In between fighting with my computer, thanks to some sort of virus or malware that I picked up, I try to write stories. This requires pictures. Because of the aforementioned computer issues, I can't get Google Chrome, the king of web browsers to work. Which means I have no idea where my pictures are going when I download them.

So right now my head needs a break from the problem, so lucky, lucky you, you get to hear a bit of what goes through my mind in my downtime.

Occasionally I get an entertaining email from someone on the other side of the aisle and we plunge into minor political discussions.

I find myself somewhat swayed at times on issues that have no eternal consequence, and it scares me a bit. Not too much, but I find it fun to hear the other side and ponder the workings of a mind that thinks so differently than mine. I find it even more fascinating that the more we talk the less I feel like it's "politics" and more the, "hey, what do you think about..." as it should be. So far, no name calling or screaming matches have ensued, so it IS possible.

The other night at the VMEU board meeting it was suggested that the board take a look at alternatives to our monster generators at the light plant. The questions were whether or not we wanted to buy more used generators cheaper "just in case" we need them.

An audience member suggested checking into solar or wind technology rather than using generators as we have for decades. Why not use something that we don't have to feed fuel to, but something that works for us free.

I immediately thought that it would probably cost more to convert a whole town to solar or wind energy but then I started to think. Suppose the whole town went independent of Mid American Energy. Suppose somehow we COULD get solar energy for the whole town. Suppose we didn't depend on someone outside our four walls to provide us power.

Of course, all I know about electricity is that I should unplug my computer when there's a storm in case my electrical lines get hit by lightning and I'm use my laptop. Or I know that if I flip on a switch I have light. I also know not to mess with an outlet.

That's all.

But suppose, we COULD be independent of someone in a company somewhere else running things.

We USED to be.

I suppose it was cheaper to go to another energy supplier because ultimately the almighty dollar wins these discussions, which makes sense.

But suppose, in our flood zones that we can't build buildings on that we figured out a way to use the river to generate electricity, it's going to keep flowing every day anyway, or we use the sun that will shine most days or the wind that blows.

What if we really DID invest our money into something that gets us away from dependence on someone else. Is it cost effective? Is it doable? Should we?

Of course, the consensus of the board was to go ahead with getting the said generators. And maybe that's a good idea. But at some point maybe we should look at other options to provide for ourselves again.

I like the idea of not having to worry about someone else bringing in the electricity, or not having to worry about someone supplying gas to run our generators.

Why not pay local people to keep the lights on for us, rather than people in another town. I know that even the REC, which provides electricity to the rural areas, put in a solar field 3 years ago.

It's kind of like not needing someone to run our internet. We finally figured that one out, it has only taken a decade and a half, maybe we could get some folks on the electric board to seriously ponder the cost-effectiveness, feasibility, and whether it can be done inside the city limits. Can we generate enough electricity in town to keep our lights on again? Can we start at least asking questions?

I don't know, there's something to be said for independence.

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