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Three Forces Fighting Local Renewable Energy and Three Ways to Fight Back


Three Forces Fighting Local Renewable Energy and Three Ways to Fight Back

John Farrell

If you’re reading energy news of late, you might have come across three new ways that forces are aligning against local renewable energy. State governments are increasingly pre-empting local authority on a range of issues, including energy. Utility companies are undercutting state regulation with their legislative lobbyists. And utilities are also bringing their monopoly market power to bear in previously competitive markets.

We’ll detail examples of each of these three disturbing trends, and ways to fight back.

State Preemption


Why should investor-owned power companies be allowed to exist?

Once it might have been arguable that private companies be given monopolies and a guaranteed rate of return in exchange for government “oversight.” But that was when it didn’t seem to matter how much energy people used.

Today, with climate change, not to mention the environmentally destructive methods of extracting fossil fuels, the whole effort should be to REDUCE energy use.

But if the utility is private, then the system has to be contorted to work: they make money by selling power, so they must be induced to offer incentives to their customers to reduce energy. It’s looking glass logic.

If the utility is public, then its primary role is to serve the public, not make a profit. And since the public owns the utility, it gains if less energy is used.

They way to deal with these horrendous private utilities is to eradicate them.


I would have thought that one of those three forces should be the NIMBYists who vehemently fight wind and sometimes even solar development - even coming up with mythical illnesses that wind turbines cause.


NIMBYs are indeed a problem in the renewable energy field.

A friend who has a farm near lake Michigan in Wisconsin faced NIMBY complainers who told the hearing facilitator they they would rather see a nuclear power plant built than wind turbines installed, therefore the applicant was denied a permit.

Although public power is usually more reliable than investor owned power, few states have regulations that keep public power operators from undermining renewable power development. Public Utility Districts (PUDs) in Washington State are each run by three elected commissioners who are hard to unseat and have free reign to determine rate structures and other renewable incentives and disincentives. While investor owned utilities are required to get state approval for rate structures, incentives and disincentives, PUDs are not and every one of them continues to discourage renewables other than hydropower.


And is it not the Koch Bros and the Walton family who are behind stopping solar power in Arizona and probably all of these states?


There is big money not only in power companies, and oil, but also in wind power and solar. ALL technology has safety problems, and as a general rule, ALL companies using new technology seem to overlook the issues of safety. As a mechanical engineering major at a good school I saw beaucoup courses on technologically fancy stuff, but not one on safety. At a chemical company one summer, I was aghast at the dangerous safety violations in every area.

Solar energy is taken from the sun in a highly erratic wave that includes all frquencies and power levels, not like the orderly signal that comes from power lines. It requires FILTERS to eliminate the frequencies that are harmful. Hey, but filters are expensive! .See? If you read any old book on how to wire a house, you will see a huge number of mentions about what NOT to do because it causes health problems. But doctors are forbidden from calling anyone sick with electrical sicknesses short of electrocution in most states. Why?

Wind turbines cause acoustic problems. Every material has a natural resonance frequency. When these frequencies match the frequncies for flesh, that is a big problem. Muscles can be ping-ed just like guitar strings fibrating at their resonant frequency according to their length and thickness.
Canada is a bit ahead of the US in recognizing and dealing with some of these issues.




I’ve designed and installed stand alone and micro grid systems. Generation occurs during the day with power output a function of incident light, cell temp, and operating point. We put storage into the system - like batteries, pumped water, heated pcm, or the like, to ensure capacity to meet demand. Power controllers and inverters are used to condition what is distributed. In some cases, multiple sources of generation are included in a system to stabilize the generation profile.

I don’t know what you mean by 'frequency ’ problems and ‘filters’. Would you mind clarifying.


www.createhealthyhomes.com is one site that talks about frequencies problems in solar energy. It is fixable. It is not going to affect everyone equally, like most environmental issues.
There will be people who deny the problem as trivial or nonexistent. It reminds me of my father, whose asthma was denied as a child, and my grandmother, whose body complaints were ignored by doctors until she had cancer all over her body.


With all your equipment, you must have an oscilloscope. Have you looked at the signal going through the wires of solar homes? At some point, the systems will include filters or design their way out of the problem. If the signal is similar to what comes in from the grid, then no problem.


Helen, I’ve tested off the shelf solar panels and panels fabricated from parts by folk in developing countries. I researched and written in peer review journals and jist did a quick check, again, on science direct. Unless you mean a frequency of 1 oscillation per day, I have not seen any such oscillations and none have been reported by peer reviewed researchers.


Helen, your reference confirms that solar panels do not produce high frequency oscillations. Oscillations associated the PV systems are associated with inverters. The developed world uses AC power with a frequency of 50 Hz in parts of Europe and 60 Hz in the US. Such frequencies, and their harmonics, will persist, irrespective of source, unless the developed world goes to DC .


Ok thanks for the correction.