BY DONNA WESTFALL
Who among us would object to being the recipients of power though wind and solar energy in order to reduce ever increasing Pacific Power monthly bills?
Transition US held their second meeting at the Wellness Center Wednesday night, November 5th. Presenters, Mathew Marshall from Humboldt County, and local Clark Moore, each took about a 1/2 hour and gave the 40 people sitting in the audience more information than they could ever understand without an Idiot’s guide to Electricity.
I went with questions because my interest had be peaked from their first meeting. In the documentary they showed previously, one community came together and put solar panels on a flat roof to power 40 residences. I wanted to know from “A” to “Z” how they did that. I didn’t get the answer at the Wednesday night meeting, but it appears that the presenters are knowledgeable enough to help guide our community in accomplishing it.
After the meeting, I spoke with Dan Schultz, (one of the people who helped put together the local Transition US) about wind farms. It seems to me that it makes a lot of sense to put wind machines out in a pasture where cattle are grazing. With Alexander Dairies and Westhaven Farms in the area, a simple phone call to plant a seed of an idea may reap benefits down the line. By the way, I met the people from Westhaven Farms at the Farmers Market. They sold beef from their grass fed cows and chickens.
Clark Moore, local resident for the past 40 years, has lived off the grid since the ’70’s. He’s helped put up installation of solar panels on three Blue Sky projects including the Triplicate printing press in Smith River, which dramatically cut their energy bills.
Some of the steps he mentioned in getting off the grid is to purchase the power lines. How much? He doesn’t know. It’s something that would have to go through the Board of Supervisors.
Individuals can work at monitoring their power usage by first looking at their bills. Then think frugally. 20 years ago, Clark Moore purchased a Gold Star refrigerator for $2,500 which uses less energy. It sounds like he has banks of batteries. Always cognizant about turning the lights off. Just like water conservation, if you have a small leak, fix it. Same with power consumption. Can you switch to more energy efficient appliances?
One of the attendees, Katherine Kelly, had this to say, “What I learned most of all from this meeting was that as a renter and someone who is very low income, there’s not a whole lot I can do to further reduce my footprint. I already practice conservation and efficiency within my limited means. The next thing I should do is get an electric car or hybrid, but truly cannot afford to. Can’t afford solar or wind because of the cost to have it hooked up to the grid by a qualified electrician, and then have to leave it all behind when I move. Not a smart way to spend my money! All in all, it’s up to the people who have the funds and the city/county governments to make things happen, which is a shame because there are a lot of people like me, poor & renting, that wish they could participate. Our Cultural Center would be a good place for our City to start by installing solar/wind and quit paying those outrageous power bills for a building that mostly sits unused. But, this is CC and I have no hope for that sort of forward thinking.”