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David Cooke

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Energy generation for personal use should be free of control and taxation

This change in the control of power will only come from the individual but it can significantly increase the overall efficiency of the public grid and significantly reduce waste in electricity generation . . . especially from fossil fuels that cost resources simply to burn them. When we burn fossil fuels less than 27% of the energy arrives at the light bulb. When we "produce and use at source" over 90 to 95% of the energy arrives at the light bulb.

Considering exploration, extraction, refining, transporting, burning and disposing there is far more waste than use of these energy sources. Meanwhile solar, wind, hydro, bio and other renewable sources are burdened by the old thinking that all energy must flow through and be controlled by the utilities. Produce and use at source will extend the life and reduce the waste of the limited remaining supply of fossil fuels. Allowing and encouraging personal power generation for personal use can be a major multiplier of overall efficiency.

Meanwhile, utilities PAY excessive Feed in Tariffs to "encourage" wind and solar development as long as they stay within their control and they make no distinction between personal or commercial uses. Incentives are important on large scale commercial applications that require major investments, but supporting renewables would be of far greater value if they were smaller and subsidized personal ownership of renewable generating equipment rather than the energy they produce.

New thinking about the right to personal energy and a change from the status quo in energy generation systems control is needed.


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    Feb 20 2012: I'm not talking about the technology so much as the will to assert control over generation. The grid is mostly controlled by governments, certainly here in Canada it is mostly provincial governments. . . taxpayers "own" the resources but if we don't change something about connection rights and control over distribution we will always be "managed" by utilities rather than control your own personal energy . . . this makes the whole commercial process of energy generation way less efficient for everyone and far more costly in taxes and services than it needs to be.

    The technology is available and affordable . . what we can't afford is to let utilities and governments control personal generation and decide who pays who . . and for what. . . .Personal energy generation/collection/conversion/storage and use is no business of anyone but the person themselves. If we want an efficient use of collective resources and lower costs we need to segregate and protect this personal RIGHT.
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      Feb 21 2012: Through what processes? Politics and protest? Or business strategy? The only effective solution I can come up with is spreading knowledge about the different kinds of technology one can build with little effort to get one off the grid. And the tech exists. The best choices we can make to protect our rights is to do it ourselves.

      We can take this reasoning a step further and apply it to nearly every government-regulated or business-regulated process. The solution to the problem is more important then the bravado which is used to tackle the problem.
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      Feb 22 2012: Though I do think everyone should have means of generating some of their own energy, getting off the grid is not entirely the solution. The concept of the grid needs to be re-thought. The grid needs to be understood as a system for the exchange and sharing of energy not a means of distributing energy from a central source. If the grid could be owned and managed by the people that directly benefit from it then their would be a lot more motivation to move towards a greater diversity in sustainable energy sources. It is in the very benefit of the people who regulate our energy to ensure it remains a commodity, it is the shift of energy to an ubiquitous good that would drive away centralized control, and this is what they fear most. Therefore Communities must fight to foster development focused on creating energy abundance. Essentially shifting the grid to a means of sharing and exchanging the very good that was once regulated, and exploited. Trying to run from the issue by getting off the grid is only going to create a greater divide within our communities pitting the haves against the have nots and having the very people that want to solve this problem resenting each other. This is a community issue, asking a bigger question how do we make energy ubiquitous?

      I think it starts with awareness, people need to understand they are being exploited and they need to understand the alternatives, it is at this point communities can then decide to make a change. Here is an example of one community doing exactly that, its not the solution, but it is sure a start in the right direction.
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        Feb 22 2012: Yes but as I said it is not about going OFF GRID . . and you are right on when you say "Drive away central control" . . electrical distribution engineers and managers would feel threatened by that and likely find more obstacles than any means toward accomplishing it but the bigger question as I see it is "How do you reach enough people in way that will cause them to act?" . . very few people if seem think in terms of the greater good even though we all know internally what's right . . acting in that direction takes effort that replaces the day to day demand of our limited time. There has to be a spark of some sort (sorry pardon the pun) like what happened in Algeria . . one kid gets to his limit and dies for it . . . that will never and should never happen on this issue . . and maybe that why it can't take hold at least for a long time. Either that or a political LEADER steps up and makes the case . . or better still ACTS in the public's interests.

        I'm still searching for the means . . or the trigger that can initiate the change. Politicians here in Canada at least are too preoccupied with immediate fiscal challenges, revenues and getting reelected to listen. I've tried

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