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I live on an island with a lot of sun, as a result, I am not only independent for water and power, because I recover all rainfall on my footprint, and recycle it, but have solar panels. In both cases, I am attached to the local system. The connection fee for water, even if I don´t use it is about 5€ per month, but have three cisterns (2 fresh 1 grey) and a well. If a storm is predicted, I inform the water board, and hey drain a cistern into their system, running my meter in reverse, giving me a credit. My house is large and I live alone. But some of my neighbors have a smaller footprint, but are a couple with 4 kids, which means more laundry and baths. So often the water does not leave the block, so the credit on my meter, becomes a debit on my neighbors. the balance is checked each quarter, so I get a waterboard check each three months for the water I have sold. the same works for solar, except it is always on the grid. When they take my surplus power, they calculate the going rate, deduct for the loan that got the system installed, plus interest, and give me the balance each month. As my pool is not heated, and my house has airconditioning which I only use in my lab, the amount I get back in the summer is greater then in thewinter, because I use more electricity in the winter because it gets cold here and we sometimes have snow. Related to this but not personal, all municipal vehicles are electrical, and the village has 6 power points private vehicles can be recharged for free.
Here is a short story for how this happened. We are a part of the E.U. and because this island does not have a lot of water, we only produce dairy products for cheeze, because milk products are cheaper from northern European countries - cows eat gass, and grass takes a lot of water. Some years back an estate owner, absentee landland lord felt he could make better use of his farm by turning it into a golf course. This requires planning permission, and the municipality said "no" because golf courses require grass and water, and this would lower our water table. so they cut a deal, the municipality rents his farm, as a solar farm, which gives he municipality free electricity, and also an income by selling the surplus to the island´s power grid. In theory when it comes to water and power, the capital cidty and the tourist areas are a net expense, while the rest of the island, if solar could support them both and still export.
New law this week says, rental car agencies, will only be able to import electric cars by 2030. A typical imported Hertz or Avis, is only rented for 2 years, then sold as a used car. So for every rental car we have now when replaced it will have to be replaced by electric in two years, which means by 2030 for every petroneum powered car today, we whill hav gained 5 electric of which 4 will have eplaced other gas driven private cars. We have a great convenient and cheap train and bus system (both take bikes). Our capial used to be a walled city shaped like a half circle facing the sea, when the walls came down over a century ago, their area became parks and avenues. as of now 90% of this land has three level underground car parks, which now, for the price of parking, have recharge sttions for electric vehicles. The city has grown so most of the area inside the walls are pedestrian zones only, exception being bus, train, taxi. So polution is down, and people who commute from areas where public is not efficient, still take their cars to the perimeter, pay to park and recharge.
Housing here is arranged differently from medieval times, no front, back, orside yards, so people live and work physicly closer togather, so with our capital of 300,000 population, there is no place I can´t reach by bike within 20 minutes, free parking for biks, a destination, no need to walk from distant parking lot. If America had the will, and shut the energy lobby up, dthat part of America I call flyover land, could easily supply power for the engtire U.S.
As an aside, to keep maintenance costs down, or panels are fixed, and on stilts so one can walk under neath them. Yes, the result is less sun on the ground, but not enough loss that garden crops can´t thrive under neath them. Also the shade results in less evaporation, and condensation at night results in water collecting on the lower side (our climae is very humid) and gets recycled by dripping back down causing a evaporaion and condensation cycle, cutting down on the need to irigate.
Lovely! I just hope nobody is smoking, that would be the best news ever!
As an aside, you probably heard of our local constitutional crisis regarding Catalunya. Spain has 18 "supposidly" 18 autonomous regions, all of which are unhappy with monarchy and conservative domination from Madrid. Ironicly 5 of the 18 have strong independence movements, and only use spanish as a required second language, and from the POV of GNP are supporting the other 13 Spanish speaking regions.
Three of these regions are Baleares, Valencia, and Catalunya. If one draws a triangle between their capitals, there is a strong possibility of the equivalent of North Sea Gas in the Med between them. A Sccottish company wants to explore, but because of known safety hazzards, and historical damage to the coast of Galicia (another non Spanish speaking region) our regional governments don´t want even exploration, much less drilling - even though this would be of economic benefit o Spain, especially these three because Spain has no actual petroleum source within its territory. However all of the non Spanish speaking regions are much greener then those that support Madrid. So what one reads in the media regarding Catalán independence, is only a fraction of a much larger, and global issue.
What a great run down of what a municipality can do - if it really wants to. Unfortunately for us, the oil and gas industry lobby is still too strong for much of that to happen here. It's changing, but it's slow going.
Oslo has taken the lead in green tech with free charging stations for electric cars and mandated non-ice engines in the coming years. The carbon-sucking fools can be thwarted through incentivism. Here it is opposite, all incentives are oil-driven. One tax incentive even gives a free gas-guzzling truck or suv to businesses through a tax credit.
I live in Southern California and today it was 96 degrees and I had to turn the air conditioning on again. I like to joke that we have two seasons: hot and less hot! "Less hot" only lasts for about 4 months (and will include intermittent heat waves), so the AC runs about April through November.
What I would like to see is solar panels on every outdoor parking lot. Not only could we generate electricity, but we could keep our cars from turning into ovens while they bake in the sun all day. At the university I'm currently attending, their newest parking structure actually does have solar panels on the top level, which is a good start. As far as I know, electric charging stations are not free. (My Prius is an older model and does not use a charging station, so it wouldn't benefit me at present.) I have seen charging stations on occasion, but you have to pay for them still. I think if every parking lot or structure simply put solar panels in, they could easily offer free charging to people parking there. And for those who don't need it, they would get shade for their car which everyone appreciates.