Tuesday, March 10, 2015

power news...

Back side Postcard on Edge
Some of my readers may be interested in the power grid and how we address our energy future as a nation, but also as individuals within small communities. There are two views on the table. The large corporations like American Electric Power have become effective at rate mining through Public Service Commissions. That is, they make investments with guaranteed rates of return in excess of 12%. The CEO of AEP has bragged about their effectiveness at getting Public Service Commissions to routinely raise rates, which then increases the rate of return on all their investments, even those that had been fully depreciated decades ago.

Companies like AEP are very protective of their profit margins, and are threatened by the new model of distributed solar in which roof top solar panels and small community solar gardens, skim the profits off their bottom line. They are fighting in state legislatures all across the US to stop the growth of solar. So the choice we face is power in the hands of people and communities, or in the hands of corporations.

In my own life, and after having faced down SWEPCO/AEP and the Southwest Power Pool over the 345 kV Shipe Road to Kings River power line that threatened my own property, I have become convinced that taking power generation into our own hands is the most logical course.

If you are interested in your own energy future, subscribe to Power News. It is published by the director of my own organization Save the Ozarks.

We are facing a showdown here in Arkansas with the Sierra Club. They have adopted the view that a massive extra high voltage power line across the South, and through the middle of Arkansas, (Clean Line) will facilitate the movement toward green energy in the form of wind power from the great plains and have thereby chosen to stand as allies with the major investors, rather than with the people most affected by the decisions made by those corporations.

This is in direct contrast to the basic premise of the environmental movement. Think global, act local. By shifting their dependence from coal plants to distant wind turbines, they leave the traditional power transmission companies still in charge, and shift the environmental costs of managing their own lives to distant sources of supply, thus keeping damages from their own chosen lifestyles out of sight, and out of mind.

There are some things we learn from direct engagement with our hands in the creative processes through which human beings have built lives and culture. Remove the hands from this basic equation, and what we get is an alliance between organizations and corporations that damage the fabric of communities, large and small.

Make, fix and create...

No comments:

Post a Comment