Friday, August 17, 2007

Progressives for Less Power to the People

The progressive movement has convinced themselves that abundant energy is a bad thing. This view is wrong but it has given rise to well financed opposition to all North American energy infrastructure. Vikki Kratz writing for The Isthmus covers the ongoing local controversy over improving and expanding the electric infrastructure in Dane County. American Transmission Company is investing in the belief that people will continue to want electricity to keep their websites running.

They've got the power: The private, for-profit company has proposed spending $3.1 billion on power lines in Wisconsin over the next 10 years. ATC bullies citizens who object to its projects, while courting people in power, giving campaign contributions to politicians and huge sums to environmental groups. The company also spends hundreds of thousands of dollars on advertising, touting its mission to "keep the lights on.”

And ATC has been enormously successful. So far, not a single one of its more than 30 proposed projects has been rejected by Wisconsin's Public Service Commission.

This is not to say that environmentalists don’t have an energy policy. They do and in its purest form it is simply USE LESS. Here is a Madison, Wisconsin example of how this policy is pursued.

Free Lightbulbs: Here's an opportunity to take action on global warming while providing a community service - free efficient lighting. We'll head out and about the Greenbush and Vilas neighborhoods with compact fluorescent light bulbs and information on energy efficiency and global warming. We have 1,000 bulbs to hand out. Over their lifetimes, they can save more than 450,000 pounds of global warming pollution and prevent more than 210,000 pounds of coal from being burned! (Not to mention, potentially saving our neighbors a total of $30,000 in energy costs) And we'll give folks coupons for more light bulbs and information on how to cut global warming pollution even more.

This episode of Think Globally, Act Locally is courtesy of Renew Wisconsin with support from the Madison Peak Oil Group. What type of people spend their adult lives in fear of a well lit energetic human planet? Ed Blume gives us some insight.

Interview with Ed Blume: When we first began to meet, we all felt that we needed a mission statement with goals and objectives. You know, like a real organization. We got over that pretty quickly, so we didn’t discuss our mission more than a couple of hours in our first couple of monthly meetings. We’ve become comfortable being a loosely knit group dedicated to educating the public and policymakers about the coming end of cheap oil.

I bike to and from work every day of the year except for when the streets are snow packed and slippery, so I burn some nervous energy biking back to home. A few years ago, I began practicing Kundalini yoga once or twice a week, and I feel calmer and more energetic at the same time after a yoga session.

I will not be surprised when the environmentalists start calling for rural de-electrification.