Thursday, September 27, 2012

A Postcard From The Future

Hi everyone,

Julie and I are having a blast here in the future.  It’s a super place where the homes are powered by sunshine and cars run on sunshine.  It’s a very quiet and relaxing place to be, almost restorative in nature. Everyone here is so health oriented.

Here in the future, you just sorta get up in the morning and everything is ready for the new day and all of its explorations.  We seem to have a lot more money left in our pockets at the end of the day here in the future as well. 

The air is amazingly clean, the water crystal reflective blue, and the people are very happy and warmly welcome us.  I don’t know exactly how to put this but everyone in the future has a sense of a peace, calmness and optimism about the future.  We loved where we lived before and we have drilled deep wells and put down deep roots as we have lived our whole life there.  

I know this will be hard for some of you, especially our life long friends... we hope that you can forgive us as we have decided that we are not moving back to our old place.  Julie and I have decided to move to the future forever.  Please come visit us, who knows, you may find you like it here and want to move to the future as well.

Your friends always,

Peder & Julie

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Solar PV & Electric Cars are a Liberation, not a Limitation.

“The inertia of the status quo, is a powerful foe of progress”

The inertia of the status quo is always traveling into the future, blinded by the simple knowledge of today and yesteryear. The defenders, those invested in the status quo, love to throw stones at the uncertainty of tomorrow from the security of the front porch of today, no matter how decrepit and dangerous the condition of that porch.

As mankind progresses, our history is littered with defeated defenders of the status quo.  They’re  riding horses, using morris code, reading  by candle light,  taking pictures with a square disposable rotating flashbulb with Kodak film.  No better example of this axiom exist in our current timeframe, as does the “Stone Throwers”  against renewable energy and electric vehicles…and there are a lot of stone throwers.

Recently Michael Reagan the son of an authentic Republican, Ronald Reagan, was the latest “Stone Thrower” pointing to the limitations of electric vehicles and renewable energy in this Neo-Luddite writing.

Michael Reagan, your dad would have said to you “Aw Shut Up” as he famously did to a group of hecklers in San Diego’s Mission Valley in 1980.   I was there, we went bonkers!

Americans… Democrats and Republicans, all,  have always looked to the future with science and technology ushering in prosperity, problem solving, and the pursuit of a better world.   I trust and hope that you do see a problem in the combination of oil and transportation, your dad sure did.

To you, I write this response, crafted from reality not fear, from experience not rhetorical assemblages of talking points , from a realized dream not what was handed to me as fait accompli,  and from American patriotism not partisan attack on a political foe.  
Our experience (not opinion) is that Solar PV and electric cars are a liberation not a limitation.  
The first step.

When we  constructed our home in 2006 with conservation in mind (conserve is a root word to many others words  like "conservative")  we included a 4.5kw Solar PV System.  This system generated 8000kwh per year and along with reductions from our lighting retrofit, covered 90% of the 8800kwh per year household use.   I received a federal tax credit off of my own taxes when I made this investment, not from your taxes but off of my taxes, there is a huge difference.  In 1981 your dad Ronald Reagan instituted a tax investment credit and accelerated depreciation (another tax break)  if I went out and purchased new equipment for my several bakeries.  I did just that along with millions of other American businesses.   Your dad was right in 1981 and so is the investment tax credit for renewable energy.   With our Solar PV we had a 14% ROI and were saving $400 a month in utility bills. We found that to be liberating and a small measure towards independence and self reliance.

The second step.

In 2009 we began driving the electric BMW Mini-E,  We drove that car 18,000 miles a year. We found it liberating that we could provide the power to our car from electricity that we generated on our roof.  We added a 3kw system as our own personal fuel station for life. We nicked named it our Sunco Station.  The ROI was 33% and we saved $250 a month in gasoline cost.   We found that making our own fuel was liberating and another small measure towards independence.

The third step.

After driving 2.5 years electric and never needing a gasoline car, my wife, an elementary school Principal,  stepped into the driver’s seat of the BMW ActiveE.  After several months of driving, she/we discovered that our family did not need a gas car at all so we sold our gas car. This gave us a solar powered home and two electric cars that we generate the electricity for.

The bottom line.

We love our home and our life.  We are optimistic about our nations future. Our 2007 investment in our own future with Solar PV has completely paid for itself. Our cumulative change to EV's and PV has changed what use to be a bill of $4800 a year for utilities, a gasoline bill of $3000 a year for our first car, and $2400 a year for a second car to an annual bill of $0-$300 for all of the above.

We find it liberating   that the significant cost of utilities and gas is replaced by a paid off solar PV system and a utility bill of $300 a year powering our home and cars.  That’s almost $10,000 a year that our family can spend in our community creating American jobs and strengthening our community as opposed to enriching Oil Sheiks and Oil Barrons and exporting our nations wealth.

