published Thursday, March 17th, 2011

The Bait

about Clay Bennett...

The son of a career army officer, Bennett led a nomadic life, attending ten different schools before graduating in 1980 from the University of North Alabama with degrees in Art and History. After brief stints as a staff artist at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and the Fayetteville (NC) Times, he went on to serve as the editorial cartoonist for the St. Petersburg Times (1981-1994) and The Christian Science Monitor (1997-2007), before joining the staff of the ...

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SavartiTN said...

No, this is all wrong. The trap should be "oil" or "King Coal." There isn't a nastier, longer lasting disaster than a coal plant nearby having a coal ash spill. Plus, the locals suffer long term exposure to coal dust that includes lead, mercury, and other lovely heavy metals.

Nothing wrong with long as you don't build them in Japan. France has been doing just fine with their nuclear reactors for years and years.

March 17, 2011 at 12:18 a.m.
jennifermontes said...

I agree with Savarti... Nuclear is still the safest energy source we have, regardless of the disasters that are happening in Japan.

The nuclear plants have a bad rap because when they have problems, they are very acute. Coal and oil on the other hand, create chronic problems that can last decades.

March 17, 2011 at 12:46 a.m.
nucanuck said...

Don't be to quick to endorse nuclear power. If the worst happens in Japan,as seems entirely possible,we may find our fields of grain and fruited plains irradiated,not to mention our children.

Over the next few weeks we will learn the extent of the problems that the whole world faces because of one site on the other side of the world. It appears that the Japanese nuclear facility is lurching out of control. Officials are being circumspect in their public comments,but the full impact will come out soon.

If the Northern Hemisphere is negatively impacted,how can we rationalize the use of nuclear energy? Let's wait and watch before defending or condemning nuclear.

March 17, 2011 at 1:15 a.m.
trburrows said...

remember, this is europe not usa. they dont know about safety like we do. russia, no concrete containment. french dont build nothing. they buy from other countries. japan follows russia

March 17, 2011 at 1:31 a.m.
nucanuck said...

"this is europe not usa" ?? Japan is in Asia the west...from whence come the prevailing winds.

As to safety,your information is a few decades out of date.

Actually your post is so error ridden that you might want to hit that "suggest removal" button and spare yourself some embarrassment.

March 17, 2011 at 1:52 a.m.
trburrows said...

since you have no backup or posts to help you, we do not believe my info is decades out of date. asia is europe. and the wind does not blow west all the time. if it so error ridden then you hit the button, the rest of us do not agree with you. you bw's twin too?

March 17, 2011 at 2:09 a.m.
blackwater48 said...

Vive la French Nukes!

When Speaker Boehner praises France you know something's up. Last time John of Orange spoke of Gaul he was pushing freedom fries. I realize that history is not important to most Republicans (let's not look back, we must look forward) but here goes:

The state owned nuclear firms, EDF and Areva, are both major players in developing next generation nuclear plants. There are 58 nuclear facilities in France (with two more on the way) generating about 85% of their electricity. When the question is asked, 'Why does France rely on nuclear energy?" the popular response is, 'No oil, no coal, no gas, no choice.'

Their national commitment was forged, however, as a result of the OPEC oil embargo in 1973. Most electricity at the time was being generated at oil burning facilities. Oil prices rose 400% and there was an outcry for change. Nuclear power was the best option at the time.

Claude Mandil, the General Director for Energy and Raw Materials at the Ministry of Industry, said, ""French people like large projects. They like nuclear for the same reasons they like high speed trains and supersonic jets."

FRONTLINE producer Jon Palfreman wrote, "Ironically, the French nuclear program is based on American technology. After experimenting with their own gas-cooled reactors in the 1960s, the French gave up and purchased American Pressurized Water Reactors designed by Westinghouse. Sticking to just one design meant the 56 plants were much cheaper to build than in the US. Moreover, management of safety issues was much easier: the lessons from any incident at one plant could be quickly learned by managers of the other 55 plants."

Mandil concurred. The "return on experience" is much greater in a standardized system. In America, it's more a free for all with many different designs managed by many different utilities.

Today, the French nuclear program may be advanced but it's not without incident. In 2008, a French nuclear plant spilled uranium into the groundwater and two weeks later a burst pipe leaked uranium at another facility. The Japanese disaster has 'energized' nascent antinuclear activists and the Socialist party is demanding a review of French nuclear policy. Reuters is reporting a French spokesman acknowledged "lessons should be drawn from the crisis in Japan," and inched closer to opening a national debate on how it generates its power.

President Sarkozy stated, however, that curtailing nuclear power was "unthinkable."

March 17, 2011 at 3:06 a.m.
fairmon said...


A generals congressional hearing regarding risk. This proves neither party is intellectually ahead.

March 17, 2011 at 6:13 a.m.
fairmon said...

Mandil concurred. The "return on experience" is much greater in a standardized system. In America, it's more a free for all with many different designs managed by many different utilities.

Get real Mandil, there are some risk we are willing to take;

How could our lobbyist system work if we did what you suggest?

How would our favors for votes and donations process work?

There is nothing "cheap" about us! How we can do all we do and still live well? (psssst, hand over mouth) We are in debt up to our eye balls.

We should have waited on the french to develop nuclear capability and a safe design. We would still be waiting and not have a nuke risk.

March 17, 2011 at 6:38 a.m.
EaTn said...

This reminds me of the saying "that when you're up to your behind in alligators, you remember that the goal was to drain the swamp". Our problem is that we've never had a viable energy goal but one based on the flow of money to and from Washington, DC. Nuclear energy is here to stay (where can it go?) so part of the goal should be to design, build, retrofit and shut-down these facilities as safely as we know how.

March 17, 2011 at 7:01 a.m.
woody said...

I know it's still early..well, maybe not for some of you..but it's still early. Will someone please tell me why some here are actually holding up France as a shining example of anything?? Well, okay there is the whole wine thing..and they may have taken love to a whole new level..and there are the Louvre, Eiffel Tower and Arc D' Triumph. But beyond all that France is nothing more than a country and society know for little else than taking the " path of least resistance."

Seriously, though, concerning today's 'toon'..can anyone say, "The lesser of all evils." Now which is it??

Think about it..Woody

March 17, 2011 at 7:18 a.m.
fairmon said...

A sarcastic view of both parties.

I yield to the former speaker of the house Nancy Pelosi that took the position we will just have to pass this health care reform bill to learn what is in it. In other words her position would probably be we will just have to let a nuclear sight blow up to see what happens and the eventual impact on the American people.

We now have a speaker that won't pay for any thing and wants to reduce regulations. So, by default in a bi-partisan we may be about to take another risk of something blowing up such as the health care bill may do. Based on her health care position it is likely her position on nuclear power would be similar. Surely the fact it may be good for her substantial investment in natural gas would not be a factor.

Thanks to the former speaker if a nuclear event occurs everyone would have health care whether they wanted it or not and end of life counseling.

March 17, 2011 at 7:20 a.m.
Dumbledore403 said...

I think I am of two minds here... I am a electrical engineer's son and can hear my father saying: "It's safe>" But I also am hearing from scientists I respect saying "No, it is not." I think we need to err on the side of caution here, and I realize that this will run afoul of my Dad. But sometimes the potential danger is just too great.

March 17, 2011 at 7:23 a.m.
limric said...

Good cartoon Clay. A powerful message conveyed by the simplest of images. I do have to agree with 'SavartiTN & jenifermontes though.

