Sunday, February 08, 2009

Jim Dee’s unique power line suggestion

A year ago, I stumbled onto my friend Jim Dee’s suggestion on his blog. With recent improvements in solar power efficiency, and a new administration prepared to listen to constructive ideas, I think his suggestion is now more feasible, than when I first read it.

As promised in the linked letter, here is Jim's suggestion, which I have paraphrased from his blog:

"I had a moment of insight this morning and wanted to share. It does nothing less than solve the entire American/Mexican border issue in a true bipartisan way. Here's the deal:

We take the entire length of the U.S./Mexican border, at a width of a good quarter mile wide or so, and privatize it -- sell it to the highest qualified bidder. And, by "qualified bidder," I mean power generation company.

What no other political commentator (to my knowledge) has seemingly noticed is that the border in question, besides being the source of exhaustive political debate, is also located in a particularly bright, sunny patch of the country. Because that area's so ridiculously bathed in sunshine, it lends itself particularly well to ... wait for it ... solar power development!

(Yeah, it was an "aha!" moment for me, too.)

Anyway, our high bidding Power Company purchases the land, with the sole stipulation that it must develop a solar array spanning pretty much the entire length of the U.S./Mexican border. Along either side of the array, the company would also have to construct a large security wall to serve the primary purpose of keeping out vandals (from both sides); as a bonus, it would also naturally keep anyone from entering the U.S. illegally.

Here's an additional bonus: Part of the power generated by the array could be diverted to the fence itself -- because, let's face it; an electric fence is much more efficient! The rest of the power would be sold, as normal, to nearby communities, thus (1) improving air quality from fewer coal-fired plants; (2) boosting economic development; and (3) furthering solar technology in general.

Since the power company would have their income/profitability at stake, it would be in their best interest to hire armed security patrols. Let's face it: Unlike government-run initiatives, when there's private/stockholder earnings on the line, stuff gets done. (It used to get done poorly, I'll admit. But, hopefully Sarbanes-Oxley fixes some of that.)

It's an elegant bipartisan solution, don't you think? The right gets a Jurassic Park-esque electric fence, the left gets solar power out the wazoo!”

1 comment:

BeyondGreen said...

The high cost of fuel this past year did serious damage to our economy and society. After a brief reprieve gas prices are inching back up again. Our nation should not allow other nations to have such power over us and our economy . We have so much available to us in the way of technology and free sources of energy. WE seriously need to get on with becoming an energy independent nation. We are spending billions upon billions in bail out dollars. Why not spend some of those billions in getting alternative energy projects set up. We could create clean cheap energy, millions of badly needed new green jobs and lessen our dependence on foreign oil all in one fell swoop. I just read an eye opening book by Jeff Wilson called The Manhattan Project of 2009. It would cost the equivalent of 60 cents per gallon to drive and charge an electric car.If all gasoline cars, trucks, and SUV's instead had plug-in electric drive trains, the amount of electricity needed to replace gasoline is about equal to the estimated wind energy potential of the state of North Dakota. Why don't we use some of the billions in bail out money to bail us out of our dependence on foreign oil? This past year the high cost of fuel so seriously damaged our economy and society that the ripple effects will be felt for years to come.