We find it liberating that our money is not going to nations that are hostile to the US.  Did you know that one out of every six barrels of oil comes from nations that are hostile to the US.

We find it liberating that our consumption does not contribute to national economic drain caused by the seven trillion dollar expense of securing the waterways and protecting the supply of oil since the 1990 Iraq invasion of Kuwait.  Do you remember the burning oil fields?

We find it liberating that our decision to generate zero emission renewable energy and drive zero emission cars is a small measure towards cleaner cities that most of our nations population live in.  Do you know that in our urban cities over 65% of our emissions are from our transportation choices and 15% from our houses?  I’m sure you understand that air quality and health care cost are related.

We find it liberating that we are contributing to the advancement of solar PV and electric cars that will one day soon replace oil. Oil that is so necessary and predictable in its transit routes in the theatre of war, essentially sitting duck oil tankers,  that 40% of our US casualties come from IED’s and attacks of our resupply convoys. That it is measurable for ever 24 fuel convoys an American soldier suffers a casualty and for every 50 fuel convoys an American soldier is killed.  

We find it liberating that we don’t visit gas stations and no longer need to worry about the volatile price spikes of gasoline that so damage the incomes of our families and our nation’s economic health.

We find it liberating that they are so easy and far less costly to maintain.  Solar PV lasting for 25 years plus and electric cars with 10% of the complexity of gasoline cars.

We find no difference and no limitations of solar PV and driving two electric cars one driven 20,000 miles and one driven 12,000 miles a year as compared to our prior experience with utility supplied electricity and gasoline cars.

Our experience is that Solar PV & Electric Cars are a Liberation, not a Limitation.

Michael Reagan,  it is my hope that you would be more supportive of American examples of this, a new front porch of American ingenuity, science, technology and wealth generation for American households.  I know your dad would be. 

It is my hope that we embrace the "blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity"  as contained in the preamble of the constitution which stands in stark contrast to your selfish  comment, go out and buy the biggest damn SUV you want. Enjoy your life. Step on the gas. 

That's prosperity for you Michael, at the expense of liberty and posterity for our children and the nation.  Your dad knew the difference.

One last thing Michael, drive a Chevy Volt or another electric car sometime, it’s a much more quiet, smooth, quick and enjoyable driving experience.   


Peder Norby 
County of San Diego Planning Commissioner

Sunday, September 9, 2012

We Will Never Go To War Over Sunshine.

Maj. Gen. Anthony L. Jackson, USMC (Ret.)


 "On Aug. 2, 1990, I was the Pentagon desk officer who took the call alerting America that Saddam Hussein’s forces were invading Kuwait to gain control of its oil fields. Since that day, the United States has been engaged in continuous conflict in the Middle East, in large part to protect the supply of petroleum..."

“...We can see this on an immediate and tactical level when we have to truck fuel to a base in Afghanistan. We may spend $100 per gallon getting it there — but the true cost is measured in blood. Fuel convoys draw enemy attacks, and it is measurable that we will receive one casualty for every 50 resupply trucks on the road..."

"...It would be myopic to think that this is just about Middle Eastern oil, or even just about oil. Today the market for fossil fuels is global, and we cannot protect ourselves from supply disruptions or price shocks just by choosing who we buy from, or simply by drilling more at home. The only path to energy and climate security is a comprehensive energy infrastructure focused on renewable resources and improved, harmless-emission fuels...”   Maj. Gen. Anthony L. Jackson, USMC (Ret.)   Fossil fuel dependence leaves America vulnerable

Today at 3pm, Julie and I will have the privilege to shake hands and visit with Maj. General Anthony L. Jackson (Ret) . Julie and I, along with our good friend, Brig. General David Brahms USMC (Ret) will be driving in Julie's BMW ActiveE to our meeting. Brig. General Brahms will be at the wheel.

In 2006 with the construction of our family home, we  began our shift to self reliance with Solar PV for our new home. We also began our shift away from gasoline towards electricity.  Our first electric car was a 2007 Gem e4.  We really loved the Gem and put 8000 miles on it in two years.  The Gem e4 was restricted in range and speed and could only make our local trips on low speed roads but we began to see the potential of electric mobility and the ease, simplicity and savings of plugging into the sun.  

In 2009 we began driving the BMW Mini-E, replaced in early 2012 with the BMW ActiveE, and we completed our transition to two electric cars in 2012 with the Honda Fit EV.  

Our cost to go solar was $31,000 over two installations. $20,000 for a 4.5kw system when we built the house in 2007 and $11,000 for a 3kw system to power the cars in 2009.   We also did a lighting retrofit changing out 120, 50 watt halogen bulbs to 8 watt led bulbs. 