March 17, 2011 at 8:14 a.m.
delmar said...

Happy St. Patrick's Day everyone.

March 17, 2011 at 8:27 a.m.
sandyonsignal said...

The dilemma we face is that we need to get off of coal a.s.a.p. because of global warming, but nuclear power isn't addressing the issues of safety in the worst case scenarios. For years, people have worked on designs and what to do in the event of unfortunate calamities at nuclear plants, so some of these ideas are available, we just need to heed and pay for their advice; then, implement it before starting up the plants.

The risks associated with nuclear power deem it necessary to look at all safety aspects, even the most remote, to assure there are back up plans and ways to clean it up without damaging the planet. If they can't deliver that, then don't make plans to use it for a source of energy.

We also should develop solar and wind energy as another alternative. Sen. Alexander waged all out war against wind energy because it was unsightly and required more land. Of course, he's just a shill for nuclear and coal. Wind energy doesn't kill and ruin the planet for a half a million years the way nuclear does, so he needs to quit opining about turbines ruining the beauty of Appalachia.

If politicians don't care about the public safety and the environment, they should not be in office. They are working against the public's interest.

March 17, 2011 at 8:36 a.m.
Musicman375 said...

Clay, is this 'toon clarifying that your previous one didn't get your message across? Are you really having a knee-jerk reaction against nuclear power in the wake of recent events, or have you always been against it?

March 17, 2011 at 8:50 a.m.
Eddo said...

This cartoon is way, way off-base. Nuclear power plants have been in use in the US for more than 42 years and there has never, ever been a death attributed to these reactors!

March 17, 2011 at 8:56 a.m.
woody said... Eddo..speaking strictly as a only takes one. Now there's an encouraging thought. Unplugging..Woody

March 17, 2011 at 9:08 a.m.
bret said...

Well, at least we all learned one thing here today. "Asia is Europe."

Thanks trburrows. Did you get that pearl of wisdom from Michelle Bachmann, by any chance? Both of you seem to be geographically-challenged.

March 17, 2011 at 9:19 a.m.
SeaMonkey said...

no, bret. he probably got it from the man who thought there were 57 states, obama. the man who can't confirm where he was born....even though the rest of us have to produce a birth certificate for all kinds of reasons....but somehow the president can't.

this cartoon is knee jerk and nothing more. a well crafted cartoon that says nothing.

March 17, 2011 at 9:43 a.m.
lkeithlu said...

"obama. the man who can't confirm where he was born.." Tin foil hat needs adjusting again.

March 17, 2011 at 9:49 a.m.
limric said...

Here Ikeithlu try this,

Here’s the answer to all conservatard debate diversions and Obama Jabbing, just say: Ronald Reagan. Why do you oppose Healthcare reform? “Ronald Reagan” What do you think should be done about the radiation leak in Japan? “Ronald Reagan” Where was Obama born? “Ronald Reagan” Why do you oppose Wall Street financial reform? "Ronald Reagan" What should being done about Libya? "Ronald Reagan" And especially, Do you think there will be an equitable outcome in Wisconsin? “Ronald Reagan” In 10 years we'll get to hear about how G. W. Bush's foresight got us out of a war that Obama entrenched us in. I'm not kidding.

March 17, 2011 at 10:22 a.m.
blackwater48 said...


Until the day after.

Some of the big things include Hurricane Katrina, BP Oil Spill, 9/11, Enron, Bernie Madoff, and the Wall Street collapse.

And each and everyone of us have faced unimaginable tragedy in own lives. Afterward, how many times have you said, 'Wow. I never saw THAT coming.' I know I have.

It's naive to think nuclear power is perfectly safe. Safe guards have been carefully planned and considered, there are redundant emergency procedures in place, and the U.S. has a pretty good safety record.

But it's critically important to carefully weigh risk vs. reward. I still believe that nuclear power must be part of our long range energy goal. (I would like to see solar power become a viable energy option. There, the biggest risk is sunburn.)

And there are limitations. A nuclear power plant must be located near a major water supply, like a river or ocean. When all else fails, as we are witnessing in Japan, you need access to lots of water to keep the core from melting down.

In America today we have reactors built along fault lines in earthquake territory. Over 7 million people live within 50 miles of the San Onofre nuclear facility in San Diego. In 2008, the California Energy Commission concluded that San Onofre could face “larger and more frequent earthquakes” than the maximum 7.0 magnitude quake projected when the plant was designed.

Because, you know, an 7.5 or 8.2 or 9.0 earthquake was unimaginable.

March 17, 2011 at 10:32 a.m.
canarysong said...

Germany Becomes A Real Clean Energy Leader - by Aaron Colter

"Germany announced recently that 17% of the electricity used in homes through out the country comes from a renewable source, as well as the doubling of solar installations in 2010 alone. The country is currently the largest photovoltaic solar market in the world, with new systems producing over 7 GWp, or approximately half of the global market. Germany is also  one of the largest producers of wind power on the planet, at 27 GW installed. This roughly represents 16% of all wind power in the world, as well as making it Europe’s biggest user of this form of clean energy.

Germany is setting a goal of 35% renewable energy by 2020, and 80% by 2050. Admirable goals, indeed, but not the best in terms of strategic planning, as that award goes to Sweden. In 2006, Sweden made the pledge to become an oil-free nation within fifteen years.

The United States goals are, unfortunately, much lower than the European countries. Under the Obama administration’s energy plan, America is hoping to have 10% renewable energy by 2012, and 25% by 2050, in addition to reducing greenhouse gases by 80% in the same year. The report released from the President’s office says that the United States should be a leader in climate change, but with such modest goals it leaves one to wonder how soon that will happen, especially in light of a Congress loaded down with fossil fuel loving, budget cutting happy politicians more interested in a political statement than real energy change."

BTW - in terms of average annual sunlight and wind, Germany is very comparable to most of the eastern US and has considerably less than most of the western US.

We could do much better!

THERE ARE JOBS HERE and profit to be made (in addition to the obvious benefits of reducing dependence on oil and nuclear). Things that could do much more to stimulate our economy than cutting the pay and benefits of teachers, vital services for the needy, and defunding agencies responsible for protecting public health and the environment.

March 17, 2011 at 11:55 a.m.
quietreader said...

I guess everyone would be happier if the government or EPA shutdown all the fossil plants, all the nuke plants undammed the rivers and put solar panels on each house and a windmill in each yard. Then, as long as the wind is blowing (but not too hard) and the sun is shining we could have electricity. Everyone seems to want life to be risk free. Expensive and unreliable but it's green.

March 17, 2011 at 12:03 p.m.
canarysong said...

Thanks, trb; I haven't laughed so hard in days.

"remember, this is europe not usa. they dont know about safety like we do. russia, no concrete containment. french dont build nothing."

"since you have no backup or posts to help you, we do not believe my info is decades out of date. asia is europe. and the wind does not blow west all the time."

I am looking up the links right now to prove that Japan is not in Europe..... Oh, here it is....right next to the links that prove that the earth revolves around the sun, and the one proving that dropped objects will fall downward.


March 17, 2011 at 12:19 p.m.
woody said...

I believe I'll just continue in the 'vein' begun by Delmar a while ago.

"Too-ra-loo-ra-loo-ral..too-ra-loo-ra-li Too-ra-loo-ra-loo-ral..hush, now, don't you cry Too-ra-loo-ra-loo-ral..too-ra-loo-ra-li an Irish lullaby...." Unknown.

