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Radically Inept
Friday, August 13, 2004
  Simultaneously INCREASING Security and SCREWING the Cheneys of the world

Okay, while I'm still slacking on the blogging, I did remember this piece that I wrote, oh, probably about five years ago. Shortly after the last major hurricane hit Florida at Homestead Air Force Base. I think the style is a little chintzy, but I think some of the ideas are good, and probably get more worthwhile each year. If you really wanted to do something to protect the citizens, I think this would do a hell of a lot more than what I hear coming out of our government. Especially the Department of The Fatherland+The Motherland Security, which seems to be doing little to nothing of real consequence, but trying to scare people into re-electing the Fuhrer.

I wrote it for Georgia to consider, and was naturally ignored, but I think it's applicable world wide.

Anyway, I offer it up as a sacrificial offering to the gods of disaster (and maybe your reading enjoyment).


Solar Power for Security; for Disaster Relief; for the MONEY

This proposal is for the creation of a Dispersed Independent Multi-Nodal Emergency Energy Grid (DIMNEEG) by outfitting public schools with solar power and storage capacity.

The DIMNEEG’s purpose is to:
1) Improve the Security of the National Energy Supply (and, due to its energy requirements –the communication system)
2) Increase the functional capacity and utility of public school buildings in their traditional role in Emergency and/or Disaster Relief Operations
3) Reap the economic benefits of positioning Georgia as the “Silicon Valley” of an Emerging Technological Industry in the Global Marketplace.


DIMNEEG would primarily be controlled at the local (school district or possibly neighborhood level), and through a “smart” matrix positively impact state and national energy security, as well as disaster relief capability. Additionally, it focuses on exporting solar technology to the global market place, and profit as economical incentives for solar power.

Several arguments support schools as the repository for solar power capacity (though solid arguments can be made for many public buildings i.e., libraries, hospitals, fire and police stations). Public schools are by design allocated in proportion (by size and number) to the local population they support. In general, public school roofs are relatively large expanses of structurally sound, flat or otherwise usable surface areas that shield users from the elements. However, envision a vast underutilized source of energy that could be controlled and distributed on a community/neighborhood level. A portion of this energy could be used to provide ‘free’ energy to other local institutions or concerns, and would be less vulnerable to interruptions in times of emergency. Public schools are 'locally controlled' which could be used to build broad local support. Politically - opposition lobbies must convince the families of Georgia that costs to implement the system out weigh the increased security, safety, and utility of the very schools where their children spend so much of their time. The number of federal emergencies and federal and state declared ‘disaster areas’ has risen in recent years. Regardless of whether this is actually an increase in disasters, or just politically motivated stances, they have done the marketing for the issue.

Moreover, there is in recent years a tradition of solar power in public schools. Form Vermont and New Hampshire to Florida and Texas, Chicago and California to Hawaii and England, successful programs to put solar power in the schools are up and running. Florida’s SolMates Foundation cite studies showing “informed electric utility customers would give $17 a year (1991 study) or $21 a year (1994 study” to the program to found solar power for schools. The foundation also cites financial success in two case studies. Utilities would inherently receive the benefits during summer peak energy draws of the primarily vacant schools of ready electricity to distribute to customers, Roy Johannesen and Sia Kanelloppoulos, “Solar for Schools: An Inherently Cost-Effective Demand Side Management Strategy”.

Local communities could fund part or all of the system if necessary, through locally enacted taxes. However, Department of Energy’s Smart Schools Program already is already source set up precisely to fund this type of initiative. Georgia LOTTO monies already earmarked for school construction should include provisions to provide for solar power capacity in all new public school construction, and existing schools to be outfitted with solar energy capacity at times of renovation. Education is a topical issue at present and federal funding programs for public school construction, including Internet capacity already exist. The high roads of state security and public safety have historically been politically safe policy positions and wonderful sources of funding. The national highway system is an excellent example of defense funds supporting infrastructure improvements, with positive social and economic consequences. In addition, it would save money in case of natural disaster and funding through FEMA relief programs could be explored.

