The governor is correct that reclassifying hydropower would wreck Initiative 937. That exposes the true purpose of the measure, to force a massive investment in the only form of renewable power even remotely practical - wind. That is accomplished by extracting the funds from the ratepayers of the Northwest, through utilities that today and in the future mostly need no additional power to meet their load.
Wind is free. Converting it to electricity is not. It appears the cost falls to us, even for power we do not want or need. The generators of wind power demand we pay for electricity they do not make, and ensure their profits from taxpayer subsidies they do not receive.
It is spring in the Northwest. The water flows, the wind blows, and we pay people not to make electricity we don't need.
Some might have gotten perverse satisfaction that the west side of the Cascades was to get a dose of the visual blight that wind power generators bring.
But frankly, we feel Western Washington is entirely too beautiful to be subjected to those spinning giants.
Wind energy promoters and enablers are finally waking up to the possibility that the public knows there may be adverse effects from wind power.
That puts them about 25 years behind the rest of the country, at least that part of the country that does not fall to its knees when the word "green" is attached to a concept, no matter how inaccurately.
Wind developers are federally subsidized with tax credits and they are asking the BPA to pay for those credits temporarily lost during curtailment. This would amount to customers of public utilities paying private investors to stop producing electricity when it isn’t needed. BPA already gives these producers free hydropower to compensate for power deliveries they give up when production is curbed.
Dealing with Mother Nature in a way that reduces harm to humans, fish and the environment trumps man-made contracts and government mandates. ...wind-energy farmers must absorb the unexpected costs. It's part of the risk that comes with the rewards (including government-subsidies) that come with being wind-energy producers.
The driver isn't need. The Northwest has plenty of power and most of it is already bona fide renewable. Wind power is here because state mandates force utilities to buy power they don't need and the federal government subsidizes producers' bottom lines.
False incentives that encourage wind producers to keep building will exacerbate the region's glut of power production.
Tax breaks to encourage wind power are only justified -- if they're justified at all -- when renewable energy replaces electricity produced by a dirtier source. ...With so much water in the rivers, BPA's only alternative would have been to curtail hydroelectric production to make room on the transmission system for wind power.
Many residents and people passing through are outraged and appalled at the ruination of their aesthetic view of the Stuart Mountain range. The 410-foot towers are visible from all over the valley ...They are not yet operational, but already people are complaining about the muddy drinking water from wells from the blasting, the increased rattlesnake activity and the influx of mice and rats.
The Columbia River Gorge is one of the few remaining places in the nation where some of the Lewis and Clark landscape remains today as it existed more than two centuries ago.
Every year a little bit of that beauty is sliced off to allow man-made blights. This means we must witness the slow extinction of the grandeur of the Gorge.
"All the clause says is that the developer is to ‘give highest priority to increase the distance.' So long as the developer says ‘well, we tried, but this is the best we can do' there is no way to move forward on an enforcement action because the developer has satisfied all that the clause requires. Simply speaking, the clause the governor added sounds good, but means virtually nothing."
Cap-and-trade schemes could hurt families and send jobs overseas
The recently passed U.S. House bill to create a cap-and-trade system to tackle greenhouse-gas emissions threatens to hurt families and send jobs out of the country, argues Washington state Rep. Shelly Short, R-Addy. In Washington state, the definition of 'green jobs' is ill defined.
With frequent ferocity, The Columbian has expressed editorial support for both:
-- Wind energy as an alternative energy source.
-- The Endangered Species Act.
But what happens when those two advocacies collide, when wind turbines kill birds, especially birds of a threatened species? ...If forced into a corner of mandatory choice, we suspect the proper view would be to support the ESA and the birds, for one simple reason: Extinction is precisely that, irreversible.
It is well known that raptors commonly fly at an altitude that puts them at particular risk for collision with wind power blades.
Proper siting was touted as the key to green wind power. So why is wind power being sited in an Audubon Important Bird Area, and why is that Important Bird Area slated for border to border wind power development? The answer is simple. Instead of proper planning, Northwest wind power is being allowed to develop wherever infrastructure is available and politicians are agreeable.
Tonight the Umatilla County Planning Commission meets to discuss whether to adopt an amendment to the county's comprehensive plan that would ban giant wind turbines. ...The Blue Mountains are a resource shared by folks who live in Southeastern Washington and Northeastern Oregon. Anything that changes that resource is cause for concern, which is why we believe the "No Turbine Zone" amendment is worth considering.
Despite our region's decades-old dependence on hydropower as a reliable, reasonably clean and inexpensive power source, Washingtonians have embraced the concept of extracting energy from wind. In 2006, 52 percent of voters approved Initiative 937, requiring large utilities to increase renewable energy sources to 15 percent of their power production by 2020. Still, wind energy in the Northwest has raised valid concerns. For example, last month a golden eagle was killed at a wind tower southeast of Goldendale; it was believed to be the state's first casualty of an eagle killed by a wind turbine.
But what are our tax dollars buying?
In Utah, $79 million is being spent on improving drinking water. School districts in Georgia are receiving $660 million. Nebraska received $1 million to maintain national wildlife refuges.
But what about Washington? In particular, will our tax dollars help build the Desert Claim Wind Power Project in Kittitas County?
I-937 requires that large electric utilities increase their use of renewable energy sources to account for at least 15 percent of their power by 2020.
Sure, in an era of climate change fears, and a push for alternative energy supplies to wean us from our dependence on foreign sources it sounded like a step in the right direction.
But I-937 had some serious and expensive flaws and the Legislature - with the waiting period for tinkering with an initiative over - is looking at ways to fix those problems.
Wind turbines are the latest popular "answer" to our country's energy problems with talk of three-bladed monsters covering vast areas from Texas northward. T. Boone Pickens is spending millions to promote his vision of generating 20 percent of our energy from wind power (although he refuses to install any of the turbines on his own 120,000 acre ranch). ...The variability of wind power makes it very difficult for power companies to integrate wind power into their grid and still maintain the stable power supply required to avoid user-operating problems. This is a particularly severe problem if wind power is a large portion of the total power output.