Punishment For Using Solar Energy!!!

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The San Blas archipelago in Panama, 2002 and 2014

When Donald Trump announced on June 1st that he intends to withdraw the U.S. from the Paris Climate Accords, I was outraged, although not surprised.  But I took heart a few days later, as state’s governors and city mayors, as corporations and energy companies stepped up to the plate and pledged to continue the fight against carbon emissions and other activities that are contributing to the destruction of Planet Earth.  I was greatly encouraged to hear that despite Trump’s best efforts, solar and wind energy would continue to grow and eventually replace, to a large extent, coal. Today, I am back to being outraged. There are multiple reasons for this, but let us start with this one …

From the New York Times, 08 July 2017:

 

Rooftop Solar Dims Under Pressure From Utility Lobbyists  

“Over the past six years, rooftop solar panel installations have seen explosive growth — as much as 900 percent by one estimate.

That growth has come to a shuddering stop this year, with a projected decline in new installations of 2 percent, according to projections from Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

… the decline has also coincided with a concerted and well-funded lobbying campaign by traditional utilities, which have been working in state capitals across the country to reverse incentives for homeowners to install solar panels.

Utilities argue that rules allowing private solar customers to sell excess power back to the grid at the retail price — a practice known as net metering — can be unfair to homeowners who do not want or cannot afford their own solar installations.

Their effort has met with considerable success, dimming the prospects for renewable energy across the United States.”

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Arctic ice, 1980 and 2012

In short, this amounts to punishment for those who are trying to do the right thing, to save the planet, while saving money.  My friend Shafer, a resident of southern California, installed solar panels some years ago and has been rewarded by significantly lower energy bills, occasionally even having excess to sell back to the power company.

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The Enterprise Bridge in 2011 (left) and 2014 (right)

It is one thing for Trump to say he is withdrawing from the Paris Accords – that in itself is an abomination.  But to remove past restrictions on the fossil fuel industries as he has, takes it to an even higher level of destruction.  And now this … to penalize those who, despite hurdles thrown in their path by the government that should be supporting them, are nonetheless trying to do the right thing to save our planet … this is beyond unconscionable.

The saying “eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow we may die” has taken on new meaning in this, the world of the 21st century.  This is how mankind has lived for too many decades, and now that he opens his eyes, sees the results of his debauchery, some are throwing their hands up and saying, “Party ON!”.  Others of us are diligently trying to reverse the ravages of the past, but unfortunately the people in power are the ones doing the partying.  The ones with the power AND money to work toward viable solutions are the very ones who are saying, “I’ve got mine … to hell with the rest of the world!”

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Bleaching of the Great Barrief Reef, 2002 and 2014

Think about this.  The average life span of a male in the United States is 78.94 years.  Donald Trump is already 71 years of age.  Scott Pruitt, head of the EPA is 49 years old.  Rex Tillerson is 65 years old.  Jeffrey Beauregard Sessions is 70 years old.  These are the men making the life-threatening decisions, but they will not be around to pay the price.  They will “eat, drink and be merry” while never knowing or caring what devastation they have wrought on future generations.  And they will eat and drink far better than the rest of us, for they are accumulating great wealth by pandering to the fossil fuel and other industries with their decisions.

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1930s and 2005: Alaskan Pedersen Glacier

The Times article continues …

“Hawaii, Nevada, Arizona, Maine and Indiana have decided to phase out net metering, crippling programs that spurred explosive growth in the rooftop solar market.

Many more states are considering new or higher fees on solar customers.”

So … in addition to ending the benefit of net metering, some states will further penalize environmentally-conscious people with higher rates and fees!  This is comparable to, if lobbyists for the tobacco industry pushed hard, telling people who do not smoke that they will pay a monthly surcharge … for not smoking!!!

“The same group of investor-owned utilities is now poised to sway solar policy at the federal level. Brian McCormack, a former top executive at the Edison institute, is Energy Secretary Rick Perry’s chief of staff.

In April, Mr. Perry ordered an examination of how renewable energy may be hurting conventional sources like coal, oil and natural gas, a study that environmentalists worry could upend federal policies that have fostered the rapid spread of solar and wind power.

