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.
San Francisco is about to find out how much it costs to be clean and green. After years of study and initial approvals, city residents will learn the price of a new energy diet, one that promises electricity from only renewable sources.
In the latest demonstration that politicians and regulators are unqualified to operate an economy, utility executives are yet again worried about blackouts rolling across the state, this time because California's expensive rush to install wind and solar has left it dependent on renewable energy that is inherently less reliable.
Energy Policy: Wind and sunlight are free, but that doesn't make them cheap. This is a lesson that states such as California will learn as they push hard to cut the fossil-fuel share of electric power.
It's the taxes you can't see that may gouge you the most.
If you thought your monthly utility bills were high now, just wait.
According to the nonpartisan Little Hoover Commission's report, "Rewiring California," ratepayers face soaring electrical bills because of the move toward adding more solar and wind energy to the power grid.
Erecting thousands of wind turbines along a major migration corridor would seemingly fail a fundamental requirement for bird-safe wind energy: correct siting. A World Bank document about one of the Tehuantepec wind farms states "avian impacts are not expected to be significant," but a case study of another wind farm admits "concern about the potential cumulative impacts of the many additional wind farms planned in the same general area."
A pair of stories in the last week detailed conflicts between San Diego Gas and Electric (SDG&E) and national environmental groups over two separate wind projects. One of the conflicts appears to have been resolved amicably, while the other is headed to the courtroom. And each story involves the power of flight.
Asked directly whether the generator that caused the fire was an actual wind turbine, Captain Ewing confirmed, "Yes ma'am." He also confirmed that ground had been cleared around the base of each turbine, the blaze swiftly spread to become a wildland fire despite those precautions. Captain Ewing did not know the precise cause of the turbine malfunction.
Standing on a former mountaintop blasted away to build the new Suncrest Substation, Governor Jerry Brown yesterday praised completion of the 117-mile Sunrise Powerlink high voltage lines-and denigrated 79,000 citizens who have fought against destroying our communities and scenic vistas.
"You have to crush the opposition," the Governor said forcefully.
The Schatz Center's professors simply overlooked these issues in their op-ed article. They painted a positive green picture for the county to see, leaving out the perils and sacrifices Ferndale must now consider. Apparently, in their exuberant interest in Shell Wind, the Schatz energy practitioners think that industrializing the gateway to the priceless Lost Coast is acceptable -- at any cost.
BrightSource Energy, now building two huge solar thermal plants to supply customers of Southern California Edison Co., added a large amount of heat-exchange energy storage capacity to its projects. ...probably a good idea, and the PUC quickly approved it. But once again, there was no mention of cost. No one knows how much consumers will pay for that improvement, so no one outside the utilities commission can judge whether the gigantic storage units will be worth the money they'll cost.
In a leaked letter sent to the PC caucus, the Industrial Power Consumers Association of Alberta (IPCAA) lambasted AESO's proposed lines as "unnecessary," "irresponsible," "unaffordable" and "lacking common sense." Instead of attracting investment, the plan, they claim, will drive industrial users out of Alberta or force them to generate their own power, leaving domestic users to pick up industry's share (61 percent) of the tab. Even the Fraser Institute, an industry cheerleader, is opposed.
"There is no evidence that DDT harmed eagles in any way, but we know windmills actually do harm the eagles -- and environmentalists are all bent out of shape about endangered species status of eagles," says Milloy. "Well, those big Cuisinarts in the sky -- they seem to be whacking a lot of eagles."
NIMBYism is the default invective hurled these days when anyone raises valid questions about what's being sold, but name-calling and threatened boycotts are cheap shots when the stakes are so high. After all, just how GREEN is this technology really? Who amongst us is sufficiently schooled on the true efficiency and safety of giant wind turbines? I've seen them stretched across dry, treeless land abutting freeways and thought, "now there's a good use of unpopulated, barren landscape," but frankly, I don't know much about them.
The homeowners who are expected to host the power lines do not wish them, nor the access road. The homeowners and business owners of Ferndale just showed they don't want the project either.
Shell Oil representatives went around to the media pitching their deal. Why? Because they know they don't have community support in Ferndale nor much support in Rio Dell.
The reality: wind energy's carbon dioxide-cutting benefits are vastly overstated. Furthermore, if wind energy does help reduce carbon emissions, those reductions are too expensive to be used on any kind of scale.
When the condors do move north (from Baja), will San Diego County greet them with open arms allowing them to nest and forage locally, or kill them off with a gauntlet of spinning wind turbine blades?
The green campaign wastes scarce and precious technological and entrepreneurial resources indispensable to the nation's future. Now it is debauching America's most precious venture assets. It must be defeated, not appeased.
The message is that California energy prices will soar, on top of the added costs of huge taxpayer subsidies that will be needed to finance so-called renewable energy sources. Wind, solar and geothermal energy are all economically infeasible without massive subsidies.
Like the huge amounts of taxpayer dollars already wasted in government subsidies for the ethanol industry, other renewable-energy endeavors are likely to face similar fates.