Energy Policy or Vermont
The green lobby in Europe is so strong that it has pushed EU politicians to oppose virtually every kind of reliable non-renewable energy. ..."Ordinary families and small and medium-sized businesses are essentially subsidizing the investments of green do-gooders," who can afford to install solar panels on their homes and their businesses. But what's really starting to cause citizens and policy-makers to question their green energy agenda, is that soaring energy costs are driving energy-intensive industries in Europe to move to the United States.
Eliminating unrealistic statewide wind energy capacity goals, as Woodcock suggests, would be a start toward revamping Maine's wind energy policy to reflect the progress that's been made and the best route to capitalize on it in the future.
The European Union's utopian scheme of transforming itself into a green energy powerhouse is faltering as its fantasy plan is colliding with reality. As the EU's economic and financial crisis deepens and unemployment continues to rise, what used to be an almost all-embracing green consensus is beginning to disintegrate.
Rep. Klein is perhaps the most dogmatic supporter of large renewable energy projects in the Vermont Legislature. Being such a strong proponent, one would reasonably believe that he would have established a well-articulated rationale for his support. But a look at his record on big renewable energy reveals a pattern characterized by an absence of any objective rationale in support for his positions. In other words, he seems to be for large renewable energy projects simply because he thinks they're a good idea.
Renewable energy may be a popular catch phrase along Colorado's urban Front Range, but it has turned into fighting words across much of rural Colorado. Not because rural communities are against it, to the extent it makes economic sense, but because they're about to be force-fed an overdose by state Senate President John Morse, D-Colorado Springs.
The complaints eventually reached the state level, prompting DEP sound tests. Eventually, both wind turbines were shut down at nighttime. ..."There is no energy technology out there of any real consequence that doesn't have environmental and social impacts that need to be carefully studied and addressed. Just by using a renewable fuel, does not eliminate that responsibility, that challenge."
Renewables already added a 47 percent surcharge to electric bills at the beginning of this year. Now we're going to see something worse. The big, power-consuming manufacturers have been exempted from these charges so they can stay competitive with the rest of the world, but everyone else is going to bear the brunt.
It would be too bad if a project had local support but a moratorium quashed it. It would also be too bad if a project were universally despised in its host communities but a town's lack of standing in the process did not allow the PSB to take into account local views. ...Even boosters such as Shumlin say they don't want to cram any projects down townspeople's throats. The Legislature ought to be looking for ways that towns can be empowered to prevent that from happening.
A certain degree of local congestion and general oversupply is often planned into the system. However, given the relatively narrow operating margins of wind and solar projects, typical project leverage ratios and the debt service coverage ratio covenants by which most projects are bound, an annual curtailment of generating capacity of more than one percent can have a devastating impact on project viability.
It is sad in these rough economic times that our single-party Colorado state government would impose a law that has the same effect as a tax increase on its people by passing expensive legislation cleverly introduced under the cover of environmental benefit. This just does not make common sense.
Germany is irrationally shutting its nuclear power plants — which produce lots of steady, reliable electricity and no carbon dioxide emissions — and promising that renewables will somehow pick up the slack. Perversely, that approach has led power companies to ramp up coal burning, the dirtiest fossil fuel, in a country that has also lavished its public money on the solar industry. Spain, too, has over-invested in expensive renewables.
The deeper, difficult questions to the voters are whether the project's initial community wide benefit has been realized. Whether, after turbine operation curtailment, noise tests, health testimonials, the Wind Turbine Option Process and countless town meetings, if any residual community wide benefit exists? Unfortunately, there is none. The question is no longer whether Wind I and Wind II inflict unacceptable levels of harm upon Blacksmith Shop Road or Craggy Ridge neighbors.
Global investment in clean energy in this quarter was lower than at any quarter since 2009. Global investment in Q1 2013 was down 22% from Q1 2012 at $40.6 billion for renewable energy, energy efficiency and energy-smart technologies. From the last quarter of 2012, global investment in clean energy plummeted 38%. The largest drops were seen in asset finance of utility-scale projects like wind farms and solar parks.
Most power plants have some flexibility to vary their power production in the short term by operating at less than their full output. But even here flexibility is limited by operating constraints, which may be getting worse for the newest and most energy efficient plants.
Conventional coal-fired plants can turn down their output by a maximum of about 50 percent. Any lower and their efficiency drops to the point where they violate air quality controls.
A deliberate attempt to obscure the cost of those decisions by releasing only partial numbers? Testimony before the justice committee this week has shown the Liberals knew the $40-million cost of the Oakville cancellation that the former energy minister had insisted was the only true cost, in fact, referred only to sunk costs, and that the final bill would actually be much higher.
A Democratic bill to boost the renewable energy standard in rural Colorado is being rushed through the legislature. Its sponsors should slow down and consider making it less onerous. ...Because they weren't involved in drafting the bill, Tri-State quickly calculated it would cost them between $2 billion and $4 billion to meet the new standard.
Wind Spin leapt up a notch with news out of two new studies showing that people who say wind turbines are making them sick are making it up because they have been influenced by anti-wind campaigns. In other words, the wind industry says if you are sick it is because you are so stupid that you will believe anything someone tells you. And in Vermont, anti-winders were informed that they are part of a conspiracy to undermine the wind industry, in concert with the oil industry and the Koch Brothers.
It took an energy insider this past week to expose the dirty little truth about the future of wind energy - it's too costly, too unreliable and only getting more so because of government subsidies.
Take that, you green zealots.
Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick's wind energy agenda has led Commonwealth communities into expensive capital expenditures. Now, agencies, under his watch, fortify his agenda and turn theirs back on the community. Falmouth is left windburned and forced to fix itself.
If our communities can't reasonably afford to purchase and rely on the wind power we sell, it is difficult to make the moral case for our businesses, let alone an economic one. Yet as long as these subsidies and tax credits exist, clean-energy executives will likely spend most of their time pursuing advanced legal and accounting methods rather than investing in studies, innovation, new transmission technology and turbine development.