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A Reminder That We Are Far From Out of the Woods


wind turbines closeup

The heat in Illinois has killed thousands of animals and shown a high rate of mortality among the elderly, especially vulnerable people.

When I step out of my vehicle, I feel the heat after getting out of my air-conditioned car. When I listen to the news on Sirius XM, I remember President Trump not taking action on climate change. People are not willing to give up fossil fuels and climate change creating a nation of distress.

This wind farm’s blades are 328 feet tall, and they constantly rotate in graceful circles. The ground is covered with solar panels on rolling terrain. They also have a display of informative messages to visitors at the base where I initially approached the farm.

The Geneseo power plant has 1.5MW turbines, provided by VenSys. It was paid off in only a few years, even while experiencing a rare mechanical problem. The city wants to increase renewable capacity and use less coal energy by building on that success.

Black waves of silicon undulate over the sloping landscape near Geneseo, and the city saved $250,000 by following the contours rather than bulldozing a flat solar field.

In small towns such as Geneseo, local initiatives are contributing to a global commitment for sustainable living. Often, these initiatives are initiated by the people themselves or organizations rather than at the federal level. The essay “The Moral Economy and Local Solutions” by Kirsten Engel and Barak Orbach highlights the importance of this up-scaling in an economic and political sphere where change is difficult.

The City of Philadelphia has a goal of 100% renewable electricity by 2030, 10,000 clean-color jobs by 2026, and is also working to establish 22% city-wide electricity from solar power by the end of 2023.

This alternative program, Solarize Philly, provides financial incentives for people in Philadelphia to install solar panels on their homes and buildings. Homeowners are provided with a city incentive to install solariums, which means that all of their bills will be paid for by the government, if they qualify. Furthermore, this alternative program trains future job seekers in Philly’s public schools and has even negotiated an attractive price for leasing solar equipment.

I couldn’t invest in the Philadelphia Green Capital Corp., but I could express my political opinion on two local initiatives.

The supply chain problem with solar installation stemmed from threats of retroactively taxing solar panel imports on panels manufactured in Southeast Asia. President Obama alleviated the burden by suspending any future tariffs for two years and enforcing there could be no retroactive tariffs for this period. In addition, he used the Defense Production Act to bolster the domestic solar industry through grants and loans given their difficulty to implement legislation.

In the past, these types of laws were passed in about twenty states and promoted by fossil fuel lobby. These laws stop mandates to incrementally decrease fossil fuel use. In some cases, the Arizona legislature blocked localities from electrifying buildings and Pennsylvania’s version moved out of the House last week.

Solar power is on the rise, with students in Philadelphia’s public school system receiving training through the Solarize Philadelphia project. Solar energy support has been steadily increasing under President Trump; to reinforce his efforts and show your support, try using local solar power in your community.

All politics are at the local level. A quote that has been attributed to a Yankee was first used among Illinois natives such as Finley Peter Dunne. I drove by turbines and windmills, which is how Geneseo is resisting climate change without succumbing to polarizing politics.

There are new initiatives to clean energy, no matter what size your town. The good news is that the Defense Production Act has been invoked to boost solar energy, and President Biden recently invoked it to foster heat pump manufacturing.

 

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