Large Power lines as part of the FERC's new national grid. Mary Hamilton, Member Solar Plexus LLC Statistics about teen and tween attitudes about global warming and the environment. Karen Famighetti, Weekly Reader Research

Letters to the Editor

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Letters to the Editor
We have a national grid with very large power lines. What we need to do in the future is to think small. That is to think distributed generation.
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Large Power lines as part of the FERC's new national grid.
Mary Hamilton, Member Solar Plexus LLC
Statistics about teen and tween attitudes about global warming and the environment.
Karen Famighetti, Weekly Reader Research

Large Power lines as part of the FERC's new national grid.

We have a national grid with very large power lines. What we need to do in the future is to think small. That is to think distributed generation. Every time someone comes up with a number for a price of a new segment of the new transmission grid, try dividing that price (which ends up being paid for by our grandchildren in the form of national debt) by $20,000, which is the cost of a good sized solar system for the average American home.

The total cost of that new national grid has been estimated to be somewhere in the range of two trillion dollars when all is said and done. There are 114,000,000 households projected in America in 2010, that would put a $20,000.00 solar system on every household in America. That includes single person households.

A two trillion dollar transmission system would be a nice contract for Haliburton and the like, but let's think about where that gets us. Once you've installed that system, it begs for large coal plants, new nuclear plants, super-large wind farms, all kinds of centralized generation which is exactly the opposite of what we need. We need to distribute generation.

With a new national grid, each right-of-way would be condemned "in the national interest" even though it is the farthest thing from the national interest to build large transmission.

The existing power lines are perfectly adequate if we place wind farms in windy areas and size those wind farms to match local substation capacity. This would allow many farmers to willingly lease their land, without the threat of eminent domain, to local, small to medium sized wind developers.

We should install solar everywhere we possibly can at point of use and grid tied. Urban brown-fields could be made into small local Co-operative solar farms for those without good solar sites. Solar is peak power and transmission lines fail during peak demand, Shaving the peak with solar means the existing grid would be perfectly adequate for however long we continue to need a national grid.

We should do absolutely everything possible in conservation/efficiency and use smart controls from the ground up rather than from the top down.

There can be lots of good permanent jobs created with distributed generation (several studies estimate ten times the number of living wage jobs with renewable energy, especially solar, as opposed to fossil fuel jobs) while large power lines and power plants are more inclined to create boom and bust economies that are very detrimental to communities; along with the environmental nightmares that accompany them, and place the profits in the hands of a few CEOs of out of state companies.

Before we accept a new electric transmission grid as a given, we need to have a conversation that looks into other options.

Small is beautiful. Go Solar, One house at a time! Go Wind, One substation at a time.


Statistics about teen and tween attitudes about global warming and the environment.
 

Dear Bob,

Just in time for Earth Day (April 22), Stamford-based research group Weekly Reader Research reveals interesting statistics about teen and tween attitudes about global warming and the environment. According to recent surveys conducted by the group, most of America's youth are savvy about global warming:

  • 95 % of kids 13-18-years-old say they have heard of global warming
  • 85 % of kids 10-12-years-old say they have heard of it
  • 71 % of kids 6-9-years-old say they have heard of it

Notable Figures:

  • Girls are more concerned about global warming than boys, particularly girls ages 6-9 (63 % versus 41 % of boys) and 13-18 (57 % versus 49 % of boys).

  • Hispanics more than any other ethnicity report discussing the environment and global warming most (76 % versus 66 % of Asians, 65 % of Caucasians, and 57 % of African-Americans).

  • America's youth gets most of its information about global warming at school: 36 % cite schools and teachers as the source were they first learned about global warming.

  • When it comes to discussing the environment and global warming, schools and teachers are also doing a good job of bringing this topic into the classroom: 64 % of America's youth have discussed the environment and global warming in class, with many in grades 7 and higher discussing it more (73 %) than younger grades.

  • Schools/teachers/textbooks are where kids get the most information about the environment (33 %) followed by TV (19 %), their parents (16 %) and the Internet (13%).

  • For all the media hype it has received, An Inconvenient Truth is not a film that most of today's youth have seen - only 17 % have viewed the film. And only a small percentage of 13-18-year-olds (26 %) have watched it.

  • American kids ages 6-9 feel the most significant example of global warming is higher temperatures (49 %).

  • Most kids' families already recycle many items like cans (73 %), newspapers (57%), plastic bottles/containers (53 %) and glass bottles (51 %) along with other items in their households. Kids say recycling is the most significant way they can show their support of and for the environment.

  • And who do kids think is MOST responsible for solving the problem of global warming? More than a third (39 %) feel Big businesses/industry is most responsible - more so than individuals (31%) or the government (30 %).

Results are based on Internet surveys with a nationally representative sample of 6-18 year olds recruited from Weekly Reader Research's INSIDERS survey panel. 1,657 interviews were conducted between April 13-15, 2007. The results reflect the opinion of America's 54.9 million 6-18 year olds. For results based on the total sample, one can say with 95% confidence that the maximum margin of sampling error is 2.5 percentage points. In addition to sampling error, question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of public opinion polls. Statistical testing is applied throughout the data tables and indicated with capital letters. For instance, the E in the "6-8 Year Olds Girls," column of Page 1 means that the percentage of Girls whose families recycle newspapers (68.3%) is significantly greater than the percentage of boys (Column E, 49%).

About Weekly Reader Research

Weekly Reader Research is the premier youth and family survey research organization providing clients with a continuous stream of insights into the thoughts, attitudes and beliefs of America's kids, tweens and teens (and their parents!) To learn more about Weekly Reader Research, please visit www.weeklyreaderresearch.com

 

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