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It's true that wind turbine critics wanted a farther setback -- one figure that gets thrown around is a 2-kilometer setback, or more than 6,000 feet. But that the PSC's figure is less than critics wanted and more than developers proves nothing about the process that produced the PSC's rule.
Was, in fact, the process fair?
The rationalization for designation corridors is not to facilitate or dictate how the states' regions, transmission providers or electric utilities should meet their own energy challenges, according to the DOE. But truth be told, it is quite the opposite.
"The process is geared more toward expediting the approval and siting of transmission corridors than it is geared toward respecting states' rights about their residents' energy future and needs...and by a heavy-handed centralized one-size fits all approach..," according to Congressman Maurice Hinchey (D-NY). And it is precisely such sentiments that have been raised to the Secretary of Energy, Samuel Bodman, by both federal and state lawmakers on both sides of the aisle in all 10 states and Washington, D.C. that will be directly impacted by NIETC.
And most crucial to note, EPAct 2005 enables eminent domain law over states by the federal government on a scale unlike the U.S. has ever seen.
Europe is several years ahead of the US in implementing policies intended to mitigate global warming. All of the European Union's member countries have ratified the Kyoto Protocol and adopted a wide range of policies to lower their emissions and meet their Kyoto targets.
These policies include a cap-and-trade initiative known as the emissions trading scheme, steep fuel taxes, and ambitious programs to build windmills and other renewable energy projects. These policies were undertaken at a time when the EU economy was doing well and - one hopes - with full knowledge that they would have significant costs.
In a recent fiasco the Highland County Board of Supervisors issued a permit for a wind energy project supported by only 20 percent of 97 speakers at the public hearing. Prior to the hearing more than 1,000 residents and landowners of this county with a population of only 2,500, signed a petition opposed.
Editor’s note: The following letter was written to Del. Chris Saxman and shared with The Recorder.
"Maine is prepared to host thousands of megawatts of generation capacity from wind and biomass" to serve southern New England's "insatiable appetite for energy," Gov. John Baldacci wrote in a letter to the state's congressional delegation.
"However, the development of these resources for New England must not harm Maine consumers or adversely impact our environment, which is the cornerstone of our economy," he wrote.
Sens. Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins are working with Sen. Thune to ensure the intent of the amendment - to ensure wind power projects have access to transmission lines - is met without overruling the interests of host states and maybe even assuring that such states' ratepayers benefit as well.
But 22 percent by 2020 is far-fetched.
Wind power is intermittent, unreliable and expensive (even with subsidies). Many modern turbines are 400 feet tall and carry 130-foot, 7-ton, bird-slicing blades. They operate at only 20-30 percent of rated capacity - compared to 85 percent for coal, gas and nuclear plants - and provide little power during summer daytime hours, when air-conditioning demand is highest, but winds are at low ebb. ...Launching the enterprise with the backing of federal mandates and subsidies minimizes his [Pickens] financial risk and attracts semi-free-market investors, by putting the risks for his scheme on the backs of taxpayers. A $58-million ad campaign could pay 100:1.
None of which has deterred U.S. Attorney Timothy Purdon from pressing forward, despite criticism that the case is a targeted effort to advance the Obama administration's war on fossil fuels.
Forget everything you’ve heard from people like energy secretary Steven Chu and Exxon boss Rex Tillerson about the need for a mix of energy sources this century. The U.S. doesn’t need any new nuclear or coal-fired plants. It can do the job with just renewable energy and natural gas.
Yes, that is ...the line of Jon Wellinghoff, the new chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, the nominal head of the U.S. power system.
As a result, Ontario's renewable energy future is, yet again, in a state of uncertainty. Fortunately, projects that already have an existing FIT contract with the Ontario Power Authority (OPA) will not be subject to the new rules and pricing.
Over the past month and a half, the OPA and Deputy Minister Fareed Amin, tasked with spearheading the FIT review, have held numerous consultation sessions.
A good place to start is with the passage of I-937. ...So, Mr. Pratt, don't bother asking PSE why your rates are so high, but instead ask your state legislators and Gov. Gregoire why they are so high. Answers you will not receive are that there is a lack of competition for commercial electrical power generation and that government has created and micro-manages artificial, mandated energy markets.