‘There’s no doubt these utilities are out to kill rooftop solar, and they’re succeeding,’ said David Pomerantz, executive director of the Energy and Policy Institute, a renewable energy advocacy group. ‘They’re now driving the agenda.’”

Check out the entire article (link above), as I have re-printed only a small portion here.  Trump has lost for us the respect of leaders and nations worldwide with his asinine decision on climate change.  Passive decisions, saying “I will do nothing to work toward a solution to the problem”, are bad enough.  But active decisions, saying “I will reverse the good that has been done, and I will endeavour to cause as much damage as I possibly can, even punishing those who are trying to do the right thing” are horrible and horrifying.  To allow the wealthy to gain even more wealth by stepping on the backs of all others is beyond belief and cannot be allowed to continue.  I would advocate for making Trump & Pruitt drink from the streams the coal companies are dumping their waste into, and breath the air from the exhaust of those coal-fired furnaces.

sad-lonely-tree

64 thoughts on “Punishment For Using Solar Energy!!!

  1. You and I disagree on catastrophic man-made climate change ~ however the alterations to the whole net metering scheme, both in the USA and the UK, stinks of major utilities companies maximising their profits at the expense of the householder, even if that householder is trying to do the right thing by the planet.
    Personally, if I was a tad younger I’d just go completely off-grid.
    You can share my log cabin in the woods and we’ll tell politicians and utilities companies to get lost.
    Keep up the good work Jill.
    Love
    ❤ ❤ ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • The log cabin in the woods … sounds so wonderful!!! No internet, no television, just lots of books, music, good food, long walks in the woods …. and of course Marmaduke!!! I’m on board for that!!!

      And yeah, we don’t agree on the issue of man-made climate change, but I think we both agree that finding ways to keep the planet a bit nicer is something we should all be doing, and for the industrial giants to put their own profit ahead of our well-being is unconscionable.

      Thanks for your support, Jack! I greatly appreciate it! Love & hugs!!! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

      • Not only could I build and fit-out a log cabin, I could make the furniture too. Maybe would would have internet, I think you should go on with your blog, even in a log cabin in the woods.
        Lots of love and warm hugs. ❤

        Liked by 1 person

        • A man of many talents!!! So, will ye be heading to the lumber store tomorrow? How long do you think it will take? I shall, of course, help with the costs. And yes, sigh, I suppose you are right about the internet and my blog. Frankly, even if I weren’t doing this blog, I would still want to write, thus the need for the internet for research purposes. But you must promise to pull me away from it when I start beating the keyboard and threatening to throw it through a window 😀 Put me out on the porch (we must have a porch or deck or veranda) where I can hear the rustling of the leaves, smell the earthy aromas. Sigh … get to the lumber store, Jack! ☺ Love and warm, fuzzy hugs back to you! ❤ ❤ ❤

          Liked by 1 person

          • From the bare ground to a finished home, maybe 6 months. And yes, we must have a fireplace and a cozy rug to sit in front of it. I also like wood-burning stoves. In theory if you cut your own firewood it’s carbon neutral too.
            A covered porch to sit under on rainy days, and an open porch for sunbathing. I can almost see the place in my mind’s eye.
            Both of us like to write, but luckily I don’t lose my temper with the keyboard and threaten to throw it through the window.
            Yes, I am a complete Renaissance Man of multifarious talents. I think some of my talents would surprise you.
            Lots of Love, Hugs, and passionate kisses. ❤ ❤ ❤

            Liked by 1 person

            • Fireplace … cozy rug … porches … the woods right outside the door … who could ask for anything more? Perhaps we could even grow some of our own food! Oh wait … I have no green thumb and every green thing I touch dies. Scratch that. But yes, it is idyllic … no electric bills, no monthly rent, freedom from “things”. Sigh. What a beautiful way to live, yes? I am certain that you have many talents that would surprise me … I can only speculate 😀
              Huge hugs & kisses, Jack! ❤

              Liked by 1 person

    • But why not do it anyway…build a log cabin and go off-grid?