Think "Green" today..Woody

March 17, 2011 at 12:22 p.m.
canarysong said...


There is nothing "unreliable" about solar energy. Why, why, why do so many people continue to think that solar power only functions when the sun is shining? Modern systems have several ways of dealing with this. If you are interested in the specifics, I'm sure the information is easy to find online. As far as cost goes, yes the initial cost is significant but it will pay for itself over time and add to the resale value of your home. Some of our friends who have solar actually receive a check most months for the surplus energy that they sell to the local power company. Not everyone can afford the initial outlay, but how many people spend an equal dollar amount on something relatively frivolous, with no benefit of an eventual return on their investment? Plenty. And then they complain that clean energy is too expensive. Sometimes it's more a matter of priorities.

Wind turbines require very little wind to function, and harp recently informed me that newer residential wind turbines can handle winds up to 300mph.

If it can be functional and affordable in Germany and Sweden with less sun and wind than we have here, then we could make it work here. Oh, wait,... could it be the interests of big oil companies that are holding us back? Naaah, public welfare is always their primary concern!

March 17, 2011 at 1:04 p.m.
delmar said...

Having a hard time deciding which post to toast with my green beer for being my favorite sarcastically intended post.

Thanks Woody for the shoutout. Erin go braugh!

March 17, 2011 at 1:14 p.m.
hambone said...

All the sources of energy that man uses are the product of two things.

Sunlight and time.

The sun doesn't shine all the time and the rest is just a waiting game!

March 17, 2011 at 1:20 p.m.
Leaf said...

RE: "Then, as long as the wind is blowing (but not too hard) and the sun is shining we could have electricity." --Well, if the sun stops shining then all life on earth will cease to exist, so if that happens we won't have to worry about electricity.

"Everyone seems to want life to be risk free." --Well, why not minimize the risks if you can? It's not like it's an adreneline rush to get your electricity from a nuclear plant, so where's the upside to taking greater risk?

"Expensive and unreliable but it's green."
--Expensive? Not all things can be monetized, like safety or national security or health. And I've never bought one but I'm pretty sure nuclear plants aren't cheap. I'd venture to guess that most Japanese right now aren't thinking, "Sure, we are having a little trouble with a few nuclear reactors at the moment, but at least they were cheaper than solar." --Unreliable? I'd say the sun itself is pretty darned reliable, and a distributed system of dozens or hundreds of generation points is inherently more reliable than just one, plus you don't have so much transmission loss.

March 17, 2011 at 1:26 p.m.
canarysong said...

Here is another new book sitting on my shelf waiting to be read; it comes highly recommended by 'The Economist'.

Natural Capitalism: Creating the Next Industrial Revolution by Paul Hawken, Amory Lovins, and L. Hunter Lovins

It explores the lucrative opportunities for businesses in an era of approaching environmental limits.

"In this groundbreaking blueprint for a new economy, three leading business visionaries explain how the world is on the verge of a new industrial revolution-one that promises to transform our fundamental notions about commerce and its role in shaping our future. Natural Capitalism describes a future in which business and environmental interests increasingly overlap, and in which businesses can better satisfy their customers' needs, increase profits, and help solve environmental problems all at the same time."

"Natural capital refers to the natural resources and ecosystem services that make possible all economic activity, indeed all life. These services are of immense economic value; some are literally priceless, since they have no known substitutes. Yet current business practices typically fail to take into account the value of these assets-which is rising with their scarcity. As a result, natural capital is being degraded and liquidated by the wasteful use of such resources as energy, materials, water, fiber, and topsoil."

"The first of natural capitalism's four interlinked principles, therefore, is radically increased resource productivity. Implementing just this first principle can significantly improve a firm's bottom line, and can also help finance the other three. They are: redesigning industry on biological models with closed loops and zero waste; shifting from the sale of goods (for example, light bulbs) to the provision of services (illumination); and reinvesting in the natural capital that is the basis of future prosperity."

You can read excerpts here:

March 17, 2011 at 1:35 p.m.
limric said...

I’m sure we can all agree that all energy production is a trap. If not pollutants (fossil fuels), then in required land area (solar, wind etc). Some perspective. The Nature Conservancy published a paper and determined that nuclear energy is the least land-intensive, as it requires only 1 square mile to produce 1 million megawatt-hours per year, enough electricity for about 90,000 homes. To produce the same amount of energy, geothermal energy requires 3 square miles, coal requires 4 square miles, natural gas needs 8, petroleum needs 18 and biofuels (corn and others plants) require up to 500. Wind farms require more than 30 square miles. In sum, green energy will require at least 128,002 square miles of new land to meet current goals by 2030. That’s larger than the entire State of New Mexico. WOW! If you lined 300 miles of mountaintops from Chattanooga, to Bristol, Va., with wind turbines, they would still produce only one-quarter the electricity from one reactor on one square mile at the TVA’s Watts Bar Plant. In this debate, perhaps it’s worth remembering that Sancho pointed out to Don Quixote, “Look, your worship … what we see there are not giants but windmills, and what seem to be their arms are the vanes that turned by the wind make the millstone go.” We need to look at things honestly, for what they are, not just for what we want them to be. This way our energy sources can evolve wisely and not based on warrantless fears or junk science. And now, I shall tip a few, and follow it with a wee dram.
Happy St Patrick's Day Mo Chairde.

March 17, 2011 at 1:51 p.m.
lkeithlu said...

I'm kind of split regarding nuclear. Although you can get a tremendous amount of energy in a small facility, the waste is a real issue. The French recycle much of their waste to make more fuel (U-235 and Pu-239 are fissionable; Pu-239 is the result when U-238 absorbs a neutron) They produce in 20 years the equivalent of a BIC lighter sized piece per household that must be stored. The plant infrastructure itself also becomes radioactive, so plumbing, etc cannot be disposed of when it is replaced. Pu-239 must be handled remotely-a nanogram ingested can be fatal. The t1/2's of some of these byproducts are measured in 100,000's of years, so the waste just accumulates.

If I had to choose, I'd say to use nuclear as one part of a varied and diverse system-build the plants where there is little chance of seismic activity, and use solar, wind, biofuels, geothermal, hydro, whatever is best suited to the need. But more importantly, increase efficiency. Our culture uses more energy than any other per capita. Part of this is our dependence on cars and trucks where smaller nations could do with mass transport, but part is our wasteful nature: huge houses that we must heat and cool, large cars, outdoor lighting 24/7, centralized agriculture, stores open 24/7, suburban sprawl, and demand for consumer goods. We will have to reduce our consuming along with diversifying our energy sources.

Sad to say, although some groups, including corporations and municipalities quietly do exactly this, being energy conscience and environmentally aware is frowned upon by many, who call it "liberal-progressive", "elitist", "treehugging" and other derogatory terms.

March 17, 2011 at 2:12 p.m.
Musicman375 said...

woody, there is an excellent a cappella arrangement of that song. I can't remember the group's name for sure, but it may have been the Swingle Singers. Anywho, it is a great choice for today! Cheers

March 17, 2011 at 2:31 p.m.
miraweb said...

Engineers must be able design to the conditions that actually exist, not those they wish existed or the conditions that seem convenient for policy or profit.

