Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Homework assignment for the new City Council

There has to be at least one issue out there that could possibly bring this community together, as fractured as it seems to be at times. It has been my plan to speak to the city in regards to issues surrounding renewable sources of energy... mainly solar and wind powered sources.

I mean... if you are in Kingman right now... look outside and notice the sunshine and the very breezy conditions. I've lived here for a number of years now and I find the current view very typical.

Honestly, I'm tired of the tree hugging zealots probably as much as the next person. The Al Gore's of the world are idiots and more importantly... hypocrites. I'm not sure I buy the notion that somehow this planet that has been around for 4.5 billion years (give or take a few million years) is suddenly threatened by our mere human existence because we drive some cars around. Sure, I've just oversimplified a tad, but as a South Park Conservative I get very cynical when it comes to media driven panics and manias about things. It is difficult to escape the onslaught... I even see articles about the so called effects of so called Global Warming on TV stations dedicated to sports... just give me highlights and box scores of the game dammit!!

However, even with this poor attitude of mine... some things simply make sense. It has been proven that electricity can be produced by sunshine and wind... and golly Martha... it sure is sunny and windy here in these here parts.

This also means that it gets fairly HOT in months like May, June, July, August, and September. Sure it can also be hot in other months as well... but in the months I listed, I often find myself turning on the air conditioner that was included in the purchase of my home. I hear that AC's are a burden on the power supply in the summer months and, honestly, that makes sense. That unit runs at all times of the day... well at least the moments I am in the home.

In my world... the only thing that suffers is my checkbook when I have to write larger amounts on the checks to the utility company in these often hot summer months. I'd rather write the smaller amounts I typically do in the more cooler months.

I suppose that I could just install one of these new personal use wind power generators in my yard... uhh... actually I can't in Kingman. You see, I have a decent sized lot upon which my home sits. Plenty enough room for me and my wife... however not large enough to allow me to utilize the one thing Kingman has plenty of... wind... to help with my electricity needs.

So this would be homework assignment number one for the new council elected to look out for the 'regular' folks here in these parts. Please look into the zoning restrictions and ordinances to prohibit a regular bloke like me to install one of these wind powered units on our property if we so choose to. While I have a lot nearly 8800 square feet in size... I'd be please if there was an allowance for half an acre minimum at first if this is too scary of a change, but only if there was some sort of promise to include smaller lot sizes as 30' to 40' foot windmills proved to be reasonably safe for surrounding neighbors and property.

That takes of the windy side of things.

I'm under the impression that there isn't anything stopping me from putting up some solar panels on my rooftop, in terms of city ordinances at least. I hope I'm right on this one, but I haven't checked. However there is one thing that is stopping me from doing so at this time... the expense... the up front expense (if you haven't noticed the real estate biz has been a touch slow for the last couple of years so I'm kinda broke when it comes to taking on large expenses at the moment). Solar panels worth a darn seem to cost in the $10,000 to $20,000 range (I read such things on this here Internet anyway).

Kinda pricey. While I wouldn't ask anyone to purchase such a system for my home -- especially the government, I have been made aware of a program that has been approved in Berkeley California (of all tree hugging places).

I'm not going to go into too much depth on what the folks up there are doing... instead I'm going to link four items below for you to read and react to. From what I have read it seems that the program that received authorization from the Berkeley City Council is about to begin. It may be a model that can be copied, or improved upon, or tweaked in some other fashion that could benefit the residents of Kingman. Heck... it could even lead to a revenue source for the city.

Here are the links...

Berkeley Offers Residents Unique Financing Option for Solar Power

Berkeley To Finance Solar Installations

City Council Unanimously Approves Solar Financing District

Berkeley Breakthrough on Financing Solar Energy

In the above reading material, I tried to be fair and included some of the criticisms that this plan is/was faced with... but the information above is a good start.

Anyway, it is the new Council's homework assignment.

If the readers here happen to favor 'green' energy a bit and see the favorable implications moving towards this kind of energy would have... please drop an email to the new Council letting them know... or better yet -- let them know how you feel at an upcoming Council meeting in person during the call to the public.

There will be a presentation made tonight in front of the city Planning and Zoning Commission on parts of this subject matter, FYI.

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