USA and Colorado
Senators Bennet and Udall have consistently backed extension of three little-known items: the Production Tax Credit, the Investment Tax Credit, and Section 1603 grants. These notorious mechanisms provide billions in subsidies to the least efficient, most hated, and most environmentally destructive type of power generation: industrial wind projects.
Colorado is widely recognized for its wind-power capabilities, but even there, wind power is inconsistent and undependable. Studies by Bentek Energy, which examined energy deployment in Texas and Colorado, found that emissions of pollutants actually increase with RES because wind requires backup generation by fossil fuels such as coal and natural gas.
But a conference held in Denver earlier this month gave a sobering preview of major land decisions ahead for this nation. Experts at CLE International's convention on Historic Preservation and Tribal Consultation: Energy & Transmission Projects predicted that energy projects will be bigger and come faster than any of us foresee, with great impacts on ethnographic and rural historic districts.
The stimulus package passed by Congress in February included almost $80 billion for renewable energy, energy efficiency, mass transit, updating the electrical grid and research.
Secretary of Interior Ken Salazar has made production, development, and delivery of renewable energy one of his department's highest priorities. But the government's focus on using public lands for power generation is not the best solution for our solar energy needs. There is a better way.
European countries have been pushing a green jobs agenda far longer than America. Matthew Kahn, professor of economics at the University of California, Los Angeles, summarizes their record in the May/June issue of the centrist journal Foreign Policy. While "an optimist can certainly find success stories" in green job creation, Kahn concludes, there's no doubt that the "subsidies are costly," and that they not only "distort consumption and investment decisions" but result in "a less robust economy."
What I remembered most was the quiet solitude, listening to the gentle breezes brush though the grass against my tent. When I arrived at the trailhead I was appalled to see windmills as far as the eye could see to the north and west.
Being sadly disappointed, I headed further east in search of more Chalk Bluffs that could afford some good photography. I drove all the way to Sterling and could not find one bit of the plateau without windmills.
Democrats can't get to Denver without dumping carbon into the air.
They're washing away the sins of transportation and electrification by purchasing carbon offsets from a Vermont-based broker called NativeEnergy. ...This modern-day indulgence is officially called the "Green Delegate Challenge." For a mere $7.50, delegates and attendees can buy a carbon offset, making them at least theoretically responsible for new alternative energy. They can then forget about the emissions from jets, limos, buses, trains and taxis they take to Denver. They also can flash the lights, crank up the soundstages and rock 'n' roll like the dominant force they've become with that rhetoric about saving the planet.
For an East Coast liberal hoping to make it to Denver for next month's Democratic National Convention, air or car travel can create quite the carbon-foot printed nightmare. While the DNCC has attempted to help limit the number of guilty consciences by offering to sell delegates carbon credits alleged to help offset damage to mother earth, it turns out that a primary source of these credits is a sham. ...an eastern Colorado wind turbine "tapped for the [DNC's] carbon-offset problem has one problem: It doesn't generate any electricity."
If local citizens want to assuage their guilt about energy use and carbon footprints they must first prepare themselves for a few simple inconvenient truths. That's because some wind and solar true believers conveniently dispense with rational discussion concerning what's possible to achieve in meeting future electric energy needs along with what it will cost to make significant gains.
Were it not for the huge taxpayer subsidies the "green" revolution promised for wind and solar would not be possible. ...
Our Department of Energy wants to achieve that 20 percent goal by the year 2030 and some States even want a more ambitious goal. Fortunately there are people who recognize that in order to achieve these goals we will need to build twice as much capacity because it isn't always windy where it needs to be.
Reserve generating capacity, normally 10 percent to 15 percent, could be down to 1 percent or zero percent in some places, and Yale professor Charles Perrow, who follows power-supply shortfalls, says "I'm prepared to see many more blackouts occurring. . . . it's really going to be a freight train running into disaster."
This is not an encouraging scenario, to say the least. ...Here is one decisive piece of realism: Coal supplies more than 50 percent of U.S. electricity and more than 80 percent of Colorado's electricity. Due to its abundance and price stability, coal will - and must - continue to be a major source in meeting U.S. and world electricity demand for decades to come. While proponents of alternative energy are often adamant in their rejection of coal as a continued long-term energy resource, reality dictates otherwise. To dismiss this reality is simply dangerous - dangerous to long-term energy supply and price stability.
Wind power has all the ingredients of a good brain-buster. The energy that windmills produce helps to preserve the environment, but the giant wind generators themselves have to be added to the environment. Wind power is making us redefine what we consider pollution. Windmills may not billow black smoke that requires scrubbing or leak hazardous radiation, but they make a lot of noise and can change a scenic horizon or ridgeline into a jumble of tinker-toy technology. Like dams in rivers, they interrupt the free flow of natural settings.
When the country thinks about its energy problems, it often focuses on our dependence on foreign oil and the recent high prices of gasoline. Petroleum provides 40 percent of our energy and is particularly vulnerable to geopolitical swings in unstable regions of the world.
But utility executives worry that Americans are failing to appreciate another aspect of the energy picture, namely that the power plants using coal, natural gas and nuclear power to produce electricity may soon not meet our growing needs.
"My biggest fear is that we are running out of generation," said Michael G. Morris, chairman and chief executive of American Electric Power, with 5 million customers in 11 states. "That is an issue that the average person doesn't know a thing about. When we tell corporate America, they say, 'What do you mean you're running out of power?"'
The executives' concern is echoed by the North American Electric Reliability Council, which last week said in its annual report that in two to three years, the margin between power supply and demand will drop below levels necessary for reliability in Texas, the Northeast and the Midwest. Other parts of the country could reach that point in the next decade.
Wind energy is environmentally harmful and costly to taxpayers. Furthermore, its expansion could adversely affect the nation's electricity transmission system.