The single most important step in getting affordable power to the people of Belize is to REPEAL THE MONOPOLY LAW and institute:
1. Competitive bidding for government-paid power and
2. Free competition to the private sector.
Let towns, villages, communities, businesses and individuals purchase power in any way they wish from anyone they wish to buy from.
As to what methods are best for power, I do not think any country can rely on just one thing. Environmental, financial and availability factors differ in different parts of the country and for different uses.
I think the way to go is a combination of:
1. What we have now (a national "grid" relying on purchased power from Mexico
2. Large diesels
3. Biomass power generation
4. Wind energy
5. Solar energy
6. and, when it becomes available, fuel cell technology.
7. Hydro electric (but no giant monopoly dams. Check out the Five Sisters Lodge in Cayo for a fantastic example of sustainable use of hydro electric power.
As far as California is concerned, I am in California. The "power crisis" DOES NOT EXIST there -- except as a "political crisis." It was manufactured by a few large corporations (including, by the way, Enron.
FYI: Solar and wind are being increasingly used, but one of the impeding factors has been the monopoly (yup, we have them too!) utilities (here in Norcal, its Pacific Gas and Electric). You have to be something of a "rebel" to get your net metering done.
But it is definitely doable from a technical standpoint.
As far as wind turbines are concerned and their cosmetic appearance, I guess we'll have to agree to disagree. We have many hills with so called "wind farms" on them a few miles from me and I actually think they look kind of neat....
As far as hurricanes toppling them, that's a good point. The older ones used to go down in bad storms. The newer generation are quite sturdy, according to www.bergey.com
they have withstood some pretty heavy storms but of course there is always the risk of damage.
There are down sides to everything. But everything will be appropriate to some users and the more a particular technology is used, the cheaper it will become IF THERE IS COMPETITION.
I think fuel cell technology has a lot of promise too, to be very affordable. Not yet available to individual consumers, but just beginning to go online for certain communities in Europe, the US is a bit behind here.