Tuesday, January 7, 2014

The Clean Energy Economy is Working!

When I received this email from The White House, it struck a chord as the home we bought in Yucaipa, CA, in 1982 had solar panels on the red tile roof to provide all the hot water we needed.  We had a 30 gallon back-up hot water tank that was barely used except for a few nights when the temperatures in the foothills were going below freezing.  The rest of the year we would be on 100% solar hot water with an 80 gallon hot water tank.  Our gas bills in the summer were $4.50 and that was fees.  It was a brand new home with the solar hot water that sold us on the home over another one that was similar with no solar hot water.  We were looking to buy after moving from Beavercreek, Ohio, when my husband was transferred from Wright-Patterson AFB to Norton AFB to work on the M-X Missile and Minuteman programs.  My favorite place to live was Southern California for a host of reasons.  Going back East was not my idea of a great transfer -- considered it the worst ever to end up in Massachusetts where they were still heating with fuel oil which came in big trucks to fill up this huge tank with the huge bill.  I grew up in a home in Ohio with natural gas.

We went from energy efficiency with clean water from our taps that came from mountains also sold by Arrowhead Water as bottled water to having to buy water because the water in that area was contaminated since their lakes were contaminated by dumping of chemicals from their manufacturing over the years. Less then impressed not to mention the people were rude.  All I wanted to do was go back to our home in California and forget I ever knew Massachusetts.

Funny thing was when we eventually got the transfer to Kelly AFB in San Antonio after a stop back at Wright-Patt, I ran into more women whose husbands had been stationed at Fort Devins who hated that area as much as I did -- not one person liked living there.  They didn't even have cable TV or video stores in the area like we had in SoCal and an archaic school system on top of everything else with small little groceries unless you drove 40 miles which I did.  Dukakis may be the worst education governor I have ever seen in the states where we have lived.  My daughter in 3rd grade was learning what she had in 2nd grade in CA.  Then there was the very old school which had the old floors like I had when I went to school before they built the new elementary in my small home town and we went there to school.

You cannot fathom my shock at going to fuel oil from natural gas, solar, and cheap electricity we had in Yucaipa.  Our average summer bill was $15 combined and our winter bill was $79 a month combined in Yucaipa. We went to over $600 a month in MA for inefficiency -- you could say I was less then happy which is an understatement.  Went from a laundry room off my kitchen to laundry in the basement where half the floor was dirt so I went to the laundromat -- not about to go down those rickety steps to a basement that flooded when the snow melted or it rained.

That was 1986 and we were paying $1400 a month rent -- only house we could find that could take our furniture which was an updated (their words) farm house.  No one we knew even thought of energy efficiency in that area.  We had little to no insulation in the house, couldn't use the fireplace -- too dangerous so we ran the hot water radiators with fuel oil.  When I asked about natural gas, the owner laughed in my face.  It was hard to take Massachusetts on many levels with energy efficiency being one of them.   That night at the end of May when the movers pulled out after loading the truck, I told my husband I am not spending one more night in this ... state so we drove to New York.

Our automatic windows quit working on our station wagon that spent most of the winter in a damp garage never leaving it because of the ice in the circular driveway.  The lady at the toll booth said not to open my door but to roll down the window to pay the toll -- I opened up the door, threw the money at her and told her to take the whole archaic state of MA and shove it!  Got back in my car and drove into New York with my kids laughing like crazy.  It was funny hearing my older two tell their Dad what had happened.

It took all these years with Republicans killing the solar energy credits to get a utility company which believes in clean energy here in Norman, OK.  My average bill a month for the whole year is $95 for OGE and ONG combined.  Getting natural gas back from all electric homes was awesome when we moved to this home in 2001.  Add to that OGE's clean energy efforts to keep from building more coal fired power plants by taking stimulus money and implementing the Smart Grid with Smart Meters across over 90% of Oklahoma in less time then they predicted along with installing wind mill farms across the state has made me one happy consumer.

Norman is on wind energy power today -- started with the University of Oklahoma and then spread to the City Norman.  Feel so fortunate to live in Norman where clean energy is supported by the residents. I am on 100% wind power and love the Smart Meter in the summer time which has cut my energy costs here.   Next up in becoming energy efficient is the sun porch with putting in new windows and a door. Already have done the insulation to the sun porch which helped a lot but now needs new windows and door.  Next winter plastic will not be over the windows to keep the cold out and the last several days it has been very cold.

Fully support the Clean Energy initiatives.  It is great to see the progress that is being made.  Don't think it is too much for all of us to ask for cleaner air, cleaner water, and less cost for energy we use every day by becoming more energy efficient.

Every month when I pay our utility bill from OGE, I donate to a fund to help people who cannot afford their electricity.   Was asked last year by a Republican I know after I said I donated every month to the fund, "Why?"  Went on to say the people taking advantage are losers and don't deserve help.  Told him what I thought of his statement and now he never comes near me.  All that pent-up anger at the selfish, self-centered, obnoxious, arrogant GOP came out.  I wouldn't want to talk to me again either.

The very idea that we are not supposed to help those less fortunate goes against everything I believe. When you have to decide between food, medicine, or heat because you are laid off, work for the minimum wage, or you get so little from social security then there is something wrong with the system. The vast majority of people are not unemployed because they want to be.  A lot of people who are working a full-time job at the minimum wage cannot afford everything which a travesty in this Country. We have lower ranking military who are on food stamps because they have a family to feed.  That's just wrong.  Will continue to contribute every month as many Oklahomans do across this State to help others.  It is not the average Oklahoman, it is our stupid elected officials who are sent to DC who are the problem.  Oklahoma is very giving state as we show in times of natural disasters -- shame our cheapskate elected officials missed the boat.

This news is great for America and American families from the Obama Administration initiatives for clean energy now we all need to do our part in making it even better!

The Clean Energy Economy in Three Charts

January 06, 2014 
05:10 PM EST

Over the last five years, American inventors and investors have delivered significant progress in developing and deploying key clean energy technologies, supported by Administration policies.  Electricity production from solar and wind has doubled.  Our cars and trucks go further on a gallon of gasoline, saving families money at the pump.  And in 2012, U.S. carbon pollution fell to its lowest level in nearly 20 years. The simple fact is that key clean energy technology costs are continuing to come down, and these technologies are producing more American energy than ever before.
Wind Energy

In 2012, wind was America’s largest source of new electricity generation capacity, accounting for 43 percent of all new installations. Altogether the United States has deployed about 60 gigawatts of wind power — enough to power 15 million homes. This growth in wind deployment has spurred more U.S. manufacturing.  A recent DOE wind market report estimates 72 percent of the wind turbine equipment installed in the United States last year was made by domestic manufacturers, nearly tripling from 25 percent in 2006-2007. And according to the American Wind Energy Association, by 2012 there were well over 80,000 workers employed in wind-related jobs in the U.S. 
Supported by Administration investments, generation of electricity from wind and solar has more than doubled, and the costs of solar and wind technologies have come down significantly.  

Solar Energy

Since 2008, the price of solar panels has fallen by 75 percent, and solar installations have increased by a factor of 13. Administration support has helped to launch some largest solar projects in the world, and renewable energy permitting on federal lands has gone from virtually zero to nearly 50 approved solar, wind and geothermal utility-scale projects on public lands, since 2009, including associated transmission corridors and infrastructure to connect to established power grids. When built, these projects add up to more than 13,300 megawatts – enough energy to power 4.6 million homes and support more than 19,000 construction and operations jobs.

See White House website for details on Better Vehicles that are meeting clean energy standards as the third leg of the clean energy initiative.

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