      I don’t know how old you are Jack, but I am 60 and my husband and I live in our off-grid boat…(and yes Jill, we even have a wood stove with a backboiler). It is like having a cottage on water. I can assure you that it is the best world. Small living, yes, but we do have guests so four of us can live together in its 58-ft by 6-ft dimensions for a few days.

      We have the added flexibility that we can move the boat into town for shopping every couple of weeks and back out into countryside for mooring, (negating the need for a car) and it is fairly economical. We have lived this way for 12 years now and it is very liberating.
      We do cheat a bit though. Wintertime can be a bit restricting for walking and enjoying the outdoors, so we often pet sit in Spain or go to Thailand (which we intend to do this coming winter, where we will volunteer at an organic seed farm that distributes its seed and philosophy to other farmers. Many of them have become almost bankrupt in buying GM seed and chemicals from corporations and the land has turned unuseable).

      I believe turning back a little to a simpler (and happier) life is the answer to a lot of issues for people. It is jumping off the treadmill that is the difficult bit.

      I hear you ask….isn’t it expensive to do that? Well yes, the boat cost us the equivalent of $100,000 US dollars (but we did sell the house which fetched a lot more than that). Our living expenses (including the travel to Spain and Thailand) cost us no more than $30,000 per year but without the travel to Spain and Thailand, we could easily drop that to between $15,000 and $20,000 US equivalent per year.
      It is more expensive to live in the UK, so you could probably drop that figure a bit. I think most pension payments would cover that sort of expense. But I don’t think the poorest could afford it… Which is why the US government is now making life so hard for those people who have no ‘options,’ and must ride along a wave of instability on a tide that is increasingly becoming unstable.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Cool. I’d like a simpler lifestyle, and I’d really like to be off-grid. The money-grabbing utilities companies appal me. Luckily I know about wood-burners, solar power, wind energy, and water power on a small scale ~ and I can design, build, repair and refurbish just about anything. I wonder if I can tempt Jill to join me?
        Your boat sounds utterly brilliant. 😉 ❤

        Liked by 2 people

          • I found it … saw the boat and love it! You guys are so resourceful … what an idyllic life you live … I am jealous!
            You are more patient than I … I would have dragged my husband out of that lounge by the hair on his head, I think! 😀
            One thing I did not find was either a “like” button or a place to comment. So, I am telling you here that I like it and thoroughly enjoyed reading of your life and various escapades! Thanks!

            Liked by 1 person

            • I might change the template…I looked at the site on my husband’s laptop (and the layout is completely different to the phone). The comment link is in a place that is difficult to see and that has to open a new window before the like button can be found, so perhaps a different template will fix it.
              Oh, yes, life with my husband is never dull…I have been in more ‘scrapes’ with him in the last 12 years than during any misspent youth! I could write a book about them all! But that will be a ‘shocker’ and perhaps best left until I’m really old 😋
              Thanks so much for the approval, it means a lot, because I am not a writer in any kind of professional sense. 💕

              Liked by 1 person

              • Yes, another template may solve the issues. Let me know if you need help.
                As for being a writer … I used to feel the same as you, but … somewhere along the line I realized that I AM a writer. I may not be a published author, may not write for large publications (I do write for a couple of small online publicatinos on occasion), but I am writing, people are reading, so I am a writer! And so are you … you write quite well, actually!

                Liked by 1 person

            • PS…my husband doesn’t have any hair on his head to drag him with…but I was tempted to pull him up by the scruff of his neck.😄 But equally, he had been the instigator behind so many almost missed flights that I decided he needed to learn a harsher lesson.

              We almost missed a cruise ship sailing time once too….that wasn’t entirely his fault, but after I had run to the ship while he dropped off a car rental, he had strolled leisurely down the keyside to a ship full of jeering passengers. I had made a complete scene for at least five minutes, refusing to get aboard until he arrived. Even the captain got involved as I wouldn’t let the crew stow the gang plank. We (he) made the ship leave port nearly 15 minutes late! When we both finally boarded, we were applauded by nearly everyone on deck. Our dinner mates that night told us that everyone knew we were missing as they had announced our names three times over the tannoy! 😂

