America's True Crisis

January 21, 2009
By Veronica Halford, West Valley City, UT

The ultimate challenge facing American citizens today is the energy crisis. Gas prices have recently rose to an all time high. The American population is also rising at an astounding rate, making traveling as a family only available with bigger vehicles and more vehicles on the roads. The electrical grid that powers houses is run on 97% dirty coal. The pollution being pumped into the air is ruining the ozone layer and no alternative sources are being made readily available to the public. Ultimately there is no true “solution” to this problem. You can’t solve global warming and population booms but you can mitigate it.
The United States is already facing economic downturn because of the dysfunction of the electric grid. The California blackouts cost in excess of $1 billion each. Basically, each area of homes and offices runs off one electric grid. When these grids were built they were proposed to provide energy for the already existing areas but because of expansion in this high demand society, the electric grids are being over worked. The utility companies have turn to a policy of run to failure, where they will not replace any equipment until it is broken. Investors refuse to produce funds where there is seemingly no profit to be made.

Net metering is a fairly well known concept in the status quo but it is rarely seen as a successful operation. I propose that we create a federal mandate for all 50 states including the U.S. territories to use net metering as an alternative energy incentive. This will essentially deregulate the electric grid. Citizens use alternative energy systems created in their own home to produce energy. People can get as creative as they want with these systems. Solar panels and wind turbines are some of the more popular RE systems. This releases the burden off of the electric grid by having homes be essentially miniature power plants. The customers produce energy for their home which drastically reduces their utilities bills and if they create more energy then consumed it is sent back through the power lines to the plants and they actually receive a check for that energy.

There are currently 34 state net metering programs. The United States Federal Government should use the model provided by these programs. This program must be run by the federal government to reduce the patchwork system. Net metering has not been very successful so far because the patchwork system currently being used creates no regulatory predictability. Running it through the USFG also creates a level playing field for all states in all areas.

The United States is currently faced with many new challenges that were never predicted. When it comes to the energy crisis net metering is the only solution.

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