Great Fall Weather in Texas Sending Us a Message
Commissioner Tommy Adkisson
September 26, 2002
Besides the absolutely glorious weather we had last Sunday, what is the most obvious thing that makes the "Indian Summer" days like that so impressive and beautiful? I submit that the combination of the sun with cool temperature is hard to beat. Add to this that we have had a very healthy amount of rainfall and I'm not sure if it gets much better. But is there a message in all of this? I suggest that there is.
With all this great weather and in celebration of the last day of summer, my wife Karen and I took time to visit the Texas Renewable Energy Roundup in Fredericksburg, Texas. What an inspiring experience! Against the backdrop of all the great weather, the exhibitors and speakers assembled on the plaza across from the Gillespie County Courthouse called Marktplatz.
The first speaker was Richard Perez, publisher of Home Power Magazine. He has installed over 200 renewable energy systems and has personally lived off-grid for 32 years! This means he has for 32 years produced all of his own energy for his home. His message and its portent for our future were powerful. Imagine living completely free of any electricity bills!
What he said that stayed with me is:
- In one second this planet receives enough solar energy to power the planet for a year.
- There are over 180,000 individuals living off-grid in the USA and this number is growing several hundred percent per year!
Although I am unaware of anyone in San Antonio living off the grid, I am aware of two entities spinning electricity they generate, back into the grid of CPS. One is The Power Store at 903 Broadway and it is running its meter backward. The CPS Northside Customer Service Center located in the much-renovated Solo Serve Center is also spinning electricity back into the grid. Look for many further individuals and entities to take advantage of this possibility!
The second speaker was Randy Udall. He is the director of the Community Office for Resource Efficiency, which is a nonprofit organization that promotes renewable energy and energy efficiency in western Colorado and beyond. What he said I have known more or less, but it was important to hear once again and to take to heart what he was reminding us about:
- The U.S. is the world's largest importer of oil and natural gas.
- Five percent of the world's people, we consume 25% of the world's oil. Per capita, we now consume our body weight in petroleum each week.
- According to the American Petroleum Institute, about 80% of all the oil that will ever be produced in Texas is gone. Production peaked in 1972!
- U.S. production of oil and gas peaked 30 years ago, and our reliance on imported oil and natural gas grows each year.
The latter statistic among many other indicators that are readily available, tell me that it is high time we get about the business of taking renewable energy and conservation techniques very seriously. It does me precious little good to be County Commissioner if the price of energy goes off the charts and taxes have to be raised accordingly. What I look forward to doing in the time I serve you is to secure our energy future so that no one can either hold us hostage with their greed or their appetite for terrorism.
Your county is already a national leader with its largest in the world solar hot water heater for the jail. With further applications of proven solar photovoltaics (electricity), we will withstand and overcome any eventuality. And, in relatively short order, we will save a great deal of money for our taxpayers while investing money in the best employees and government possible.
From the simply beautiful fall-like weather on the last day of summer, I have found a message to you and I: make energy while the sun shines! It is indeed our earthright!