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      • The more I hear about your life on the boat, and your travels, the more fascinated I am, Colette! It sounds so liberating, so peaceful … that is how life should be! I am jealous! Perhaps I shall go live in a cabin in the woods with Jack after all! (By the way … Jack lives in the UK also)
        Just curious, but what made you and your husband make the decision 12 years ago to sell the house and live on the boat? Not trying to be nosy 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

        • It was really a feeling by my new husband (gut instinct) that made him realise that the financial world was about to collapse. He felt this back in 2004 long before the real collapse in 2008. He had a mortgage and heavy expenses on the house. As a financial adviser ( back then), he decided to regroup, selling his business and the house. He paid off all the debts. What was left was combined with my few savings and we bought the boat for a much simpler but more experiential life.

          Liked by 1 person

          • That is amazing and awesome! Thumbs-up to you both. The older I get, the more I realize that genuine contentment is found in simplicity … nature and quiet appeal to me these days much more than “stuff”.

            Liked by 1 person

  2. Unbelievable.
    I recall a person once a friend (subsumed into the Tea Party) having a rant at the ‘Inconvenient Truth’ dvd, because it was all a put-up job and you had to ‘Follow the Money’; 8 years on and I’m still trying to figure out the logic that creates a scenario where Big Business finances an ‘Inaccurate Film’ warning of the dangerous of environmental damage.

    Liked by 2 people

    • What I have learned, my friend, is it is an exercise in futility to try to understand the ‘logic’ behind such statements, for there is none. If we try to think about it too hard, our brains just turn to mush, so best to just back away from such people slowly (never, ever turn your back on them), with a look of wide-eyed horror, all the while holding out both hands to form an X. Then go home, have a nice relaxing cup o’ tea and turn your thoughts back to your book! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Also, think about one of Trump’s most environmentally unproductive commodities; building golf courses where only the “select few” can enjoy the trees. Very symbolic of his disconcert for this issue.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Dear Jill,
    I have blogged on this net metering business in the past. It got my blood boiling then and it gets me going again. The story was about the Oklahoma Governor vetoing a bill that the utility companies had wanted. She did what was best for her state and peoples. It looks like a lot of these states penalizing folks for going solar are run by men who don’t give a hoot about doing what is right and best for the people they serve.
    Hugs, Gronda

    Liked by 2 people

    • This bears watching and shining a light on! But … interestingly I received comments from readers in both the UK and Australia who have said the same thing is happening in those countries! That surprised me, as I thought it was primarily here in the U.S., but apparently not. Very maddening, the roadblocks they are throwing in the path of those who are simply trying to save our planet!
      Hugs!!!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Same thing is starting to happen in UK. Our Government has rolled back the subsidies and there is now talk of taxing solar…
    While some early adopters of solar panels can still sell energy back to the grid, it is at a much lower rate than before, and new installations no longer receive any cash back. Excess electricity generation goes back into the grid, but nothing is paid by energy companies.

    I have 6 100-watt panels on our narrow boat which operate with domestic gel batteries to store the power. We can operate most small electric appliances, computers, TV, without ever connecting to the grid. I can also run my washing machine, but on cold cycle only so I usually wait until our engine has generated some hot water (about 10 minutes) and pour it into my washing machine for the wash part.

    While we are not completely self-sufficient, but we are getting close to it, and that is a scary prospect for governments. When people no longer require the infrastructure provided by large mega companies and governments, those institutions begin to crumble. So they are running scared right now!

    Liked by 3 people

    • And here I thought it was only in the U.S.! I heard almost the exact same from a reader in Australia. I must say, I am becoming envious of your lifestyle … you guys are living life as it was meant to be lived, not constantly allowing your contentment to be defined by how many material ‘things’ you can buy! Two thumbs up to you, and I love the idea of being almost completely self-sufficient in terms of energy.