The site did survive an earthquake larger than its design spec, but the spec didn't adequately protect against a power loss. Human knowledge has always progressed a bit haphazardly - we invested in the Indian Ocean Tsunami warning system only after 250,000 lives were lost. . If a corporation is considering designing down just becaue building for conditions we already know exist might be "too expensive" we need to have on the table the option to "not do the project." . An engineer friend of mine noted that the largest earthquakes happen almost excusively along the subduction faults - which in this case is on the east side of the island. Whether your are for or against nuclear power, this experience should leave the lesson that it is not safe to build these facilities where we have been placing them in some cases.
. It may be safe somewhere else (far beyond my expertise). If we have to invest in transmission lines and infrastructure to move the electricity to higher risk areas and keep the plants in more isolated areas, that would be the right thing to do. If it is too expensive to do that and bring electricity to market then the right response is to NOT DO IT.

March 17, 2011 at 3:26 p.m.
hambone said...

limric, I find your figures misleading. 1 sq. mile for a nuclear plant does not include the land destroyed at the urainium mine. 4 sq. miles for a coal fired plant does not include the strip mine or mountain top removed. With the 30 sq. miles for the wind farm, most of that 30 sq. miles can still be used for other things. Crops, pasture or even mining. Solar panels block out the sun from the ground under them. would be a good place to grow mushrooms.

March 17, 2011 at 3:58 p.m.
lkeithlu said...

Parking lots. Covered with solar panels. In our hot southern summers I will choose where I do business based on whether I can park in the shade.

March 17, 2011 at 4:06 p.m.
Rivieravol said...

So somebody who graduated from a Directional School in Alabama with a degree in Arts is now a Nuclear Power expert?

Hey Dork, have you even read TVA's Emergency plan? Do you know the Nuclear plant in Japan wasn't destroyed by the earthquake but the Tsunami? Do you even know what a Tsunami is?

Even Ohbama supports Nuclear power, how about a cartoon making fun of him?

March 17, 2011 at 4:10 p.m.
canarysong said...


That is one of the most brilliant ideas I've heard in a long time! I wonder if it's workable? Someone should really look into it. There's nothing like multi-tasking!

March 17, 2011 at 4:39 p.m.
SeaMonkey said...

sorry..obama keeps the birth certificate thing going.. not anyone else....he won't end it. where is it?

simple question...where is it? show it.

everyone can claim they were born here...that's easy.

everyone in this room can probably prove it...for some reason it's a big mystery with him.

March 17, 2011 at 4:59 p.m.
lkeithlu said...

Sea-Francis-monkey: Repeat after me: "If Obama was not born in the US, people far more powerful than me and who have everything to gain, like John McCain and Hillary Clinton, would have proven it by now". Google it-it's been offered online for months. AND get that hat adjusted-this is really getting old.

March 17, 2011 at 5:16 p.m.
woody said...

You are sooo welcome Delmar..and Musicman, I would really like to hear that particular rendition. I can't imagine "Too-ra-loo-ra-loo-ral" being sung acapella but I'll bet it's beautiful. I just downloaded a John Gary (karaoke) rendition earlier this so I could do it for a group of seniors yesterday. There aren't a whole lot lyrics but they say so much. I hope everyone had a great "St. Paddy's Day", and maybe at least one good shot of Bushmills for good luck. Cheers..Woody

March 17, 2011 at 5:59 p.m.
fairmon said...


Have you calculated the ROI on solar panels and how many years are required to recover the investment excluding maintenance or replacement cost? It is a good clean and desirable alternative but it is not a good economic option in one generation. If you are going to sell them leave the economic justification off. Don't you think those businesses getting government grants to assist them with the cost of installing would have already been all over solar if it was a good investment. They get a subsidy and as a capital investment they can amortize the cost over time to reduce taxes. Gas to $8-10 a gallon near term instead of several years out and the economics improve although higher oil cost will also increase the cost of solar panels. I wonder how much pollution and environmental damage occurs in the production process? What energy sources do those producing solar panels use? You may find this interesting.

How many neighborhood associations will not allow solar panels and wind mills? I think I may have to relocate although I have ample room and acreage for wind mills. I may be able to get a waiver on the brick roof requirement. The neighbors may become violent. Wind mills really aren't pretty and they do make noise you know.

What do you think about natural gas as an interim option for motorized vehicles and generation of power? Have you checked out geothermal as a major reduction in electrical consumption? Hydro-generation is clean and works well in some areas.

People knock big oil companies except when oil and gas was so cheap they were losing money and several went bankrupt. Several of them are now investing heavily in developing alternatives. Of course their pursuit of a clean renewable alternative is for a selfish motive. Those low life's want to sell it at a profit, can you believe that? I am not supporting the excessive compensation of management I am referring to responsible well managed companies net profits on which they pay taxes unless they are a congressional favored like the financial sector.

Many that can afford alternatives don't because of the economics and the rest of us can't afford it after taxes. Is it possible there is bi-partisan agreement to not allow those over 60 to obtain iodine tablets? Jist kidding.

March 17, 2011 at 6:03 p.m.
potcat said...

What the Hell! I thought the cartoons subject today was about the Trap we have set for ourselves and the EARTH. "Nuclear Power"Be it War or Energy does'nt leave any room for error when a Nuclear event happens.... why in the world are you STILL bringing up Obama's birth certificate!

March 17, 2011 at 6:12 p.m.
mtngrl said...

So SeaMonkey - show us YOUR birth certificate then since you claim "everyone in this room can probably prove it"... I've never seen one for a brine shrimp before

March 17, 2011 at 6:15 p.m.
Musicman375 said...

woody, it was actually Acoustix who performed the arrangement of which I was remembering. Here they are performing it in concert

Although it isn't the studio recording, it is still pretty darn good. Enjoy!

March 17, 2011 at 6:50 p.m.
alprova said...

I see that a trip to the hospital has allowed me to miss so much.

Why just today, I have been informed to the 'facts' that the earthquake that hit Japan was so severe, that Asia is now located in Europe, and;

Francis is now a Sea Monkey. How odd.

March 17, 2011 at 7:25 p.m.
lkeithlu said...

Heeeeeeyyyyy Alprova! Welcome back! Hospital? Are you okay?

March 17, 2011 at 7:34 p.m.
canarysong said...

Yay!!! Alprova is back!

I hope the doctors didn't remove any of your p*ss and vinegar while you were in the hospital!

March 17, 2011 at 8:38 p.m.
sd said...

"Francis is now a Sea Monkey. How odd." Comics used to have ads for sea monkeys along with x-ray specs and other gizmos. I still have no idea what they actually are. My guess is they were about as legit as the specs.

Anyway, 'toon. Clay, don't be a hater (so, so hateful). Until other technologies improve, nuclear is the way to go. You know it. I know it. TVA knows it.

I don't think wind power will ever be a serious power source in this country. It just isn't working out like we'd hoped. There are too many drawbacks and too many limitations.

Solar would be ideal, but cell efficiency STILL hasn't reached the level we thought it would by now. (Too bad Moore's Law doesn't apply to solar cells.) Until solar tech improves enough to make it economic for business and residential to use we, as a society, will predictably stick to what we know best.

Alternative: sit around with the lights out. Fire may be man's greatest invention, but seriously--no thanks.

March 17, 2011 at 9:37 p.m.
alprova said...

I'm okay. I've had three bouts of pneumonia since December. Hopefully, I've got it beat this time. I probably will not be up to par for several more days, but I'll be checking in when I feel up to it.

March 17, 2011 at 9:42 p.m.
alprova said...

Sea Monkey will probably not take the time to inform himself to the fact of the matter, but Donald Trump's pants on fire statement this past week regarding the President prompted Politifact to issue this following response to the matter.

Click on prior last sentence to be taken to the page.

