A campaign was launched in the 70’s to build highly destructive big solar projects on large sections of public lands. These projects would have caused immense ecological destruction and were not acceptable then, as mirror based technology was archaic and didn’t prove its worth. But unfortunately this threat faces us once again. Yesterday’s failure is being called “Big Solar Renaissance” today, and it features hundreds of proposed projects that could destroy millions of acres of public lands. Additionally, as governments allow utility companies to capture private property by exercising eminent domain power, many families may lose their homes. Based on 19th century technology, thousands of miles of unnecessary transmission lines will be added to nation’s antiquated and dangerous power grid. Furthermore, millions of gallons of scarce desert groundwater will be lost every year by each concentrated solar plant to wash thousands of mirrors, and generate steam to turn the turbines.
The Center for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Technologies (CEERT) is a California based organization whose board is comprised mostly of representatives of large energy producers, utility companies and the staff of the Sierra Club, and National Resources Defense Council (NRDC). Thus, a very questionable alliance of environmental organizations, energy corporations and public and private utility companies has been formed.
California’s attempt to reach legislatively mandated, renewable energy goals is being engineered by the California Renewable Energy Transmission Initiative, commonly known as RETI. Representatives from CEERT direct RETI’s Stakeholders Steering Committee. CEERT coordinates energy generators, utility companies, government regulators and environmental organizations to define geographic zones where concentrated solar plants, and transmission lines will be sited. What has indeed occurred is a serious erosion of the checks and balances designed to protect consumers, and our environment.
CEERT’s Big Solar Project Proposal identifies how energy companies plan to handle environmentalists and the press to “greenwash” us into sacrificing the wilderness for investor profit. The proposal was posted on CEERT’s website, and immediately removed after the CEERT forum in Riverside California, on February 29th 2008. At that time, the Alliance for Responsible Energy Policy raised concerns about the lack of check and balances. Incidentally, the press was barred from attending the forum and any of them who did attend were asked to leave after being discovered.
Research confirms no economic or technological argument refutes The Better Way. The only impediments to The Better Way are current National and State Energy policies that are ill conceived and irresponsible. They favor big energy producers, and utility companies at the expense of taxpayers and ratepayers while compromising our environmental protection laws.
Achieving Responsible Energy Policy requires:
- Repealing the failed Energy Policy Act of 2005 that only benefits big energy companies.
- Offering tax credits, rebates, and low-interest loans to home and business owners for installing photovoltaic technologies, and micro wind turbines.
- Passing feed-in-tariff laws requiring utility companies to purchase surplus renewable energy produced locally by home and business owners at market rates.
- Removing restrictions that limit the size of property owner renewable energy systems and consequently discourage excess renewable energy production.
Consider the question: Why aren’t our elected officials working to achieve The Better Way?