. And because the party in power is not the party of Exxon and Chevron, the refineries in the US will be taxed out of business. Our fuel will not be refined in our own country. How does that improve our reliance on foreign sources of energy?

I heard one theory this week that city folk tend to be Democrats. A future of electric cars and road taxes by the mile to replace the lost revenue of gasoline tax prohibits country living (Republican tendencies). I seriously don't think the jackholes who wrote this legislation are thinking that strategically. I think it's simply to very forcibly break down the oil and gas industries who support the Republicans, and they're using global warming pseudoscience to perpetrate a giant fraud. We don't really need this. And we really don't need it in these economic times. Would I drive an electric car if I could afford one? Probably so. They're quiet and fast and maintenance free. Would it be the most affordable mode of transportation? If the government didn't subsidize gas and oil and defend gas and oil interests abroad, probably so. I believe that people do deserve a choice. Neither the Republican defense of gas and oil interests at the expense of everyone, nor this Democrat plan to punish gas, oil, and coal at the expense of everyone is moral or right.

Smart grid? Open communication protocols to signal cheapest times to run appliances? I like it, but does it need to be forced down our throats at our own expense by GE and the Democrat controlled Legislative and Executive branches? No way.