March 17, 2011 at 9:48 p.m.
dude_abides said...

"No souvenirs," Serhiy warns -- everything is radioactive. He says contamination levels vary from place to place. But it will be hundreds of years before Pripyat is safe to live in.

In the rush to evacuate the city, few residents had time to take more than a few small possessions with them. But over the years, the town has been picked clean by thieves who took whatever they could and sold it.

Oleksiy Dolia, an ethnographer, says people throughout Ukraine may be unwittingly living with contaminated furniture and other property stolen from Pripyat.

"There's nothing left there. The houses are empty. Nearly everything was left in these houses -- furniture, [audio and video] equipment. Everything was there. But now there's nothing left," Dolia says.

Once a year, on 26 April, onetime Pripyat residents return to the town. Serhiy says it is a chance for many to remember what their lives were like before the accident.

"Some of them haven't been here for 10 or 15 years. Some more, some less. They meet here. Sometimes they set up a table with food, they kiss one another, they take pictures, remembering what their lives were like in this town. They think back on the times they went to a certain restaurant, or to the swimming pool. There was a wonderful pool here, a wonderful stadium," Serhiy says.

As we leave Pripyat, we stop and say goodbye to a sole policeman manning the checkpoint on the road leading in and out of the town. But after a wrong turn, we find ourselves once again in the main square, with no police to stop us. It seems anyone can enter the radioactive zone and not be detected.

March 17, 2011 at 10:10 p.m.
fairmon said...

Perhaps at some point we will know the facts surrounding the event in Japan and learn from it as we have others. Perhaps we need to look to a team of qualified scientist to provide guidance and the correct answers. That may be a more reliable source than listening to politicians and those overly zealous journalist that seek the sensational. It may be even be a more reliable source than the TFP highly opinionated cartoonist.

The nuclear event is a tragedy however, the tragedy is the people without water food and shelter. Transporting of critical supplies is nearly impossible with roads destroyed. Destruction is so great many are still missing. Rubble, debris and inclement wealther still make it impossible to search in some areas. We are worried about Libya and assuring an oil supply under the pretense of we are doing it "for the people". Where is the U.N. resolution regarding Japan suggesting the full effort of every member country to maximize assistance? Japan is not a "no fly" zone. Helicopters could deliver food, water, medical supplies and other critical survival needs while roads and other infrastructure is being repaired.

Do we have our priorities right? Are we more concerned with the middle east where a high percent don't care for us than Japan who has loaned us money, built factories in the U.S. providing good jobs and supported us in essentially every way possible. We seem more concerned about what might happen in the middle east than we are about what has already happened in Japan. Two quagmires in the middle east bankrupting us is not enough, we are now about to be in a 3rd which may be worse than the other two combined. Do we have the military ability to do more? Could we defend our self if we were to be attacked? Did Hilary know something when she ran the ad about who would you want to answer the phone ? What would you do?

March 17, 2011 at 11:33 p.m.
Tmbrwlfofga said...

If nuclear power is equivalent to a bear trap, then coal power is equivalent to having a land mine under the outlet. There is no method for generating power that is safer than nuclear power. That is not saying that nuclear power is safe, just stating that nuclear power in its totality is a better choice than coal power. In fact, Georgia Power is closing two coal plants in Georgia this year. They simply cannot afford to meet the new industry standards for pollution.
Now of course many will start waving their hands in the air stating, "What about wind or solar power?" Well boys and girls, remember the hell that was created over the proposal for wind turbines on Lookout Mountain? Truth is, there is no magic solution. As of right now, nuclear is our safest and most cost effective option that poses less of a direct threat. Granted, a disaster at a nuclear plant is likely ten times worse than that of a coal plant. However in being awash with the facts, we know that the safety record of nuclear plants is head and shoulders above the others.

March 18, 2011 at 12:02 a.m.
trburrows said...

canary, if it werent for my idiocy who whould you laugh at? alprova, welcome back and get weller soon. any more country locations you need, let me know

March 18, 2011 at 2:45 a.m.
delmar said...
March 18, 2011 at 6:59 a.m.
woody said...

Thank you, Musicman. That was a particularly beautiful way to spend a couple of minutes this morning. I was told one time that a good barbershop quartet could sing names selected from a phone book and make it sound special..well I guess that is true, but what I heard this morning was truly special. I will be 'bookmarking' that page for future reference. Oh yeah, and a hearty Welcome Back Alprova from me as well. Sipping it black..Woody

March 18, 2011 at 7:22 a.m.
fairmon said...


Ditto Woody's comments. I do prefer my older generations rap. I can even understand the words.

March 18, 2011 at 9:06 a.m.
Musicman375 said...

I'm glad you two enjoyed it. I haven't listened to much barbershop in the last few years, but that was a nice change yesterday.

Al, I'm glad you're almost well. I can't imagine having a three month bout with such a nasty illness, and I pray you will have a full recovery in the days to come.

March 18, 2011 at 9:34 a.m.
canarysong said...

Alprova, this is for you, some laughs to aid you in your recovery;

Obama Cracks Jokes at Gridiron Dinner By Daniel Kurtzman

President Obama drew big laughs as he poked fun at himself and his potential 2012 GOP rivals at the Gridiron Club Dinner. (note: this is a 'roast' style event)

Stepping to the podium as the Marine Band played "Hail to the Chief," Obama got the laughs rolling from the get-go as he waved them off and instead told them to "play that song we talked about." The band broke into "Born in the U.S.A."

"Some things just bear repeating," Obama quipped, wryly referencing the birthers who refuse to believe he's an American.

On the last time he appeared at the Gridiron dinner in 2006:...."Back then I was a newcomer who couldn't get anything done in the Senate. Now I'm a president who can't get anything done in the Senate."

On a new spirit of bipartisanship:... "We're seeing people with strong disagreements get along as never before. You have the former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, current Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney -- working together every day, sharing a host body. It's inspiring. Or creepy. Depending on how you look at it."

On House Speaker John Boehner's unusual coloring:..."I used to think that it was a tan. But after seeing how often he tears up, I've come to realize: that's not a tan, that's rust."

On Bill O'Reilly:... "I love the press. I even sat for an interview with Bill O'Reilly right before the Super Bowl. That was a change of pace. I don't often get a chance to be in a room with an ego that's bigger than mine."

On his critics:... "I know that people think I'm not passionate enough. That I'm too cool. That I'm too detached. But as I was going through my daily routine -- sitting alone in my study, meditating, thinking about how to win the future -- I pondered this critique, and calmly rejected it as thoroughly illogical. And for all those who think I golf too much, let me be clear. I'm not spending time on the golf course -- I'm investing time on the golf course."

It looks like he could have a career in comedy after his tenure in the White House (yes, I know this is an easy set-up for our right-wing friends;...have at it!).

There is much more at:

March 18, 2011 at 12:54 p.m.
BigRidgePatriot said...

clay bennett is obviously just another uninformed liberal bed wetter that really should educate himself or stop sharing his opinion, really.

Every time we have a problem emotionally driven whiners like this start with the sky is falling stuff. All we need is a windmill and a solar panel and all will be good and we will be safe from all of the evil sources of energy (the ones that actually work)!

I would like to see a cartoon of Obama in a chicken little costume running around closing the oil spigots, the coal fired plants, the nuclear energy, and then staring at the rioting, poverty, pestilence and squalor he created with a smirk on his face and a “hope and change” button on his lapel.

TFP should be ashamed for giving this bennett hack a platform.

