A new article in the San Diego Free Press, Power to the People or Power to the Corporations? provides an in-depth look at this fat-cat dilemma and exposes the lie of utility-scale renewables and investing billions of dollars in new transmission lines.
"A far better model is distributed generation. Why not site the solar arrays close to where the energy is to be consumed? That way there is little or no energy lost in transmission. Instead of putting solar panels in the Anza Borrego desert and trucking them to San Diego, a better solution is to put the solar panels on the rooftops of San Diego. Large warehouses are a pretty good place, but suburban homes are pretty good too."
"In one sense, though, constructing a large national green energy system is sort of like buying organic food at the supermarket; it’s an improvement, in that the fields where it’s grown aren’t soaked in pesticides, but that produce is still traveling an enormous distance along vulnerable supply lines. And instead of building stronger local communities, the money you spend buying it just builds the bank accounts of a few huge firms.
With food, people are starting to understand the virtues of going not just green but local - and the same thing might be happening with energy. For two decades some farmers have built CSAs, or community-supported agriculture operations, where members pay an annual fee for a share of the produce. Now advocates like Greg Pahl are talking about CSE, or community-supported energy, and pointing at examples like the wind power associations and cooperatives that have built thriving facilities across Germany, Denmark, Holland, Sweden and Canada."
Go read the entire article. You'll be glad you did (well, unless you're one of those power company lookie-loos, in which case you might want to take a few minutes to polish up the ol' resume)