Thursday, September 05, 2013

Go Solar or The Planet Will Explode

Anthony Gattullo warns solar is expensive
In the years leading up to the Great Depression, people living in the Great Plains were told by experts that the best way to insure rain was to till more of the barren soil. It instead insured The Dust Bowl. More experts paraded into town, promising to send cloudbusters into the sky ... for a price. The result was more dust. Now the latest expert is here in the Lehigh Valley, with a very sobering message. Apparently, we've got about ten years max to change our evil ways ... or else.

This 21st Century rainmaker is Community Energy's Joel Thomas, who spoke to a crowd of about fifteen people, most of them Lehigh students, at the Bethlehem Public Library on September 4. Mixed in with this mostly student crowd were about four members of Thomas' own company.

Community Energy boasts about 80,000 customers in the Northeast, and is now expanding into the Lehigh Valley

After a power point presentation that included scary pictures of Hurricane Sandy and graphs showing that the planet is about to explode, Thomas explained that a big part of the problem is those dirty fossil fuel power plants. He then produced an ugly picture of one of them, which he rides by on his bicycle twice a week.

"They make me sad," Thomas said. He added that he's also losing sleep over our coral reefs.

The only way to reverse this dire situation, according to Thomas, is to switch to his energy company. It's based solely on solar power. It will cost a little more than a fossil fuel tab, but there will be no emissions. The company already has a solar plant on a preserved farm in Lancaster County, which generates enough power for 4,000 homes. His company's goal is to have 20% of Pennsylvania's power generated through solar power.

"Instead of putting profits into our pockets, we'll put them into more renewables," Thomas pledged.

"So you're a nonprofit?"

"No," he answered, as a member of his company burst out in laughter.

The company is privately held, too.

One of the few actual homeowners who attended the presentation is Bethlehem resident Anthony Gattullo. He told Thomas that converting his home to solar power would cost him $37,000. Thomas said that price has dropped in recent years, and added his company sometimes lends the upfront costs.

After filling the library to capacity with carbon emissions, Thomas and his co-workers, along with a few climate control activists, adjourned to enjoy carrots, celery and cakes from Vegan Treats. He invited everyone to join him at he Wooden Match, where he would presumably be emitting carbon. .

He closed by saying that the fossil power companies like PPL are neither bad nor good, but just are.

Updated 9:45 AM: Paul Muschick's informative "Watchdog" column is warning readers about a practice among electric power salesmen known as "slamming", in which people are signed up as customers without their agreement.


Anonymous said...

Solar is a scam. Directional drilling for oil and gas is the key to energy independence and a better PA economy. PA's fracking boom has already collapsed the domestic gas price. We pay less than a third of the global price for natural gas. Turnpike and PennDOT fleets are testing natural gas trucks and filling stations are being placed throughout PA. We're the new energy leader in the US. Our young men and women can drive a water truck for $100,000 instead of being dismembered by an IED in Kabul .... or Syria.

Anonymous said...

Last week's horrific Dietz and Watson fire in New Jersey was hampered by the solar panels on the rooftop, the fire chief stated in a news article. How to secure these panels and yet provide ample fire fighting room for our brave men and women is now a critical issue in this ongoing debate.

TT said...

6:57, Fossil Fuel is an outdated technology. One that is extremely inefficient and costly to our health in terms of pollution, and also environmental degradation. It's time to embrace a new form of energy, whatever that may be. However, these new energies will remain costly due to a number of different obstacles such as government subsidization of fossil fuels and the extremely powerful oil company's, their lobbyists, a corrupt congress, and their well paid marketing staff.

The future needs to be now, unfortunately, people like you are holding us back. Let's hope you get out of the way soon.

Jean-Luc Picard said...

Once plasma drives and anti-matter cores are developed you won't be needing these obsolete forms of energy.

Make it, so.

Solyndra said...

Solar is a sound investment.

Anonymous said...

no one ever takes into account the energy and pollution required to manufacture solar panels.

Anonymous said...

Its funny to read those who think fossil fuels are old technology. Last time I looked, it was very current technology. Solar scams have cost billions and have delivered almost nothing; same with wind. Old ain't old until it's viably replaced. All government attempts at kick starting alternative sources have not produced anything remotely viable. Wanna buy a GM Volt? Directional drilling is a safe alternative to bridge us into the future, which is now.

Anonymous said...

Electricity for 4000 homes? What about at night?