March 18, 2011 at 2:04 p.m.
canarysong said...


I finally had time to address your question about the ROI (return on investment) for residential solar systems. Here goes....

Basically it can vary greatly depending on where you live, according to the price of electricity in your area and what type of incentives might be available to you. The estimated time to break even on the investment ranged from 4 years to 15 years. On a system for solar hot water panels, the payback time was only 5 to 8 years (I'm looking into this one for myself!).

I looked for sites that gave practical information and preferably were not trying to sell anything. This first site was by far the best one meeting that criteria. If you have any interest at all, this is the place to start. They have very clear-cut formulas to follow to determine costs and paybacks, as well as having a lot of helpful related articles.

"Your break even point may vary greatly based on where you live and how much you pay for electricity. If you live where you get a lot of sun and have high electricity costs, you will see a break even much sooner than a location that doesn't get as much sun and has low electricity costs."

"Another factor to consider when calculating solar panel ROI is the added value to your house. Realtor studies have shown that solar panels add value to your house. This added value is estimated at:15 x your yearly solar savings.

This can become a considerable amount, and increases every year [electric rates consistently rise]. By taking this into account, many solar panels can be seen to break even after a few short years."

For example: if you pay 25,000 for a solar system, subtract the federal and state incentives that you may be eligible for (both up front and annual), then the savings on your electric bill, and then the added value to your property (for an annual electric bill savings of $1,100 that would be $16,500 added to the value of your house). The final effective cost of the solar system is not nearly as high as it appears at first blush. After reaching your solar payback time, don't forget to factor in your internal rate of return of about 30% (please don't ask me what that means, I have no idea!). As an added bonus, it's an investment that you can really feel good about. Not everyone can afford it, but if you can it's hard to put a price on a feeling of well-being.

Here is another that might be helpful;

March 18, 2011 at 2:23 p.m.
nucanuck said...

BRP,I also find myself thinking that those who disagree with me are ill-informed. I think it may be a common personality weakness.

I will try to do better if you will.

March 18, 2011 at 2:37 p.m.
canarysong said...

My own observations on solar;

Colorado is one of the states that has invested most heavily in alternative energy, primarily solar and wind. One of the reasons that it has done so is because it is an industry that brings high-paying jobs to the state; in addition to the jobs that it has already created here, it is expected to bring in over 4,000 more jobs to the state in the near future. Alternative energy is also seen as one of the things that can help ensure a high quality of life in the state. Colorado communities typically place at the top of many lists of the best places in the US to live. This atmosphere also encourages businesses to locate here because they know that it will help them snag the best talent when seeking new higher level employees.

Colorado offers incentives to both home owners and businesses to help them offset the initial cost of installation. The taxes that pay for these incentives are APPROVED BY THE VOTERS. We want this and are willing to pay for it. And rather than dragging our economy down, these investments in sustainability and other quality of life programs seem to have helped keep our state economy strong. Colorado has weathered the recession far better than most states.

It is VERY common to see solar panels on homes in many types of neighborhoods here. More are going up all the time. I can't imagine any neighborhood association here forbidding them. Some other areas of the country might need to spend some time on public education and PR before solar panels are viewed as an asset rather than an eyesore. IMO solar panels are far more attractive than an ugly satellite dish stuck onto a house! Homes for sale that have solar command a higher selling price than those without it.

Where we live the use of solar is not limited to residential and commercial use, MANY city, county, and state building of various types (courthouses, rec centers, schools, offices) are powered by solar panels. The panels continue to go up despite the recession. Considering the recent budget cutbacks, they must have been deemed a good investment or precious tax dollars would not continue to be spent on them. I've noticed one very interesting looking 'sun farm' that has a large structure that almost looks like a long reflective skate board ramp. It reflects the sunlight back onto itself, thereby increasing its intensity and power.

Clearly there are options in approaching our energy needs. Like I said earlier, if Germany and Sweden have done such a good job of reducing their dependence on riskier forms of energy by effectively utilizing solar power, then we really should be taking a close look at what they are doing and see if we can learn something.

March 18, 2011 at 2:53 p.m.
mtngrl said...

Another way to really help with that ROI on residential solar is to sign up to be a Generation Partner with EPB:

They will help with $1000 installation costs and pay you for power. With what they pay, you could end up only needing to generate about 1/2 the power needed for your house to end up with free power and could end up getting a check instead of sending one.

More details here:

You can also start small, just a panel or 2 and work up from there.

March 18, 2011 at 3:13 p.m.
nurseforjustice said...

Alprova, glad you are back and feeling better. I will be praying for a full recovery.

Lkeith, I have said the same thing about the parking lots and solar panels for years. It is a great suggestion. I think the team approach to power is the key. We should not put all our eggs in one basket. Diversify using solar, wind, nuclear while trending down the coal and oil.

Just my humble opinion.

March 18, 2011 at 3:28 p.m.
canarysong said...

Great links, mountaingirl!

We have friends that do just that. They have a very large house and a large bank of solar panels. They draw power from the grid when the sun is not shining and still receive a check every month for the surplus energy produced by their panels, which they sell to the local power company.

I like your idea about starting small; I'll bet many of us have never considered that option.

March 18, 2011 at 3:39 p.m.
alprova said...

Big Ridge Patriot wrote: "clay bennett is obviously just another uninformed liberal bed wetter that really should educate himself or stop sharing his opinion, really."

Why? Because he raises the issue that nuclear energy comes with a risk? An article written the other day, and not by Mr. Bennett either, exposed the fact that several of the nuclear plants in OUR area, are not up to par. We sit on a major fault line and the 'big one' in our area, could occur unpredictably any day.

Shouldn't we have some discussion on the matter?

Every time we have a problem emotionally driven whiners like this start with the sky is falling stuff.

I guess then, you have not been paying attention to the cable news channels over the past several days. Fox, CNN, and MSNBC have sensationalized the event to the point that I gag watching the coverage.

I would like to see a cartoon of Obama in a chicken little costume running around closing the oil spigots, the coal fired plants, the nuclear energy, and then staring at the rioting, poverty, pestilence and squalor he created with a smirk on his face and a “hope and change” button on his lapel.

Well, unfortunately, what you would like to see is inconsequential. The President is not a part of this issue. You can't blame him for what has happened, no matter how badly you would like to.*

TFP should be ashamed for giving this bennett hack a platform.

The ironic nature of that comment is completely lost on you, I have no doubt.

March 18, 2011 at 3:46 p.m.
alprova said...

I fully admit to being a little short on knowledge when it comes to the workings of a nuclear energy plant, but the problem as I understand it is that when these plants became disabled due to the earthquake and the resulting tsunami, a lack of flowing water that has boiled away, has exposed fuel rods and caused them to become overheated, correct?

As I also understand it, this is not the first time that such an issue has cropped up either, historically.

Am I being to simplistic to expect that an emergency supply of water that can be used to cool these fuel rods should be a part of any planning that goes into the creation of a nuclear powered plant?

Why is there not only an available source of sufficient recyclable water, but also an elevated emergency generator that can be started to power water pumps and other systems necessary to assure a continuous flow of water to keep those rods cool?

Maybe I'm wrong, but could this radioactive disaster have been completely prevented?

March 18, 2011 at 4:05 p.m.
hambone said...


I don't worry about nuclear fallout.

I've already got too many kids and my hair is already falling out!

