Harvey Wasserman writes at Common Dreams:
High above the Bowling Green town dump, a green energy revolution is being won. It’s being helped along by the legalization of marijuana and its biofueled cousin, industrial hemp.
But it’s under extreme attack from the billionaire Koch Brothers, utilities like First Energy (FE), and a fossil/nuke industry that threatens our existence on this planet.
Robber Baron resistance to renewable energy has never been more fierce. The prime reason is that the Solartopian Revolution embodies the ultimate threat to the corporate utility industry and the hundreds of billions of dollars it has invested in the obsolete monopolies that define King CONG (Coal, Oil, Nukes & Gas).
The outcome will depend on your activism, and will determine whether we survive here at all. Four very large wind turbines in this small Ohio town are producing clean, cheap electricity that can help save our planet. A prime reason they exist is that Bowling Green has a municipalowned utility. When it came time to go green, the city didn’t have to beg some corporateowned electric monopoly to do it for them.
In fact, most of northern Ohio is now dominated by FirstEnergy, one of the most reactionary, anti-green private utilities in the entire US. As owner of the infamous DavisBesse reactor near Toledo, FE continually resists the conversion of our energy economy to renewable sources. Except for the occasional green window dressing, First Energy has fought fiercely for decades to preserve its unsafe reactors while fighting off the steady progression of renewable generators.
FE’s obstinance has been particularly dangerous at DavisBesse, one of the world’s most profoundly unsafe nukes. To the dismay even of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and other notoriously docile agencies, undetected boric acid ate nearly all the way through a reactor pressure vessel and threatened a massive meltdown/explosion that could have irradiated the entire north coast and the Great Lakes. FE’s nuke at Perry, east of Cleveland, was the first in the US to be substantially damaged by an earthquake.
Both Perry and DavidBesse are in the stages of advanced decay. Each of them is being held together by the atomic equivalent of duct tape and bailing twine. A major accident grows more likely with each hour of operation.
Small wonder the nuclear industry has been shielded since 1957 by the Price-Anderson Act, which limits corporate liability in any reactor disaster to less than $15 billion, a drop in the bucket compared to what has already happened at Chernobyl and Fukushima, and could happen here.
Should either of those reactors blow, FE and other investors will simply not have to pay for the loss of your home, family or personal health. Should that federal insurance be removed, the reactors would shut soon thereafter since for the last 57 years, no private insurers have stepped forward to write a policy on these reactors.
As for the wind turbines in Bowling Green, there are no such problems. With zero federal insurance restrictions, they initially came in ahead of schedule and under budget. They have boosted the local economy, created jobs and produced power is that is far cheaper, safer, cleaner and more reliable than anything coming out of the many nearby troubleplagued burners of fossil and nuclear fuels.
Throughout the world similar “miracles” are in progress. According to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, 92 percent of the new electrical generating capacity installed in the US in the first two months of 2014 was renewable.
That includes six new wind farms, three geothermal facilities, and 25 new solar plants. One of those wind installations is a 75 megawatt plant in Huron County, Wisconsin.
Four solar arrays will produce 73 megawatts for Southern California Edison, which was just forced by a grassroots upsurge to shut its two huge reactors at San Onofre, between Los Angeles and San Diego.
SoCalEd and the people of southern California are now in the process of filling that void with a wide range of renewable installations. Many home owners will be doing it by installing solar panels on their rooftops, a rapidly advancing technology that is proving extremely cost-effective while avoiding production of millions of tons of greenhouse gases and radioactive waste.
By comparison, according to one report, new development in “fossil fuel based infrastructure was almost nonexistent for January and February, with only one natural gas facility brought on line.”
Read more here.