Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Columns

August 25, 2012

Energy and politics

Emil, Elmer and I were chatting about the news. Those guys are avid news fans – nothing escapes their notice. They began talking about farming matters.

“Yep,” Emil began, “I have a few farmer friends; some of ’em got enough rain and they’re going to turn a good profit because of the drought, but others are losing their shirts.”

“Yes sir,” chimed Emil, “we’ll probably pay ridiculous prices at the grocery stores. Them big chains use any excuse to raise prices. I think they conspire together, like the oil companies.”

We just let Emil’s comments go. Elmer believes that everyone is sinister, and we were not about to change his mind.

“Look here,” added Emil, “I saw in the paper that some farmers up in Canada had a good idea: They contracted with their electric company to generate solar power. Ed, would you mind reading this article, but not in your preaching voice, please.”

“OK,” I offered. “This is from CBC news in Canada. It says, ‘Renfrew County farmer Michael Donohue expects about half of his usual corn crop this year. But beyond the field of parched and stunted corn stand nine towers of solar panels, capable of producing about 45 to 50 kilowatts. Each kilowatt hour sells back to the grid for 80 cents.’

“Donohue said, ‘When I installed that, it probably never crossed my mind that it was any sort of risk-management tool. But certainly I have commented this summer that if it’s not going to rain, at least the sun is shining and it’s making electricity …’”

“Maybe that’s the future, with this global warming. Farmers could protect themselves from years like this one with wind farms and solar panels,” added my upbeat friend, Emil.

Elmer opined, “This global warming comes from shooting all those missiles and rockets into the sky. Why, I think those supersonic jets crack up the atmosphere like crazy. You can hear it cracking when they go by.”

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