Tuesday, September 29, 2009




Dear Reader,

Did you know that horse populations in the mid-eighteen hundreds in New York City were increasing at more than 12% per year?

At that rate, and making allowances for seepage into the Hudson after heavy rains and the sale of New York born and raised horses  to non-residents of 2.5% per year,  a decreasing horse-fecundity rate prompted by New Jersey-bred mares and a preference amongst New Yorkers for beef and pork over horse meat, one could conclude that by 1879, the first 9 stories of the Empire State Building would be buried in horse-manure! Of course, if one had reached that conclusion..... one would have been WRONG!! And, investments in window washing services based on these projections would have failed....


Considering socio-economic options based on a past where the glass is half empty often will lead us to base our options and plans on what we didn't have and/or couldn't get in the past....drawing the wrong lessons from the experience ..... and not focusing on what our true options or challenges are for the future! The same is true of chosing options based on a strategy that demands we put all of our eggs in one basket.

DID YOU KNOW THAT ... from April 1860 to October 1861.... the pony express really provided a revolutionary and previously unimagined rapid postal service across the United States. Folks saw it as transformational! It was expected to lead the way to an opening up of more timely communications across all of North America, requiring fast ponies strategically located across the country to service the new mail system.  Investors (except those who new better) eagerly lined up and began cancelling plans for alternative communications networks and local investments......... ill-informed opportunists were certain that demand for fast horses and young, agile riders were the key to profitability and better local service
..... and then..... and then..... along came the telegraph .... and within months.... the quick demise of the pony express. A concentration of investments in ponies and facilities for fast horses and riders during the 18 months that the pony express operated would have been a poor investment based on inadequate intelligence respecting technological development.

This little bit of history highlights the importance of considering all options when planning for the future and considering the experiences and actions of others.  Drawing on our own resources and competitive advantage to plan for our future investments is the critical lesson to be drawn from this history. 

What happened with Clare's efforts to become energy self-sufficient may be interesting but not necessaily informative if it was done badly .... and for the wrong reasons ......by folks who didn't know what they were doing. Rather, one should draw lessons.... if any are to be drawn.... from the Austrian community the Clare junket visited with SWSDA. A visit to the Austrian web site is very informative and frankly was all that was necessary to learn from their community's experience!

And so.... let me give you my take on energy and the future role it should play in our community, given our half-filled glass.

First..... while predictions of global warming may provide some impetus for looking at alternative energy sources, it would not be the primary force leading me to invest in energy in Shelburne County. In fact, while I would use public pressure and concern about global warning to get favourable consideration of Shelburne County energy self-sufficiency efforts, it would be the only use I think I would attach to global warming fears.

In part, I believe the best we can hope for within our county is that  we can reduce our dependency on others for energy, become self-sufficient and/or produce enough energy for ourselves and some immediate neighbours, improve the competitive position of our own industries and create new jobs we would not otherwise have within the county.

So..... here are my reasons for attaching importance to energy self-sufficiency within the county.....

i.) to the extent that we produce our own energy we may enhance our competitive position and ability to produce goods and services at a lower cost - that's because NSPI's cost of generating power in Halifax and transmission to Shelburne County is the highest in the Province;
ii.) producing our own energy may create local energy production jobs that are now performed in Halifax by folks who don't live and/or spend their earnings in our communities;
iii.) generating energy in Shelburne County based on new technologies may provide us with an opportunity to become a centre for energy production and lead to the export of energy-based manufactures and services from the county;
iv.) energy demonstration projects showcasing new energy technology reflects an image of the county that is positive and can generate a "can do" attitude within and about Shelburne County;
v.) new technology developments in Shelburne County may encourage investors to look at Shelburne as a good place to pursue innovative technologies.

So, dear readers.... I humbly submit my two cents... for your consideration ....


Anonymous said...

Volumes of great ideas,facts,desires have been shared but the need by most families is to see economic growth now not later.
Certainly,it would be great to read some positive happenings in our town/area that your readers could share.
We need encouragement for the future,please.
Readers are getting buried in words of wisdom.
How can we make a difference as caring citizens ?

Anonymous said...

Not much happening or has each person lost their
motivation to share viewpoints.

It is great to get good debates and new facts to
keep us informed with variety of ideas.