I posted an article on this topic a day or two ago, and thought it missed the mark. Here’s a redo. I Blew the old one away.
My son lives in Sebring, Florida. As a result of Irma, he’ll be without power for about two weeks according to local power company folks. The Washington Post has a good article on the scope of the situation, (1) and CNN covers the cost of rebuilding traditional electrical utility infrastructure. (2) Both stories miss the point of my post here. That point is that this completely unnecessary mess is in the “Sunshine State”, a state in which everyone SHOULD be generating power on their business and home rooftops with solar panels for personal use, to share with neighbors in a microgrid, or to feed back into a conventional grid if that’s what one wants to do. But, because of regressive State regulations that protect utility interests, solar power has simply become too expensive to deploy. (3)
Many of the “shoulda-been” rooftop installations would certainly have been damaged by Irma, but many would have made it through just fine. How many people would be cool and comfortable tonight running on their Powerwalls (4) while repair crews from as far away as Michigan work around the clock to patch up Florida’s coal and gas fired grid so it can work until the next storm comes rolling in and they can do it all over again? Would the eight who died in a hot nursing home still be alive? (5) We don’t know, but we do know that not having strong governmental policies and incentives promoting the rapid conversion to decentralized microgrid or personal solar power in Florida is simply foolish — unless you own a coal or gas power plant — or unless those folks pay your political office campaign bills.
Something to think about very seriously if you are a Floridian when the next election opportunity comes about. There is something you can do.