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The questions can be posed pretty starkly: if the voters in a place like California can reject carbon curbs, and by extension, the shift to a clean energy economy, what chance for success do the concepts have in the rest of the country?
The upshot is that millions of Californians could soon experience power outages. As the state derives more of its electricity from renewables, it needs more "peak" gas-fired plants that can ramp up to meet demand when the sun isn't shining and wind isn't blowing-namely during dawn and dusk. Otherwise, rolling blackouts could ensue.
Nobody knows exactly how much flexible power is needed to ensure a reliable electric supply.
Why has California basically stalled, while other states have forged ahead? I put the question to V. John White, executive director of the Center for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Technologies in Sacramento.
First, Mr. White pointed out, California was the early leader in wind power - it installed several big projects in the 1980s (one of which, Altamont Pass, has been criticized for harming birds). Not much has happened since, however, and the fact that California moved early "means that the easy projects are already in," said Mr. White.
Gradually, the message is beginning to sink in. With wind farms already growing in unpopularity, people are now waking up to the gigantic scale of the rip-off being perpetrated. As more and more people begin to understand this, it should only be a matter of time before the whole programme crashes and burns.
But, there is one minor problem ... wind energy is an EU-supported obsession. To stop the scam, we have to confront the EU. Is there a politician brave enough to do this?
The wind industry is still trying to analyse the implication of some of the recommendations - such as state governments consider their own setback rules, or low-frequency noise be included in planning decisions. But possibly the most valuable part of this process has been the realisation from the wind industry that it needs a little less hubris and a lot more consultation as it seeks to build projects.
As the Senate opens debate on its mammoth carbon regulation program this week, the phrase of the hour is "cap and trade." This sounds innocuous enough. But anyone who looks at the legislative details will quickly see that a better description is cap and spend. This is easily the largest income redistribution scheme since the income tax. ...If Congress is really going to impose this carbon tax in the name of saving mankind, the least it should do is forego all of this political largesse. In return for this new tax, Congress should cut taxes elsewhere to make the bill revenue neutral.
In the Williams/Whitcomb world of tabloid journalism, there is no room for thoughtful discussion, for weighing costs against benefits, for understanding that self-interest is at work on both sides of the issue or for any kind of honest discussion. Such thoughts would get in the way of the facile thinking and cynical blather that fills their book and that is now commonplace on TV, radio and the Internet. Do you find yourself bored now that Don Imus and Rosie O'Donnell are off the air? Does the Internet no longer meet your need for trash talk? Then read this book. You won't learn anything substantive from it, but it'll be great entertainment.
Do you remember open-book tests, the ones where you could look up the answers to the questions?
Those are the kind of tests that Cape Wind has passed.
Here are some questions that weren't on the test.
What right do you have to build an energy plant in what amounts to an ocean sanctuary?
How can you describe the Nantucket Sound project as the harbinger of more offshore energy installations when the Draft Environmental Impact Statement listed so many problems with alternative sites?
Why should the project's impact on cultural resources such as Barnstable's historic districts be left unaddressed until some post-approval negotiation over mitigation?
How can a state agency charged to overturn the decisions of state and local agencies (if these actions would threaten the provision of adequate and appropriate power supplies) reject a regional regulatory commission's judgment? How, indeed, when the state Legislature that created both decreed that the commission's actions could be challenged only in the courts?
When there is no wind no power is produced. When the wind blows at night, battery storage power is as primitive now as it was in 1990, with very little improvement. The Big Breakthrough in proton exchange membranes and fuel cells is still a research hypothesis ...Thus, based on economics the conclusion is that Cape Wind is a No Build project.
Time and technology have caught up with Cape Wind. Its advantage of six years ago as a novel proposal is now flattened by the advance of deeper-water wind technology (as well as promised advances in wave and tidal energy generation).
By the time Cape Wind could be up and running - by 2011 or 2012 at the earliest - commercial-scale deeper-water projects will be a reality. No matter how you spin it, deeper-water locations are a better alternative to Cape Wind. The winds are stronger, the potential is greater and the risks are significantly lower.
Cape Wind - composed of unnecessary rate hikes, sweetheart deals and hidden costs - has been disguised by a clean, green energy cloak, camouflage enough to fool any environmentally conscious consumer into thinking that if it looks green, it must be good.
Cape Wind is not good for Massachusetts.
As Cape Wind gets closer and closer to receiving permit approval and securing a power contract, I think Massachusetts residents deserve an open and honest accounting about the true impact this project ...At a time when American taxpayers just bailed out Wall Street and now one in 10 people are without a job, we must make sure that our policy decisions to make this energy transition minimize the financial burden we place on those who can least afford it.
Queensland families and retirees are worried about the rising costs created by a carbon tax, saying they 'cannot be taxed any further'.
Intuitively, though, it feels like there's something wrong with this picture. When you stop and think about it, the whole idea of driving a car, paying money into a green kitty to offset the CO2 from burning the gas, and then calling the car trip carbon-neutral, is ludicrous.
Renewable sources such as wind energy, geothermal energy, hydroelectric power, photovoltaic and solar thermal energy should only be considered supplements. Replacing, for instance, a coal power plant of 100 megawatts would require 300 to 400 wind generators, even if we assume a nominal performance of 2 to 2.5 MW per wind generator. And the problem of storing of wind-generated energy during long-lasting periods of calm has not been solved.
Is such a substitution reasonable for Interior Alaska? Certainly not.
This 4.5 billion-year-old planet has been heating or cooling every minute of its existence. The notion that humans have substantially changed the world which we inherited is just vanity. Some among us cannot tolerate the notion that their mere presence has not changed it.
Everyone probably agrees with the fundamental goal of the legislation --
to protect Vermont's fragile environment by increasing the use of clean
energy. But before lawmakers rush into mandates, they must ensure the
measure doesn't inadvertently harm the economy or the landscape.
The burdens of this wind turbine project, then, do not fall equally upon all members of society, nor do they fall in rough proportion as the benefits upon those who do stand to gain from the project.
Furthermore, those upon whom the burdens fall are not an all-volunteer army. No one who built or bought residential property in the area west of Hays had any idea that they were possibly taking on the burden of health and safety risks and so on.
Thus, this project is unfair. If the project is built as it is presently proposed, the non-leasing people who live near the project will bear the greatest share of the burdens without sharing in the benefits in a similar proportion.
Utilities get credits for "green" power they produce, or they can buy the credits from companies that create power from "renewable" sources. If they do neither, they have to pay a fine to the state. Proceeds from the fines subsidize energy conservation projects.
Sounds great. But like "cash for clunkers," there are problems. For example, the program already raised electric utility rates by $10.7 million earlier this year. Green power is more expensive. And then there are the windmills.
A combination of what remains of the tax equity market and government stimulus money this year is projected to bring the 2010 figure close to the $6 billion of the strong development years.
But all that could change without Congressional action. ...without a continuation of the grants [the study] foresees a 50 percent drop or greater to $3 billion in both 2011 and 2012.