Solar Power isn't Feasible!

Solar Power isn't Feasible!
This cartoon was on the cover of the book "SolarGas" by David Hoye. It echoes the Sharp Solar slogan "Last time I checked nobody owned the sun!"

Monday, January 29, 2007

Curtailment Control

Check out the ORIGINAL haunting German film "23" (the American remake with Jim Carrey is here, but it seems to be your run of the mill conspiracy theory movie, with nothing about computer hacker power plant curtailment)and then watch our little video (narrated by T.H. Culhane, produced by Frank DiMassa) which shows how today we actually can control big power plants and the flow of electrons to homes and businesses from a laptop computer.

We at Solar C.I.T.I.E.S. are somewhat ambivalent about this capability -- on the one hand we think it is very good that lights and heating and air conditioning in a distant location can be turned off from a laptop computer. Imagine you were responsible for not just a home, but an entire business or factory, and you left for a distant trip without turning off the boiler or the AC. It could not only be extremely or wasteful, but catastrophic. On the other hand it calls to mind films such as "Total Recall", (where the dictatorial CEO of the Martian mining colony decides to shut off the air supply to all his citizens so they won't rebel), to say nothing of the thriller "23". Also, our work trying to foster peace and understanding between Israelis and Palestinians is often hampered by the issue of who controls the electricity and water; the exploitation of control over these basic amenities is used as a tool of both power and terror.

We can offer few solutions other than to hope that citizens in democracies not only become aware of how technologies of control can be used, but empower themselves with oversight capabilities so that the desire for control can not get... out of control!

The music to this video is our song "Keep it real" which we composed after a visit to the Solfest '99 at Real Goods Solar Living Center in Hopland. There we had the chance to meet and interview Ed Begley Jr. and get inspired by all the solar powered music going on at the festival. We wrote lyrics to our song such as -- "Real is the sunshine, and real is the rain; real are the windstreams that blow on the plains; II want the real goods, real deal..." and intended to create one of our "Melodic-Mnemonics" about how renewable energy is the only real energy, the rest is a dangerous and unsustainable detour that will appear as a mere blip in human history; we decided to repurpose the music for a bunch of our utility videos, so you'll hear it in a bunch of our work.

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