We Don't Have to Be "Sitting Ducks" on Energy
Commissioner Tommy Adkisson
January 15, 2004

I don't recall when I first heard the expression about being like "sitting ducks", but I am sure it describes a hunter's good fortune in finding ducks unaware of danger and the delight of the hunter in catching them off guard.  I am reminded of this when I observe the regularity with which we see news about ever increasing oil prices.  We know implicitly that America's heavy (60% or more) dependence on oil imports from foreign countries that are distant, uncertain and hostile mean higher gas prices unless we take this matter into our own hands at least to the extent that we can.

To affect what we pay at the pump, we do have to change our dependent ways and of course, our habits.  Fortunately, Texas has more solar energy than any other state in the nation and it can be and is being converted into electricity.  Unlike oil, it is clean and renewable.

In Saturday's Express-News, we read about the price of oil hitting $53.00 per barrel.  As of this writing it is at $54.00 per barrel!  Is anyone really surprised?  Like anything else, the key factors affecting price are supply and demand.  Affecting supply of oil are among other things, terrorist acts, labor problems in Nigeria and hurricanes that interfere with natural gas production and oil offloading at the Louisiana Offshore Oil Port. 

Affecting efficiency are vehicular fuel efficiency standards in the U.S., being held captive by Congress and its special interest advocates that profit from high oil prices.  Affecting reliability in part is what is called "distributed generation", energy generated at or near where it is being used.  Distributed energy generation can spin electricity into the electric grid and provide independent generation in case of a terrorist interrupting either our central power generation or the transmission of energy from the central power plant to our homes and businesses.

For any skeptic that says solar is too expensive I must merely inquire, "Where do you think oil prices are going?"  All we have to do is focus and like the experience many of us have had with computers, solar panel prices will continue to drop over time.  It's the fortunate experience of modern technology improvements developed in an educated society. 

Bottom line: I am tired of being treated like a "sitting duck" and would very much like to change the way we not only waltz ourselves into unnecessary crises, but send immense wealth to foreign countries.  Therefore, I am proposing that both public and private entities that have the vision and the guts to stabilize as well as provide for a dependable, diversified energy future simply look to solar energy from the Texas sun!

All we have to do is at least partially leave the "comfort zone" so that some growth can take place in our energy choices.  Solar hot water is being used at your County Jail with a resultant annual saving of $53,000!  At present, small, perimeter security vehicles for businesses or government, which run on pure solar energy, are able to not only save you money, but disconnect you from the vagaries of weather and strife that currently make "sitting ducks" of us all!

Let's take our wealth and future out of the "crosshairs" of foreign energy suppliers!

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