May, 2014 news item: The installation of solar panels on the White House roof is complete. They will not generate much electricity but they serve as a symbol that it is time for the US to move toward non-fossil fuels. Time to look to the future and break our dependence on oil. Barack Obama is also trying to get $2 billion for this new technology. Perhaps sometime in the future we will look back on this as the beginning of the end of the stranglehold of fossil fuels as an energy source.
1979 news item: Jimmy Carter has installed solar panels on the White House. They do not generate a lot of electricity but are a symbol of what America can do in the future. If we have the will. In the midst of the Arab oil crisis this is a start to free us from dependence on fossil fuels. No need to invade the Middle East. Carter’s extensive energy plan calls for wise investment in solar technology. All he needs is a willing Congress.
Carter states….” ….a generation from now, this solar heater can either be a curiosity, a museum piece, an example of a road not taken, or it can be a small part of one of the greatest and most exciting adventures ever undertaken by the American people; harnessing the power of the Sun to enrich our lives as we move away from our crippling dependence on foreign oil.”
1981 news item: The adventure ends. In one of his first acts a president, Ronald Reagan commands that the solar panels be removed from the White House. As a symbol that America will remain addicted to fossil fuels. Any hopes that America may become free of dependence on the fossil fuel industry is dashed. The panels are sent to Maine’s Unity College where they provide free electricity for heating water.
35 years of lost research and development. 35 years of increased dependence on oil. 35 years of backward thinking. Thank you Ronnie, your legacy lives on and on …at the gas pump. Next time you fill er up, think of Ronnie.