Saul Griffith: Bringing the Utilities Around

February 2, 2021

..to ubiquitous solar energy.

3 Responses to “Saul Griffith: Bringing the Utilities Around”

  1. ecoquant Says:

    I would love for this to be true.

    But what I see in affluent, suburban Massachusetts is homeowners who (a) don’t want to be bothered managing their energy or their relationship to the grid, and (b) who are openly hostile both to neighbors sporting PV, whether on roofs or ground mounts, and to plans which require homeowners to take some kind of stance.

    In short, affluent suburban homeowners, predominantly white, seem to be among the least entrepreneurial groups about, even if they (claim? to) be/are those who embrace these values in the business sphere. I say this is an example of Privilege, for their choices are not marginal where, in other geographies and communities, these choices would be.

    This is not new. The late German Bundestag member Hermann Scheer highlighted this in his talks and in his book as a key problem of the Energiewende and the current state in Germany where wealthy states and neighborhoods oppose zero Carbon energy primarily on the basis of aesthetics and local zoning codes. There are some, no doubt, who oppose it for economic reasons: job losses.

    Per the recent LLNL report we can still get to net zero emissions in the United States by 2050 no matter these, but such objections will both make it more expensive and also make ancillary energy sources — such as natural gas generation of electricity — something which is essential for its success, even if this means building additional natural gas pipelines.

    Your bid, all.

    • rhymeswithgoalie Says:

      It is possible for social status among the rich to swing to pro-PV. Sometimes it takes only one haughty trend-setter to make the old-timers declasse. Hell, they can even buy those $chmancy Tesla solar tile roofs.

      I, myself, am not going to—as Bill Nye once suggested—cut down the tall trees around my home so I can get PV panels on my roof, BTW.

      • ecoquant Says:

        To see where we are, there’s a case coming up where a couple is proposing to do something like that, cutting tall trees to improve the output of their existing PV, and planting young trees in their place. We’ll see how the Conservation Commission responds to that.

        And, in your case, that’s a common excuse. Why don’t you sign up for/invest in community choice aggregation?

        Actually, the really rich towns around us, e.g., Wellesley, Sherborn, are already gung ho about solar PV. It’s Westwood, my town, which is apparently filled with NIMBYist myopes. Of course, nearby Walpole is as well. And there are quite a few down on the Cape and the islands, notably Nantucket and Barnstable.

        I am increasingly not caring because I’ll be long gone when the consequences of all this come to bear. But it is sure disappointing seeing people, especially American people losing their Jules Verne verve. But, well, the USA dropped out of the Top Ten at Bloomberg’s Innovation Index this year, too, with South Korea, Singapore, and Switzerland grabbing the top three berths, in order.


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