Heritage Restoration, Inc.

Clean Energy- We all can and SHOULD do it

In 1789, Benjamin Franklin stated: “Our new Constitution is now established, and has an appearance that promises permanency; but in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes”.

The world’s advances since 1789 would astound Ben Franklin, but I am sure he would be disappointed in us too. The parallels of 18-19thth century to 21st century cultural, technological, and lifestyle transformations are interesting. While few of today’s technological innovators are politicians like Ben Franklin or even Thomas Jefferson, we do have incredible people and opportunities to change how we live and how we manipulate and interact with our environment to benefit us, and our culture.

We may assume to have more absolutes than death and taxes. “I can’t pay less than” this to have a cell phone, cable, car, food, gas, electricity, and other essentials, so it becomes this absolute of life’s cost to be here, right? We do have choices to spend less, or better yet spend NOTHING and laugh at those who continue to pay the man. But do we have the guts to it now?

We no longer have raw sewage in the streets, black soot covering cities, or rivers on fire. We are living in the Jetsons age. Videophones, robots, dress that light up, and even better than flying cars are self-driving cars. We can get past our perceived helplessness and reliance on dirty things like smoke stacks, toxic spills, fracking, power lines, and power outages, by doing what is available right now and LIVE the future of clean, independent energy.

Many of clean energy technologies are not new, it’s more like missed opportunities. Many technologies are hundreds or thousands of years old such as anaerobic digestion, wind, geothermal, hydro, solar hot water, and other natural harnessed power that was, and is, being made and lost every day. In his 1978 State of the Union speech, President Carter presented the goal of “20 percent of energy from renewable sources by 2000”, but by 1980 the incentives were dropped. There are photovoltaic units over 25 years old right next to us in Massachusetts working at over 80% of their original efficiency. But why and what is taking us so long use this stuff?

Technology will always change, get cheaper, and more efficient. But we still buy cars, cell phones, TVs, or other must have gadgets, right? In a short 10 years we have seen solar, wind, batteries and other products increase in productivity and drop in cost. Truth be told, if you wait for the better product you will never get the current product.

Cheaper at what cost? We rely on others to give us electricity because it’s easy, and complain when it is not there or it gets really expensive. Clean energy is a predictable, fixed cost, and eventually free. There are purchase programs to pay less than you are saving, tax credits, rebates, net metering, leasing, grants, power purchase agreements, and other methods to differ or reduce costs. And it increases property values. Imagine instead of paying the utility forever, you pay your own investment and one day get it for free.

So what is the problem? First, we have no patience. If we did, we would see that renewable energy products pay back like everything else: eventually. And it is not just an asset investment, but it differs money from the utility to YOU. Second, we have a short attention span and think “what’s in it for me”. Stop it. Why plant a tree when you won’t be around to appreciate it in full growth? If Frederick Law Olmstead thought that we would not have the properly placed magnificent trees in Newport or NYC today.

Keeping unfettered landscapes and preventing visual eyesores are big deterrents for renewable energy. Good thing you have gotten used to pavement, telephone poles, smokestacks, cell towers, high-tension wires, cars, ships, planes, and other serenity busters. Many clean energy technologies are reversible and better than their predecessors, like wind. And this is coming from a staunch historic preservationist. Every building, public space, or landscape has evolved since humans have figured out how to manipulate them. This is just another phase of our existence and impact on the planet.

The bottom line is we have a chance make on our own. If you pay into the utilities renewable power option, you are paying them to do something you can do for yourself. Think about this, would you have liked to make a decision 10 years ago to make something free today? Well, here is your chance.

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