March 18, 2011 at 4:15 p.m.
BigRidgePatriot said...

nucanuk, I will do my best, but I am pretty sure that our very dim witted caricature artist is drawing pictures about things he knows close to nothing about. Unfortunately our commander in chief is about on par with our TFP scribbler when it comes to energy policy.

Lord, help us survive a couple more years of thebama.

March 18, 2011 at 4:32 p.m.
BigRidgePatriot said...


The only way you can get a reasonable ROI on solar is to buy used equipment at a dime on the dollar.

Everyone I know who has gone solar has done it this way. Unfortunately, there is not enough of that used equipment around for it to have any effect on society. It will help only the few that can work the deal on used gear.

March 18, 2011 at 4:37 p.m.
Sailorman said...

Quick look at solar

In our area, we get an average of 4.5 hours of sun per day. A 1 kW Solar PV system will produce 4.5 kWh per day, and 135 kWh in a 30-day month (4.5 x 30 days). The energy produced is in DC volts, and when it goes through the conversion into AC, you lose about 20-25% of that electricity.

Assume an average of 750 kWh consumption per month for a single family home. To cover 100% of this with solar, you would need about an 8 kW solar PV system. 135 kWh DC x 8 = 1080 kWh – 10% = 972 kWh AC at 100% production output of solar panel.

Most residential systems aim to eliminate 50-70% of the need for grid power. Nationally, costs average $9,000-12,000 per KW with smaller systems on the higher end.

Pretty pricey eh? No wonder few can come close to affording it. Of course, I always wonder what effect the availability of subsidies has on pricing. Most residential systems are 2-4KW systems which supply 50-70% of the required power. I'm envious of those who actually make money selling power back.

March 18, 2011 at 5:09 p.m.
canarysong said...

BPR wrote;

"The only way you can get a reasonable ROI on solar is to buy used equipment at a dime on the dollar."

This is getting old.... Do you not read posts that spoon feed you useful information upon which you can formulate opinions based on actual facts? Maybe you think that whatever your buddies tell you over a shared six-pack is more trustworthy than information from silly solar 'experts'. The ROI is easy to calculate, even for a 'mathematical cripple' like me.

If you have any interest in real information check out the links that I provided in my 2:23pm post and the links in mtngrl's 3:13pm post. Unless you can provide actual facts that refute the use of residential solar power as a viable alternative, try not to act like you know what you talking about when what you say is so obviously based upon sheer conjecture.

March 18, 2011 at 5:30 p.m.
alprova said...

It would be interesting, at least in my opinion, Mr. Patriot, to know what it is that you have achieved in your life, to contrast to your criticism of people who have achieved so much in theirs.

You're a fierce critic, but is your criticism justified? I'll bet my right arm that it isn't.

Barack Obama is the President of the United States. Now while you may have some personal problem with that, most of America did not, and still doesn't. You're but one of 308 million or so, and that will become apparent to you in November, 2012 when the man is re-elected to a second term.

And here's something else -- Not one man has ever graced that Oval Office knowing everything about anything. The experts are not elected to office.

Mr. Bennett is an asset to the Times Free Press. He's received numerous awards for his work. Can you say that about yourself? Of course not.

There's a fine line between criticism and jealousy. There's also a fine line between disagreement when it comes to opinion and an offering of disrespect.

Now these are strictly opinions, but you've crossed both of those lines too many times in here.

March 18, 2011 at 5:38 p.m.
fairmon said...


Thank you my esteemed colleague from Colorado. If the whole world goes to solar and wind do you promise I won't need nuclear, coal or fossil fuels? I have no fear of nuclear, it plus other alternatives and conservation will help us become energy independent. I do plan to pursue solar panels and a geothermal H&V system. I really don't support incentives and deductions. The point being why should anyone help me pay for them? Yes, I will accept the money since the government is making another stupid decision and it is my tax money. I better before Colorado gets it all. I may get your tax money and mine. If your ROI data is correct I will receive an incentive to make an investment that I will recover then essentially profit from in less than the typical business investment depreciation schedule, amazing.

My objection has been that the money governments spend and use to incent is tax money someone paid. Uh oh, my mistake, it isn't taxes someone paid it is borrowed money. That is good, my grand kids can pay it back. Or, maybe we will default and the Chinese will have paid for my solar and geothermal. A good criteria for investing is if the banks won't loan the money for a project then it may not be a good investment. I will ask the bank although I do only cash business, no credit cards or financing. People that collect interest and/or dividends grow wealthy over time. Those that pay them will usually remain or become poor. The power of compounding as exponential math will show is amazing.

The national debt is an example. It took 8 years to double it. At the current percent shortfall it will double again in 8 years. Divide 72 by the % increase and that will give you the number of years it takes to double an investment or a growing debt. Our 14 trillion debt becomes 28 trillion in 8 years, 42 trillion in 16 years, 70 trillion in 24 years. The math doesn't lie but politicians do. People simply don't won't to face reality or hear the truth if it is uncomfortable.

Why do I have such disdain for both parties. A republican president and a democratic congress teamed up to significantly increase the debt. Democrats, Pelosi, promised to stop the bleeding and require pay-go and it has now doubled with no change in sight. Our governments have a spending problem and unemployment reduces revenue. The tea pee'rs will make a lot of noise but they want to be elected again so when people keep screaming at every cut they will stop and blame somebody for their failure.

March 18, 2011 at 5:39 p.m.
canarysong said...

Harp; as I pointed out, the funds that pay for these incentives come from tax increases that are put on the ballot and are voted in by the taxpayers themselves. We have a right to vote for and to choose to pay for those things which we deem important. That's how our system is supposed to work.

March 18, 2011 at 6 p.m.
canarysong said...

BTW harp,

Get an avatar already! I don't know if I want to talk to you anymore until you have a face ;-)

       (just kidding........ kind of)
March 18, 2011 at 6:05 p.m.
BigRidgePatriot said...


The last time I checked a 2kW system cost about $20,000 (the cheaper one you can hook up to the grid, not the storage kind). $10 per Watt is the going rate. TVA is about right at 200kWhr per month from a 2kW system. (You get this using 8 hours of generation per day with a sun intensity factor of 0.4 for this region).

The trouble is, a 2kW system will very rarely generate enough power for a net gain. If you never reverse the meter you only get to save about $0.09/kWhr in Hamilton County for a monthly electricity savings of $18. Even if you could finance your system at 0% it would take you 20000/18 = 1111 months to pay off the system. That is 92 friggin’ years. Only an idiot would make that investment.

IF you could sell ALL of your power to EPB it would still only be $0.09 + $0.12 or $0.21 per kWhr or $42 a month. 20,000/42 is 476 months or 40 years. Your solar equipment will not last long enough to pay back your investment.

If you could buy your solar panels at a dime on the dollar the system will still cost about $4000 if you get a really good deal on labor. In that case, 4000/18 = 222 months or 18 years. You MIGHT make out in this case if nothing catastrophic happens to your system.

You can bend these numbers a little with tax credits and incentives but the results still come out pretty much the same. All of you #@&$^ posting links about the cost of solar and trying to pretend you know something about it should shut the “heck” up.

If you live off the grid and have to run a generator, or you pay over $0.40/kWhr results will be different, but this is a Chattanooga paper and here in the land of coal, hydro and nuclear generated electricity we pay ONLY $0.09/kWhr. That speaks for itself.

March 18, 2011 at 6:18 p.m.
BigRidgePatriot said...

