Solar power has a good foothold in next door North Carolina, and there’s no real reason it shouldn’t become a growth industry here in Virginia.
Sometimes programs such as this one take root and grow.
Cheap land in this area, land with an excellent southern to southwestern exposure on hills higher than the surrounding area is plentiful near major highways and transmission lines. We have pretty decent weather too, with lots of sun, not as much as the Southwest, but enough.
And while the people here, like the people in North Carolina tend to be politically conservative, they are nevertheless very quick to make long term investments in any thing that promises to lower their cost of living over the long term.
Nothing fits that description better than a nice little personal solar system. A lot of people I know who have money enough to live quite comfortably still burn wood and dry their laundry outside, because they consider it wasteful to do otherwise.
The fact that a great many of them voted for Trump, etc, hasn’t stopped them from switching to led lights, lol, or replacing their old oil furnaces with shiny new heat pumps when the old furnace needs a major repair.
Talk to them earnestly, and respectfully, and avoid stepping on their cultural and religious toes UNNECESSARILY , and you can convince them of the merits of sound environmental policies, setting the stage for moving them from the right wing to the middle, politically, and sometimes even all the way over to the D column on election days.
When I talk to them about water pollution, I never even mention mining. I just stick to talking about piss poor fishing, and the cost of treating the water so it’s safe to drink.
They aren’t so stupid they can’t figure out WHY they aren’t catching fish, and WHY their town needs a bigger more expensive water treatment plant.
Handling the issue this way predisposes them to think of the river as THEIR water. And it IS, logically and morally.
And while it’s not necessarily theirs LEGALLY, they have the power to make sure OTHER people who don’t own it aren’t allowed to pollute it.
They’re very much like everybody else. If they once understand a little federal or state money is headed their way, they’re guaranteed to be ready with their own rationalized arguments about why it’s ok and justified in their case but bum welfare in all other cases, lol.
Winning the environmental battle depends on winning the cultural battle.
People decide who their friends and allies are, and who their enemies are, on the basis of a few very simple rules. If they think the owner of a coal mine is their friend, because the mine provides jobs, well then, they have a most amazing ability to overlook the fact that the river is dirty, the water undrinkable, and the fish all gone. They can even overlook the fact that old Uncle Joe spent his last years wheezing and sucking on an oxygen mask because he worked in a mine.
Approach them as a fellow fisherman and tax payer, and you can make allies of them. They don’t REALLY give a shit about coal, because hardly any of them outside the smaller communities where the mines are located actually works in a mine, or for a company servicing the coal industry.
Plenty of them are well enough educated to understand that in some cases, it takes only a little new competition to crash the price of a commodity such as coal or oil or even a commodity food such as eggs or apples.
If we let the bau crowd, the R types, control the debate, and frame it in terms of their rights and freedoms, and make the case that them there low life socialist commie dimmerkrats er out to take away their jobs and their property rights, and force ’em onto welfare, well, they have a most amazing ability to overlook the fact that neither they nor anybody they actually know personally still works in a fucking coal mine, or for a company that services the coal industry. They come to see the Koch brothers and the Trumps as their friends, and environmentalists, and therefore Democrats as their enemies, and once people make up their minds about who their friends and enemies are………… they are very reluctant to change them.
A key rule is that you don’t attack your potential new allies’ and friends’ prejudices and predispositions frontally. You just point quietly out the advantages associated with the positions you wish your new ally to adopt, and allow him ( or her ) to figure out for himself which side his bread is buttered on.
Tell a man his PERCEIVED ( or real ) friends are fucking him over, and his natural reaction is to identify YOU as an enemy, a person not to be trusted.
You can take it to the bank that any man who owns a fishing rod is already more than halfway home when it comes to believing in clean water laws, and is ready at least in theory and very often in fact to decide that the coal industry is his enemy, so long as he has not already aligned himself culturally with the right wing backers of coal.
Even then you can slip SOME sense into his head, using a nice soft cloth rather than a hammer, enough that he will be a little more likely to stay home rather than vote for Trump and associates next election. 😉
It goes without saying that everything I have said applies equally to how people who are middle of the road or left leaning react under similar circumstances.
Show a man that in the REAL WORLD that ample supplies of gas result in the price of coal crashing, with the happy result that his electricity bill is lower than it would be otherwise, and he’s not apt to spill any tears for the coal industry.
Show him that wind and solar power ACTUALLY result in his electricity bill being less than it would OTHERWISE, and he will be strongly predisposed to think kindly of the wind and solar power industries, and is thus predisposed to vote with environmentalists …….. meaning with the D’s.
And just about every last one of us here DOES understand that in actuality, wind and solar power mean electricity cost us less already, on average.
Almost every body is smart enough to understand that EVENTUALLY coal, oil, and gas MUST come up in short supply, and be very expensive, due to depletion, and that it is thus in their long term interest to substitute some wind and solar power for fossil fuels, thereby EXTENDING the finite life of our one time gift of nature supply of these fuels. Talk about just about anybody quietly and respectfully about his own enlightened best interests, without preaching, without arousing his hackles by arousing his fears, and he will often make up his mind that the things you have mentioned are more important to him than the things the political opposition is pushing on him.
You don’t LEAD political converts to the waters of political righteousness TO the water. You just help them understand WHERE the water is, in general terms, , and they WILL find it for themselves, and as a result, they’re thereafter strongly predisposed to be YOUR friend, rather than a friend of the Koch brothers and the R’s……… if you’re an environmentalist, lol.
I’m having a lot of fun gradually bringing around one of my relatives to supporting the electric car industry. Three or four years ago, he was dead sure electric cars would always be a joke, but a little while back I heard him telling another doubter how he watched a supposedly anemic electric car outrun a new hot rod Corvette at the drag strip, and that the guy driving the electric didn’t even leave a hundred bucks worth of rubber on the asphalt in the doing of it.Furthermore he went over and took a good look at the car, a Tesla S of course, and told his doubting friend there’s room enough in the so called frunk to get naked, lol.
He LIKES to be right about things, and tell his other friends about how they are behind the times, lol.
He’s an old man, but he votes, and he has lived thru the transition from the tail end of farming with draft animals to the dawn of the electrified transportation age, and he now believes that electric cars will be cheap enough in another five or ten years to take over the new car market.
Ask him about how he got to own a million dollar farm that he doesn’t even farm or rent out, at least not for the last twenty years or so, and he will just laugh about the farmer’s welfare loan at three percent, less than the rate of inflation most years, lol, that enabled him to buy it back when he was a younger guy.
He’s a Trump voter, still yet, but he’s not opposed to subsidies, when they benefit HIM, and he understands that the more electric cars there are on the road, the cheaper HE will be able to buy gasoline and diesel fuel, lol.
So….. if electric car industry subsidies were decided by referendum, he would vote for them.
It’s all about the CULTURE WAR , folks, although some of us prefer to frame the discussion in other terms. Those other terms can generally be reduced to cultural terms.
If you want to win, show your enemies what you have to OFFER them, rather than attacking them and making fun of them.