      Yes, obviously government and big business, particularly the fossil fuel industry, are threatened by the swing toward renewable, cleaner energy, as they should be! We are talking about more important things than how many digits politicians and CEOs can put in their investment portfolios … we are talking about the lives of every single living thing on the planet. What part of that do they not get? If the leaders and politicos support renewable energy production and try to help people transition from fossil fuels, help those whose jobs are displaced be trained for different jobs, they could be heroes. Instead they prefer to undermine all efforts for their own greed. 😦

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Jill, Hugh and I have been discussing for a couple of years how solar energy scares the crap of utilities. The net metering is an attempt to rectify this fear and pay less for the electricity they buy. As battery power improves, people can get off the grid altogether,

    To make you more mad, in NC, a legislator is proposing a delay of 18 months a wind farm near a military base, which has already been blessed by the military after compromises have been reached. His reason is the military may have to shut a base. The county was looking forward to $850,000 of tax revenue. Again, the military is find with this. Fossil fuel money has lined a lot of pockets and still does.

    Yet, with all of this going on the train still is moving forward. Keith

    Liked by 3 people

    • Yes, that does make me even more mad! What is the purpose of the delay … have they given one? And yes, I know that the train is still moving forward, but they keep throwing debris on the tracks, and my fear is that one such episode may yet de-rail the train! Sigh.

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      • Jill, they said the base might close. Here is the rest of the story as Gronda likes to say. The wind energy developer worked with the Dept. of Defense adjusting their plans at their request. Now this from a state senator.

        But, here is the bigger context. The US Dept. of Defense says doing little about climate change is a threat to national security because the impact is felt by the impoverished nations and bases along the coast are at risk. Keep highlighting these roadblocks as these legislators will bend over backwards for these sources of money to keep their way of life going. When I hear a legislator say we are not in the business of picking winners and losers, that is news to the funders who want them to do precisely that.

        Keith

        Liked by 1 person

        • Thanks Keith! What a mess … this should be, in my humble opinion, a no-brainer. Just do the right thing, for Pete’s sake! The deniers, I suspect, truly do believe the scientists but to act would interfere with their own agenda, with their own cushy lifestyles.

          Liked by 1 person

  7. I share your anger. When I had my rooftop solar installed a few years back, I was under the illusion that a) it would pay for itself in ten years and b) that it would reduce how much I spend on electricity. Less than two years after the installation, the government reduced the pay-in tariff to 28c per kwh. That meant that any energy I sent back into the grid would be earning less that what the energy companies were charging me. Now, that rate has gone down to about 6c per kwh. Coincidentally, the electricity and natural gas charges continue to rise and much of Australia faces power restrictions this coming summer because of the inept policies of this conservative government.
    One of our states is taking things into its own hands by commissioning the largest storage battery in the world from Tesla. Elon Musk has guaranteed that it will be in place before summer [roughly Christmas time here] or it’s free. I just hope that my own state bites the bullet and does something drastic as well because the federal government is run by a pack of @#$%*() bastards. -cough-

    Liked by 3 people

    • That’s terrible! It is encouraging that one state is doing something positive, but more states need to jump on that bandwagon … and quickly! Here, California is the most environmentally conscious state, and I believe they will refuse to bend to the pressure. I may do a follow up to this post … if I do, would you mind if I asked you some questions as part of my research? Hang in, my friend … know that what you are doing, while not the outcome you expected and hoped, you are doing something positive for our planet.

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        • Thanks, my friend! The more I read, the more research I do, the more people I talk to … the more discouraged I get. I wish I had a magic wand and could wake people up to see what governments and industry giants are doing to our planet … our home. And the people who care enough to try to make a difference, like you and countless others, are being penalized for their efforts. As Keith reminds me, the train is still moving forward. But, as I remind him … the enemies are throwing debris on the tracks in hopes of de-railing the train. Sigh. Hugs!!!

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  8. This is one [resident on whom you can rely for bad news. It’s always bad. Where looking after the planet is concerned you’d swear none of these people have any children or grandchildren as they certainly don’t care enough to ensure a future for them.
    xxx Cwtch Mawr xxx

    Liked by 3 people

    • That was my thought, too … of course we already know that Trump cares not a whit for his children or grandchildren, but only himself. However, the others seem to be more family men, and yet …. I wonder if they are of the uber-Christian sort who believe that regardless of what they do, God will fix it for them? I had a friend like that once … never took responsibility for anything, like getting a job … just always said “I’m leaving it in God’s hands”. Last I heard she was in prison.
      xxx Cwtch Mawr xxx

      Liked by 2 people

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