Our total cost for the solar PV and our lighting retrofit was $33,5000. That cost was paid in full around March of this year with the savings from our utility bill and our gasoline bill.  We are essentially living and driving on free sunshine.

In the prior five years with one electric car and the house, we  generated the same amount of electricity as we  used thus a small TOU credit from our utility (currently at a $350 credit balance.)   This year with the addition of the Honda Fit EV we will use an additional 4000kwh so we will have a bill at the end of the year of around $600.

Electric cars are simply better to drive then their gas counterparts, they're cheaper to drive,  they're non polluting, they're faster, they're quieter and we will never go to war over sunshine.  We will never need to endure the loss of an American life, any life, or suffer a casualty  trucking sunshine around.

Here's a quick simple overview of our prior cost with our normal utility and two gas cars and our cost  with solar PV and two electric cars. The BMW ActiveE and the Honda FIT EV  are less in monthly payments than our previous cars, a Volvo S60R and an Infinity G35.
Julie drives 20,000 miles a year and I drive 13,000 miles a year.

Why the hell are we still driving on oil?  

Prior to 2007             Monthly               Annual
SDG&E bill                           $420                       $5040
Julie’s Gas                             $250                       $3000
Peder’s  Gas                          $200                       $2400

Total annual utility and gas for cars $10440

Actual Cost 2012
SDG&E bill                           $50                         $600
Julie’s Electricity fuel             $0                           $0
Peder’s  Electricity fuel          $0                           $0

Total annual utility and electricity for cars $600

Annual savings $9840


Sunday, September 2, 2012

We're driving electric 100 miles a day.

For the past three years, Tom Moloughney has been lapping me with more than double the EV miles averaging 99 miles of electric driving per day, compared to my 43 miles a day

Tom and His Mini-E #250

Being the competitive sort, I needed to figured out how I am going to match the EV miles of my good buddy Tom.   Some may call this cheating but, I enlisted my wife Julie to help  so we are now both driving EVs, driving 35,000 - 40,000 miles a year with no gas,  Julie  20,000 miles in the ActiveE and I, 15,000  miles in the Honda Fit EV.  Between Julie and I we will be at 100 miles a day on average!  (insert wimpy "you need your wife to fight your battle" jokes here)

So Tom, it's all your fault :) 

Our "family fleet" average mpg if gas models would be  25mpg, that's higher than the national average.  21mpg for the BMW 1 series and 30mpg for the Honda Fit.  For 35,000 miles of driving we would have used 1,400 gallons  of fuel at a cost of $5,800 annually to our family budget.    Having a paid off 6 year old solar PV system that generates 11,500 kwh per year, our driving cost on sunshine is essentially zero per year.
For fun, multiply that experience by 100 million American families and 20 or 30 years. 

...but i digress.

Having two electric cars, greatly increases the flexibility of uses. 

First, we have a practical hauler and a luxury sports sedan,  so who ever needs to haul stuff back and forth or do major shopping will take the Honda Fit EV.  It’s amazing what you can stuff  in that car.   In the evening it’s almost always the BMW Active E that we take out on the town. 

Second, we have doubled our electric range to essentially 200 miles a day  without needing to recharge in between.

Today (9/02/12) is a good example of how that works.

Julie and I  are driving the Honda Fit EV to go to church in San Diego this morning and then back home, 80 miles round trip.  The trip is to the south.

Around 1pm,  we will leave in the BMW ActiveE (the Fit EV will be charging in the garage) and head Northeast to Temecula for a light lunch and a visit with some fellow winegrowers and wine tasting,  65miles.  We will then go to Pachanga Resort and Casino for  a show, dinner, a little craps and blackjack, 15 miles.  While there for 4 hours or so we will plug into one of their 6 public chargers.  Finally, we will drive home after a fun night, 45 miles.

Today's trips will be 85% freeway driving at 75mph. we will total 205 sunshine powered miles, we look forward to a really fun day. 

This is a normal typical weekend for us.   We are usually somewhere out and about enjoying beautiful Southern California.

As you can see from our itinerary today,  electric vehicles are far more practical than just for the urban commute.  Julie and I use our BMW ActiveE and Fit EV for everything and they really shine on the weekends!  The cars have fit seamlessly into our lives with many benefits and no compromises. 

Update:    A really fun day of driving yesterday with 200+ miles. We arrived at Pechanga with a 30% charge and left for home with 90% charge.    Next to the ActiveE were two Prius plug ins.  I was surprised by how much larger they were compared to the ActiveE.   There are six free chargers at Pachanga Casino in Temecula.  Had these chargers not been available there are several more in Temecula and plan c was the BMW dealership in Escondido,  When relying on public charging it's best to have a plan B and if you can a plan C.  Most of the time plan A will work out :)


Future BMW i ?  driver.