First, thanks to everyone who submitted comments and questions today. I didn’t have time to get to everything I wanted to. But I will give everyone a heads up that Ron Sims, the county executive of King County, Wash., is lecturing here Tuesday about how the Seattle region has begun fighting global warming.
He’ll be talking at the San Diego Natural History Museum Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. Admission is free and more information is here.
And to address one last point, I talked to Irene Stillings, executive director of the San Diego Regional Energy Office, about the future of renewable energy and what’s holding it back.
Here’s what she had to say:
“It’s coming. But it needs a much, much stronger push in a number of ways.
The potential is there. The potential of the sun is limitless practically. The problems that are preventing the more rapid expansion have to do with the technology, with the resources available and with the cost.”
Stillings said the state needs to maintain its subsidies for residential homeowners’ solar installation. “But then we need some lending organizations to come forward with some kind of specialized loan for residential customers who want to put in solar,” she said.
We also talked briefly about the idea of net metering, which is an interesting concept. Here’s how it works: If you’re a homeowner with solar cells on your roof, when you don’t use the electricity, your meter rolls back as the electricity is fed into the regional grid. But few homes have enough solar to cancel out their total electricity consumption. And they don’t have any incentive to get there, because they aren’t compensated if they create more electricity than they need. Once they’ve zeroed out their own consumption, they don’t get any benefit for contributing excess power to the grid.
“There is no incentive for the homeowner to put as much [photovoltaic solar] on the roof as the roof has room for, which is a terrible waste,” Stillings said. “Once you’re up there doing it, cover the roof.”
Have a good weekend, folks.