Monday, August 16, 2010

Jim Dee’s sunny power line suggestion

My three closest blog followers remarked that I’ve been quiet recently and wondered if I had nothing to write. I replied that I’ve been trying to get outside in the sun more, which reminded me of my friend Jim Dee’s solar power suggestion:

Two years ago, I stumbled onto Mr.’s Dee’s unique proposal. And with recent improvements in solar power efficiency, and a President who actually reads ten U.S. citizen letters handpicked by his staff each day, Mr. Dee’s suggestion is now more feasible than ever.

Here is the jist of it, which; with his permission, I have paraphrased from his blog:

"I had a moment of insight this morning and wanted to share. It does nothing less than solve the entire American/Mexican border issue in a true bipartisan way. Here's the deal:

We take the entire length of the U.S./Mexican border, at a width of a good quarter mile wide or so, and privatize it -- sell it to the highest qualified bidder. And, by "qualified bidder," I mean Power Generation Company.

What no other political commentator (to my knowledge) has seemingly noticed is that the border in question, besides being the source of exhaustive political debate, is also located in a particularly bright, sunny patch of the country. Because that area's so ridiculously bathed in sunshine, it lends itself particularly well to ... wait for it ... solar power development! (Yeah, it was an "aha!" moment for me, too.)

Anyway, our high bidding Power Company purchases the land, with the sole stipulation that it must develop a solar array spanning pretty much the entire length of the U.S./Mexican border. Along either side of the array, the company would also have to construct a large security wall to serve the primary purpose of keeping out vandals (from both sides); as a bonus, it would also naturally keep anyone from entering the U.S. illegally.

Here's an additional bonus: Part of the power generated by the array could be diverted to the fence itself -- because, let's face it; an electric fence is much more efficient! The rest of the power would be sold, as normal, to nearby communities, thus (1) improving air quality from fewer coal-fired plants; (2) boosting economic development; and (3) furthering solar technology in general.

Since the power company would have their income/profitability at stake, it would be in their best interest to hire armed security patrols. Let's face it: Unlike government-run initiatives, when there are private/stockholder earnings on the line, stuff gets done. (It used to get done poorly, I'll admit. But, hopefully Sarbanes-Oxley fixes some of that.)

It's an elegant bipartisan solution, don't you think? The right gets a Jurassic Park-esque electric fence, the left gets solar power out the wazoo!”

Thank you Mr. Dee!

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