I have read many articles, columns and letters lately with regard to wind energy in general and the Wolfe Island proposed wind farm in specific. I have read these items with dread, as I know that it is inevitable that wind power will be coming to this area in spite of its unsightliness, inefficiency and expense. ...Climate change isn't going to stop tomorrow; weather patterns are changing. Who knows where the wind is going to blow tomorrow? You can't move a wind turbine once it's built; its placement is dictated by access to the resource.
Sometimes it seems Denmark's primary goal in life is to make the U.S. feel environmentally inferior. ...The story of Denmark is one to heed as we prepare to dive headlong into alternatives. Bryce douses the green energy movement with a cold shower of facts and figures, ones that collectively remind us that a transition to wind and solar power would take decades, that it would be astronomically expensive, that it would make the U.S. reliant on China for turbines, and that it would lead to "energy sprawl."
Boone Pickens, Nacel Energy and Vestas Iberia have been issuing statements and placing print, radio and television ads, extolling the virtues of wind as an affordable, sustainable energy resource. Renewable energy reality is slowly taking hold, however.
Proposals to reduce global carbon dioxide emissions by 80% over the next few decades would put US companies at a competitive disadvantage, cost millions of jobs, and add $2000-4000 to the average American family's annual bill for electricity, gasoline, food and other basics, say government and other studies. Other developed countries would suffer similar fates.
Moreover, all this pain would bring no gain in the climate change arena. Ice core and temperature data covering thousands of years clearly show that planetary temperatures rise first and, 400 to 800 years later, atmospheric carbon dioxide levels increase. Temperatures fall and, centuries later, CO2 levels decline. Even Al Gore's own temperature-and-CO2 graph demonstrates this.
Warm oceans release trapped CO2, while colder seas absorb the gas, in cycles controlled by changes in solar energy and cosmic ray output, shifts in the Earth's orbit and other natural forces.
Historically, wind power has had limited success because continuous winds aren't guaranteed. ...
Politicians demanding wind- and water-generated power would yell bloody murder if we had to endure the kind of blackouts Uganda has. Those "alternate" power sources will never do because they are too unreliable and have too many other disadvantages.
An adjudication by the Advertising Standards Authority, released on 21 December, confirms that the wind power industry has duped the country, despite repeated warnings from critics. Every new development, most recently the outrageous approval of Glenmoriston at Loch Ness, is hailed as saving the emission of thousands of tonnes of a year.
[L]et's take a closer look at the wind business to figure out why America isn't already running on free wind power. One reason of course is that Americans are spoiled and want the power to be on all of the time. ...That is a problem when the wind doesn't blow all of the time.But more importantly, if you do the math, the investment in this part time power plant alone, neglecting transmission, profit, and operating overhead, is $13,000 per home. I say part time, because we must remember that someone has to own the backup power plant that isn't making any money when the wind is blowing.
Solar in some ways is even worse when it comes to the massive arrays and land necessary to place them on. And like wind, solar is not full time, science has not figured out how to keep it from getting dark at night.
I am certainly not against technology, just so long as we get the whole story. Like ethanol, we can burn our food supply, but not without repercussions.
The negative prices appear to be the result of the large installed capacity of wind generation. Wind generators face very small costs of shutting down and starting back up, but they do face another cost when shutting down: loss of the Production Tax Credit and state Renewable Energy Credit revenue which depend upon generator output. It is economically rational for wind power producers to operate as long as the subsidy exceeds their operating costs plus the negative price they have to pay the market. Even if the market value of the power is zero or negative, the subsidies encourage wind power producers to keep churning the megawatts out.
The Ocean State recently granted a New Jersey-based renewable energy firm the right to build an industrial-size wind farm about 20 miles off the coast of Rhode Island.
DeepwaterWind CEO Chris Brown told the Associated Press his firm builds turbines on large platforms originally designed for offshore drilling rigs, which means they can operate in deep waters and out of sight of land. He expects to build around 100 turbines offshore.
"What we've really focused on is that we want to be beyond the horizon," Brown said. "We don't think that you have to choose between...the view and the environment."
It's not easy to strike a balance, and that's where the friction arises.
In Vermont, it is playing out as the U.S. Forest Service is faced with
delivering a new management plan for the Green Mountain National Forest,
a 400,000-acre parcel of public land in central and southern Vermont.