Security of the State and Federal Energy Supply:
The power supply and the energy dependent communication system are vital to the state/federal government’s ability to meet its responsibility its constituents. The people’s safety and security, as well as a viable and stable economy depend on the reliability of these systems. An extended power outage, whether natural or manmade, would have a huge impact on the national economy, the global market, and the Georgia's ability to maintain the health and welfare of its citizens. Currently, Georgia’s and the nation’s energy supply is dependent for energy on a very limited and highly vulnerable delivery system. This ability to disrupt the energy supply with a few well-placed strikes, is dangerously public knowledge. With Georgia’s growing international reputation, and our nation’s international entanglements, our power supply becomes an obvious target for terrorists, domestic and international, as well as by the ‘severely disgruntled’. Solar power has its limits. Solar energy is not able to generate the kilowatts at this time to replace coal, hydro or nuclear power for total usage. The technology is just beginning to achieve the efficiency on a cost basis to compete in the open market place. Solar power is, however, a viable power source to maintain the functions of government, and limited economic/communication needs of the market place for interim periods until reparation can be made to our standard delivery systems.
State and Federal Emergency and/or Disaster Relief Operations:
Schools, traditionally a first choice for sheltering disaster victims, are used more and more in this capacity. By building the DIMNEEG utilizing public schools, the contribution, the utility, and capacity of the public school to provide vital shelter to citizens dislocated during extended emergencies. Solar power could be used to better provide basic life saving necessities until relief operations can be completed or the emergency abates including:
• sanitation facilities
• warmth during winter storms or air conditioning during summer heat waves
• purify drinking water
• maintain critical communications with the outside world

Future State and National Economic Growth through Emerging Technological Industry:
The opportunity to sell high-tech solar capacity will go to those, that ‘do it firstest, with the mostest’. Georgia could position it self to be the leader in solar energy technology exporting, if we take an aggressive approach now! By creating a domestic market place for solar power, this technology would receive the capital needed for further research to improve efficiency in solar power conversion and storage capacity. The potential economic fallout could well rival the information industry. China, Russia, and much of the Third World must build an energy infrastructure to vast and often remote regions. Solar energy, provided (controlled) by government buildings using a “smart grid”, could well be an economical (political) way to sell our technology. In China, tests using solar energy in remote areas are already on going. China, is the market of the future; the rest of the Second and Third world are a close rival. It could also lessen the competition with these emerging nations for limited non-renewable resources. Moreover, if we provide the technology, it could help maintain our leadership in the global marketplace.

Global Impact:
As the Second and Third World countries develop their infrastructures, solar power can reduce their need for and dependency on non-renewable, and often environmentally damaging energy sources. As the majority of the world’s population comes of age in this century, a smarter ‘greener’ development based on solar power could save much of the unique ecological communities that reside within their borders.
Political Strategy:

National Security and Disaster Relief are two solid political positions at anytime, but oil prices are up now. The presidential campaign, with its extensive press coverage is now. The coalition possibilities are staggering: environmental NGO’s, neighborhood organizations, the military (already in active research on solar energy uses), the solar energy industry (just coming out of infancy), Disaster relief agencies (FEMA, the Red Cross, etc.), and a large population who would love free energy, and a technological revolution that will demand it.
Conclusion:
This solar power policy complies with the basic tenets of adaptive management of ecological systems. It is the kind of policy that will look good for Georgia (think re-election) at the next meeting of the National Governors Association. It is scalar over time and geographically, starting with the neighborhood/ village levels (grass roots politics) grow into an *integrated, multi-nodal renewable energy grid at the regional, state, onto national and global scales. Further, the impact of clean renewable point energy sources on very diverse local ecologies can be monitored, studied, and adjusted as it grows to have regional and global influence (market growth). At the global scale, it would minimize the need to harm/destroy local ecological systems to support a modern technological society. Moreover, DIMNEEG may actually reduce the damage we have already done. Further, it is community based, possibly down to the neighborhood/village level. It is democratic in trying to unite diverse interests in common cause (self-preservation) and avoiding the existing economic and environmental conflicts that has prevented large-scale implementation of solar power. It requires local involvement on issues such as the distribution of energy not used in the operation of the schools i.e., how much energy to allocate to emergency storage vs. operations of other public interests/buildings. Since the system will be studied as it grows, its ecological impact can be monitored, and adjustments made as it progresses to regional and then global implementation. It provides the ideal “safe- fail system” (cite) experiment.
Actually, I read something somewhere a while back (you truly can't give a more vague cite than that one), that controlling a town's, city's, state's or nation's energy supply is the ultimate source of power (pun intended). So that if communities would come together and invest in community controlled renewable energy production, the major energy companies would no longer be able to control us. They screw us, the taxpayers, utility payers and vehicle drivers daily, and with vigor. Why else are the profits for all the energy companies at record highs, while our pay checks remain stagnant or worse, dropping. I would advocate that each community come together and invest in their own wind farm, solar, if lucky enough - geo-thermal, whatever. Why let the major corporations come in and do this? All they do is charge youfor energy that they get for relatively free after their initial investment. You could argue that your community can't afford the initial investment, and in many cases that's probably true. But you could pressure congress into scrapping the current energy corporate welfare bill (written by Cheney and cronies, and direct those same federal (yours) dollars to your community, so that you could save billions over the coming years, and quit being at the mercy of the criminals like Cheney and cronies. Fuck 'em where it counts - their purses. Their pussies and assholes are for sale, you have to go for the purse.

 
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