Emerald Gryphon

Ramblings from an ex-squid on politics, religion, current events, and whatever else catches my attention.

Alternative Power and distributed power and storage

Posted by emeraldgryphon on Wednesday, 21 February 2007

I’ve been looking into installing a solar electric generation system on my home. With all the talk about funding for alternative power, there are no significant public sources of funds to help defray the costs here in TN. I believe that partly to be due to the amount of federal subsidy to the local power infrastructure. The co-op that is my local electric monopoly gets about 33% of its base load power from TVA hydroelectric plants. These, of course, are significantly supported by federal funds. That makes not only consumer cost for electricity low, but also the power is reasonably clean. So, I’m looking for non-governmental sources of funds to help with becoming a net producer of energy to the grid. If anyone knows of private groups that have grant programs for green power, please let me know. 

 I know, in my previous post I touched on what I consider the fallacy of anthropogenic global warming, and this may seem like I’m saying one thing and doing another. However, there are other reasons than the doom and gloom scenarios to push for distributed, clean power. The first in my mind is security, both for my family and for the country. In event of a grid failure (i.e. power outage) we still would have lights, heat, etc. Also, from a national security standpoint, the more alternative power we generate reduces the amount we are dependant on foreign sources of energy, and the less money we are contributing to both our enemies and to oppressive dictatorships abroad. I don’t know if this correlation has any provable causation, but it seems that the major oil producing nations have an awful human rights record, and I’m a little uncomfortable supporting these regimes with my money. The second national security implication for distributed power generation is that large power plants are a target. You might as well paint a bull’s-eye on them. The potential for producing disruption is huge. Envision: hear a loud series of explosions, the power goes out, no sources of news and information since the vast majority of people rely on electronic devices for their (electrically powered) media.  Emergency responder coordination could be affected by the traffic snarls due to the traffic signals not working.  Panic may not be far behind.

Another reason for self-generated power is of course pollution. While solar isn’t completely clean (once you calculate in the byproducts and waste from construction) it’s definitely preferable to coal for peak load production.   And oil is simply too valuable as a chemical precursor to be burning it for fuel. Think about what wouldn’t be likely without petroleum. Plastic would be unavailable. Think about that for a second… Plastic would be unavailable…. How many things do we rely on plastic for? From keeping our foods safe to eat to making our houses and cars more energy efficient to the clothing we wear and the shoes on our feet, chances are that plastic is as ubiquitous in your life as it is in mine. (If you haven’t made a conscious decision to limit it, that is)

With distributed storage as well as production, a number of residences could easily produce the peak draw needed to supply local businesses during the day, and still have enough stored up to take care of most of the home’s load at night. This would reduce our usage of the dirtiest fuels and plants, as they are only fired up when demand is high.  

I know that one person cannot change the country. I also know that if you don’t lead by example, you will never convince anyone.  




Posted in Global Warming, Politics, Power, Terror | 1 Comment »

I don’t think we’re in Kansas anymore…

Posted by emeraldgryphon on Thursday, 15 February 2007

So I was thinking about Wytammic’s comment to my post about the return of the ugly gun law, and I was struck by how far from party principles some of the candidates are. For instance, you have Rudy Guiliani running as a republican, but he is an anti-gun, big gov’t, socially liberal, more police power exec. He is basically a tax cutting democrat with the cojones to fight the terrorists overseas. (that still is a big plus, though). On the other hand, you have Bill Richardson running as a democrat. He is pro-gun, tax-cutting, and socially moderate. Unfortunately, he is anti-constitutional like all Dems.  (Federal gov’t health care) and he doesn’t even talk about social security and medicare (also unconstitutional) And then of course he buys into the fallacy of anthropogenic global warming. I can’t in good faith support either of them at this time, but their histories on issues that are traditionally from the other side of the political spectrum give me pause.

I’m pretty moderate on a lot of things, but the one thing I don’t tolerate is a politician that intends to work against the constitution. Thats why I tend to vote R for federal gov’t and D or I for local and state government. Unfortunately the front runners of both major parties do just that. Then you have Ron Paul, and while I agree on his take on most issues, he is too far of an isolationist big-L libertarian for me. Its early yet in this campaign cycle, and a lot of things will shake out as a result of the primary process, but I really wonder if the compromises we will have to make will contribute to the slow degradation of our constitutional republic.



Posted in Politics | Leave a Comment »

2nd Amendment under attack again, it seems…

Posted by emeraldgryphon on Wednesday, 14 February 2007

Via the Instapundit

Apparently the House has introduced a renewal of the original ugly gun law.  H.R. 1022 (text of bill not yet available) has been introduced by Rep Carolyn McCarthy, D-NY .   For what it’s worth, thanks large to all the repubs who decided to ‘teach the party a lesson’ on leaving limited gov’t behind.  This is the kind of crap a Democrat-led congress puts out. I guess that means its time to find it in the budget to pick up a few more assault rifles for the house.  (and don’t forget the high-capacity magazines!)

Really, i don’t expect this to fly too far this session, but watch out if the Dems get a larger hold on congress and/or (gods forbid) the presidency in 2009.

 Lots to think about….. more on this later.



Posted in Guns, Idiots | 3 Comments »

Support Worldwide Gun Rights!

Posted by emeraldgryphon on Wednesday, 14 February 2007

Over at the Volokh Conspiracy there is a request for anyone associated with a shooting organization to help a French gun rights group stop a potential ban on pump shotguns. As far as I can see, they need help proving that a pump shotgun is often used in both hunting and in sporting events. In my experience, that is one of the most common hunting weapons in use in the US. How much weight that an endorsement from “those cowboy Americans” will have, I don’t know… Hopefully it won’t backfire on them. If anyone can help with this, please do so and pass it on.


Posted in Foreign Relations, Guns | Leave a Comment »

Cats with Guns!! (OHNOES)

Posted by emeraldgryphon on Wednesday, 14 February 2007

So a friend at work reminds me it’s Mental Health day…..

Reminds me of the old joke about the definition of stress : That confusion created when the mind overrides the bodies’ basic desire to choke the living shit out of some idiot who desperately needs it.


Posted in Holidays, Humor, Stress | Leave a Comment »

Introductions and assorted miscellania

Posted by emeraldgryphon on Tuesday, 13 February 2007

Where to begin… I’ve been spending (wasting) time lurking on various blogs, rarely commenting, and I guess I’ve finally decided to join in the fray. I have a smattering of opinions, political, social, and other, and I’m going to display them all here for no apparent reason. (heh)

This blog will tend to be politically oriented, and my vaguely formed opinions on current events will be assisted by a smattering of links. If I offend, you’re welcome to respond, but as with all media, you are free to change the channel. You have come to my site, and you are free to leave.


Posted in Introduction, Rules | Leave a Comment »