Let me also point out that a typical 2000 sqft home using a heat pump to heat and cool will consume more like 2000 kWhr per month. The system you will need to match that power generation in Hamilton County would be around $200,000 and would almost certainly not fit on your southern facing roof. I am grinning at the frown on your face when you realize how many trees you will have to clear to avoid shading that roof.

This makes nucanuck's point that conservation is the only real way to beat the power company, especially when the power company is using coal and nuclear.

Of course, you could turn off the heat pump (and use one square of toilet paper to wipe with!).

March 18, 2011 at 6:29 p.m.
canarysong said...


Thank you for providing actual information this time. BTW, I have no intention of shutting the heck up, so you'll just have to deal, I'm afraid.

The problem with your argument is that, even if your information is correct, many people who read these posts are not living in Tennessee and the land of TVA. Therefore, jumping to the conclusion that solar power cannot be an economically feasible system to use is not a justifiable statement unless you want to speak specifically about your area.

If you had actually read my earlier post, you would have noticed that I pointed out that the ROI varied greatly depending on where one lived. I guess those dangling tea bags must have obscured your vision. Maybe you should switch to 'loose leaf'.

March 18, 2011 at 6:31 p.m.
canarysong said...

trburrows; re your 2:45 am post:

I believe in giving credit where credit is due, so I would like to commend you on the grace with which you handled the barrage of criticism and ridicule that came your way (some of it from me) following your huge gaffe yesterday. Well done.

March 18, 2011 at 6:47 p.m.
BigRidgePatriot said...


You just demonstrated why I do not often take the time to bother this crowd with facts. Even when you are faced with facts you cling to your dogma. You waste my time! We would all be better off if the ideologues would just accept everything I say as fact and move on. Just think of the time the forum loiterers could save! Just think how nice it would be to be informed rather than deluded!

On this topic I am an expert because I have been trying to find a way to use solar for YEARS. My brother is nearly completely energy independent using solar and wind. But he lives on a sailboat and the cost of the alternatives is truly more expensive. Even in his case, every solar panel and the windmill were used and/or bartered. The only new components in his system are things like controls and batteries.

Oh, and by the way. You should realize that I realize that many of the readers that lurk here are not local to Chattanooga. I wonder if all of the remote libs were not here if bennett could attract any significant support. I feel sorry for those of you that live in the land of make believe and cannot enjoy energy costs like those that I shared for Hamilton County Tennessee.

March 18, 2011 at 6:47 p.m.
canarysong said...


One more try......

The facts that you presented, if they are accurate, are only facts for YOUR area, the facts for others may be very different (as they are in most of the western US). That is not dogma, that is reality.

BTW, if you took offense at my 'six-pack' reference, I would not have gone there if you had not started in with the oh so tiresome and predictable Obama-bashing.

March 18, 2011 at 6:56 p.m.
BigRidgePatriot said...

Sailorman! A breath of fresh air! Someone who knows what they are talking about!

March 18, 2011 at 7 p.m.
BigRidgePatriot said...

canarysong, Substitute your power rate and redo the math. It is extremely rare to find anyone getting a real ROI unless they have access to really cheap second hand equipment. The only rock solid place solar makes sense is if you do not have access to the grid.

You cannot wave your hand at the end of your limp liberal wrist and change these facts!

Where do you live? What do you pay per kWhr? Let's crank the numbers!

March 18, 2011 at 7:06 p.m.
canarysong said...


My little limp liberal wrist doesn't have access to my bill right now, it's at my husband's office. I am on my way out the door or I would look it up online. Can I take a raincheck? BTW, if you HAD read those earlier posts of mine, you would know where I live.

Tomorrow, we can take this out back and settle it? ;-)

March 18, 2011 at 7:16 p.m.
fairmon said...


Reduce the ROI to 1/2 what it would be for those not in this area and it still takes over 40 years. The only justification is like trading a good car for a new car "I want to". BRP may have just saved me some time getting estimates and trying to find qualified installers. I had calculated it would take over 100 years for me to recover an investment in solar his was 92 years I think. Geothermal is not a great return either.

The calculations may change if oil and gas gets as expensive here as it is in Germany, France and Sweden all major utilizers of nuclear. They had no choice. They are not any more an altruistic environmentally sensitive society than the U.S. Their percent of population that are willing to sweat, freeze, walk, share both water and live off the land and urge others to be like them is similar to the percent we have. They have a similar percent that says get real and move at a pace you can afford and have the right people pursuing realistic and affordable options.

I wonder? Would you go borrow money so you could help a neighbor obtain solar panels or other alternative energy capability? If yes that is good, you are a more charitable being than I. If no then why do you advocate we all borrow money to assist them in their energy source procurements? Surely you wouldn't ask someone else to do something you are able to do but not willing.

A bright spot is my trees are safe for the time being. What is the targeted annual growth rate in Colorado and what is the actual?

March 18, 2011 at 7:20 p.m.
BigRidgePatriot said...


I admire your tenacity.

Have a great weekend!

March 18, 2011 at 7:46 p.m.
RufusTFirefly said...

Americans require a death at the cross roads before a traffic light is installed

...hang me at the crossroads when i die...

March 18, 2011 at 8:40 p.m.
RufusTFirefly said...

"where is the birth certificate?"

my question is where are the jobs Republicans promised to get elected in November?

I would much rather have a job than a birth certificate!

March 18, 2011 at 8:45 p.m.
fairmon said...

Why do we have this nuclear trap? It is the fault of Henry Ford, Eli Whitney, Thomas Edison, Alexander Bell and others that invented things that made life easier and more rewarding but had to have energy sources. Look at how many people are killed in auto accidents. Should we not allow driving until we have absolute safety. Methods to shut down and control a nuclear site can and should be developed.

Natural gas is plentiful and can displace most of our imported oil if an aggressive transition were active. China is drilling off shore from Florida for nat gas but no U.S. drilling. Little to no risk in deep water drilling for nat gas. A leak dissipates to the atmosphere without damage. Explosions and fire are a risk to those on the rig but can be prevented.

Does your congress member know what you think?

March 18, 2011 at 10:17 p.m.
SeaSmokie59er said...

Nuclear power is the one place where too much regulation is ok.

March 18, 2011 at 11:45 p.m.
fairmon said...


Thanks, I should have checked it when I heard it on a TV station just this week. A guest on the Kudlow show made the statement. China bought a large part of Cheaspeake energy which holds major rights in the Balkin. China doesn't have to do a lot of drilling. they prefer to buy a big interest in those that do.

March 19, 2011 at 8:16 a.m.
fairmon said...


No argument with that. Regulate and validate compliance. That is a legitimate government role.

March 19, 2011 at 8:18 a.m.
trburrows said...

Well, unfortunately, what you would like to see is inconsequential. The President is not a part of this issue. You can't blame him for what has happened, no matter how badly you would like to.*

alprova you should know very well that every thing in the last decade is blamed on bush by you libs. so go jump off it.

March 19, 2011 at 9:40 p.m.
fairmon said...

What has really changed? Both supported nuclear, drilling, ethanol and not much else at all. We just attacked the 3rd middle east country for reasons similar to the 1st two. One administration added prescription coverage, this one isn't done adding health care for everyone. The debt is still growing, Gitmo is still going. We have a surge in Afghanistan similar to the one in Iraq. Neither group seems to understand the koran or Iran. The majority of both parties in congress think sharia is a Latin America entertainer. Tell me again about the "change". Tell me the meaning of "yes we can"? I do "hope" but not for more of what I am getting.

March 19, 2011 at 10:24 p.m.
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