Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Green Economics, Irma Style

This morning my newspaper reported that $100 million is being spent on a new wind farm not far from here. This wind farm will produce enough electricity to power 9000 homes.

My initial reaction was, "Are you kidding me? One hundred MILLION dollars, and it only services 9000 homes? Who could be that stupid?"

Then, umm, I got out my calculator, and realized that it only comes out to $11,000 per household. Oops. Because, seriously? Eleven thousand sounds like a good deal to me.

Imagine if you could go to your power company, and agree to give them a one time payment of $11,000. And, in return, you would NEVER have to pay for electricity again. Would you sign on?

Of course you would.

And before you get all snotty on me and say, "Stop being an imbecile, it doesn't work like that", let me tell you that I KNOW it doesn't work like that. But it should.

I should, hypothetically, be given the opportunity to buy in to the $100 million plan by giving the cash up front for One Household's Worth of Electricity, and then I should be able to disconnect my meter forever. I don't want to hear about how the power generated by the wind farm I financed will be returned to the grid for the use of all citizens, thereby reducing everyone's dependence on fossil fuels, thereby (cough! cough!) reducing the cost of electricity. I call bullshit. 'Cause, baby? We all know THAT ain't happening.

And please don't tell me that, if I want to disconnect from the grid, I can erect my own windmill. If you really think that, then clearly you have never fought zoning regulations for the right to put up a five foot fence on your property, never mind an 80 foot windmill. Maybe in your neighbourhood that'll fly, but I assure you, not in mine.

Fifteen years ago, there was only one phone company. Then, seemingly overnight, we had choices, and the new competition meant that people could choose whatever lowcost package fit their needs. Same thing with cable TV. Same thing with internet providers.

So why not power? Why not private green corporations, producing electricity for individual citizens?

Would I pay $11,000 --- hell, even $11,000 every ten years -- for my own, guaranteed, 100% renewable, 100% pollution free, source of energy? You bet your ass I would.

And so would you.

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