Saturday, March 28, 2009

Power Grab Part 2

I don't know if this can actually be classified as a "power grab" or if I would be more accurate to simply declare it insanity and be done with it. But worldwide, things are going a little bit loopy. 

As crazy as things are getting here, we're still behind Europe in the insanity department. Unfortunately, we're heading the same direction... but we can look to them to see where we will be in the near future. It's kind of like looking at someone else's pictures of their vacation to Siberia right before you go on yours. I can't figure out why we're still planning the trip, but HEY. I guess I'm not in charge. 

Barack Obama, in his recent "town hall meeting," made the following comment:

We could set up systems so that everybody in each house have their own smart meters that, uhh, will tell you when to turn off the lights, when the peak hours are, can help you sell back energy, uh, that you've generated in your home through a solar panel or through, uh, uh, other mechanisms. All this can be done, but it also creates jobs right now. Our biggest problem, we don't have enough electricians to lay all these lines out there.

Oh, really? That's the biggest problem? Huh.

I understand that a smart-meter and a smart-grid can actually be a good thing. I'm not opposed to the idea of using something in my home that will tell me if the kids left on all the lights in the basement. It also doesn't sound too bad to have some sort of energy producing mechanism in my house, saving me money. But all these things cost a lot of money, too. If the federal government decides that everybody in each house has to have this, who is going to pay for it? And if the federal government is going to pay for it, how will they generate the dollars needed to pay for it? I think this is where the cap and trade system comes into play. 

Back in October of 2008, Obama was interviewed on public television on energy and he had this to say:

Number one, we're gonna have to start doing a better job of conserving on energy. Americans like to drive their big SUVs, the like to leave all the lights on in their house... If we want to do something serious about that, it's not going to be painless. We're going to have to cap the emission of greenhouse gases. That means the power plants are going to have to adjust how they generate power. They will pass on those costs to consumers... We will have to guard against the low income and fixed income individual having to pay more for electricity, but a lot of us who can afford it are going to have to pay more per unit of electricity. And that means we're going to have to change our light bulbs, we're gonna have to, you know, shut the lights off in our houses... And I think it is important for us to send some price signals to change behavior. If electricity goes up, people become more mindful of their electricity bill. Over time the electricity bill goes back down as technology catches up.  

So... once again those of us whom Obama deems "can afford it" are going to foot the bill for everyone. Apparently, he's going to have some system in place so that not everybody has to pay a higher energy bill. Just most of us. 

But on to Europe, where the insanity has become more profound. In the UK, councils are sending "energy police" into the suburbs with heat detector vans to take thermal images of homes. The thermal image is then sent to the homeowner to show them where heat is escaping... from leaky doors, windows, walls and lofts. The director of the thermal imaging company, "Heatseekers," has said that there's no way the plan can infringe on privacy rights because "It is purely and simply a heat seeking camera. It can't penetrate brick work and it can't penetrate glass." Whew! I'm certain the Brits were all concerned you were trying to see them naked. 

The UK's Energy and Climate Change Secretary (yes, they have one of those) likes this new approach -- but he says the ultimate solution is in going door to door. "It's been experimented on by a few councils and what we want to see is, can this be taken wider and more nationwide? By going street to street, door to door, people can actually get help." 

Really!! Because up until now, people have been sitting in their homes, wondering from where help would come. I know I have... I've been wondering when the heat seeking van will drive through my neighborhood and tell me what I have to do to my home. Whatever...

But this is where we're headed. An insane waste of money... and further greenhouse gas emissions (c'mon... vans everywhere, traveling through neighborhoods at 10 mph, taking pictures of houses?) so that the government can tell people further how to live their lives. After all, it's for the good of the planet. Right?

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