I used to be optimistic that California could solve this problem with alternative energy. Now I'm almost positive that the only viable approach is conservation.
California has thousands of square miles of desert and mountains, easy places to build huge farms of solar collectors and wind generators. This isn't exactly impact-free energy, but it's energy that California can produce itself, relatively cheaply, without having to produce more carbon dioxide or deal with the dirty fuel pipeline problem. The fact that alternative energy does away with a major part of the power infrastructure (fuel pipelines) gives it a major advantage over traditional gas-powered generators.
A company with sufficient capital could build a whole series of solar and wind farms and sell the energy to California's power suppliers, driving the cost down and aleviating the supply problem.
Here are the problems with this approach, as I see it:
- California utilities would have to pour money into new power lines to move this electricity from the eastern power farms to the western power producers. That requires cash that they don't really have.
- Nobody except for the government (maybe) is going to lend money to a venture seeking to make money by selling electricity to broke utilities.
- None of these 'pirate generator' companies wants to see an alternative energy farm spring up, unless they have a share in its development. These pirate generator companies pretty much own the White House.
The first two problems are money problems, and at this point, the only entity with both an interest and the resources in solving such money problems is the State of California itself.
The third problem is a wild card. There's not a lot that the 'pirate generators' can really do about alternative energy farms, except for get the federal government to pour money into funding more pipelines and generators. OTOH it doesn't make good business sense for them to build more generators (see reason 2 above).
So, ultimately, alternative energy may be a huge bust. The most likely scenario is that California utilities will beg the State to remove rate caps, and then the utilities will radically increase power costs in order to save their financial hides. Hopefully this will encourage people to conserve power, by using energy-efficient appliances, switching off monitors when they're not in use, using florecent bulbs, etc. Which might not be a bad thing in the long run, especially if it catches on elsewhere.
We need an ODMG implementation that's open source. ObJectBridge is one candidate, and it needs volunteers.