Electric cogeneration. The production of electric power not by new Nuclear or coal or natural gas generation stations which Congress and the powers that be are recommending, but by a wind or solar system on your house. Cogeneration occurs when you produce more electricity then you use and you sell the surplus to the power company; and when you don't, you buy from the power company.
With solar, that would mean when the sun was shining you would be selling power to them and at night you would get electricity the same way you always have. Right now the estimate is 2015 for such systems to run break even, however I used the calculator at Findsolar.com and discovered with present systems I could save half off my present electric bill. Since I use about 900KWH per month ( a little low for most households) according to the calculator that would mean I sell the utility about 450 KWH of electricity every month.
If half of my neighbors between my place and town also had such systems the extra generation would truly mount up. That would be 1,250 KWH of generation capacity the utilities wouldn't have to produce. Just for this county, that would be about 14.4 MKWH of electric generation. At a cost of around $20,000 per installation that would be a cost of about $124 million for the extra capacity, where even a coal fired plant of equal capacity estimates in at $2.5 trillion.
The math alone says we should use public funds to equip our neighborhoods and homes with solar or wind generation (yes there are wind cogeneration units that produce even better return on the investment and are small enough to sit in most back yards). How come nobody else is even suggesting such a switch in the way we produce, and use electricity? Why is all the hype about building new nuclear or new coal fired plants or new hydroelectric sources?
If business and industry also joined in and installed similar systems to cover even half of their power usage, we would eliminate the need for new systems except to replace aging systems as they became too old to compete any more. It wouldn't take a new TVA or even a new department of energy, just a fresh look at what can be done and then doing it. I bet the competitiveness of the systems would happen not in 2015 but by 2012. Then just think how much we would save in energy costs from that point on.