Library filed under Taxes & Subsidies from Canada

Less For More: The Rube Goldberg Nature of Industrial Wind Development

Less_for_more_thumb Rube Goldberg would admire the utter purity of the pretensions of wind technology in pursuit of a safer modern world, claiming to be saving the environment while wreaking havoc upon it. But even he might be astonished by the spin of wind industry spokesmen. Consider the comments made by the American Wind Industry Association.s Christina Real de Azua in the wake of the virtual nonperformance of California.s more than 13,000 wind turbines in mitigating the electricity crisis precipitated by last July.s .heat storm.. .You really don.t count on wind energy as capacity,. she said. .It is different from other technologies because it can.t be dispatched.. (84) The press reported her comments solemnly without question, without even a risible chortle. Because they perceive time to be running out on fossil fuels, and the lure of non-polluting wind power is so seductive, otherwise sensible people are promoting it at any cost, without investigating potential negative consequences-- and with no apparent knowledge of even recent environmental history or grid operations. Eventually, the pedal of wishful thinking and political demagoguery will meet the renitent metal of reality in the form of the Second Law of Thermodynamics (85) and public resistance, as it has in Denmark and Germany. Ironically, support for industrial wind energy because of a desire for reductions in fossil-fueled power and their polluting emissions leads ineluctably to nuclear power, particularly under pressure of relentlessly increasing demand for reliable electricity. Environmentalists who demand dependable power generation at minimum environmental risk should take care about what they wish for, more aware that, with Rube Goldberg machines, the desired outcome is unlikely to be achieved. Subsidies given to industrial wind technology divert resources that could otherwise support effective measures, while uninformed rhetoric on its behalf distracts from the discourse.and political action-- necessary for achieving more enlightened policy.
20 Dec 2006

Putting power in motion - Three new NSP turbines being built atop Cumberland County peak

HIGGINS MOUNTAIN — The Nova Scotia government’s recently released targets for producing renewable energy are achievable, but incentives might be needed to make them a reality, says the president of Nova Scotia Power. Developers, some of whom are under-capitalized, must make an enormous investment, Ralph Tedesco said Tuesday. "I think it will take a variety of incentives," he said. "Ultimately it becomes a public policy issue."
23 Nov 2006

Wind and solar power catch a stiff breeze

"There are two kinds of electricity supply. One is a firm supply where if you demand 100 megawatts, you get it at any time. Coal, gas-fired and nuclear plants can deliver that energy," Mr. Livet explains. "Then you have interrupted supply, because if the wind doesn't blow, you don't have any energy. So you need backup." The ideal clean energy mix of wind and water would work best in British Columbia, Manitoba and Quebec, which have developed hydro dam infrastructures and a large storage of water, Mr. Livet says. "It makes quite good sense for those provinces to actually build more wind energy, since if the wind blows, they can save water until it's needed."
13 Nov 2006

Wind power racing into the mainstream

Federal policy is one of the current challenges to the industry, says Hornung. Funds in the federal Wind Power Production Incentive program (WPPI), which has subsidized a portion of the cost of establishing wind farms since 2001, have been frozen since April as the Conservative government hammers out its energy and environmental policies. Developers across the country are committed to start projects after winning competitive power supply contracts based on bids in which the WPPI funds were calculated as part of projected revenues. "The economics of the projects change completely without those funds," says Hornung.
10 Nov 2006

Proposed wind farm rules OK, developer says

Nova Scotia’s first wind farm developer is a fan of the Tories’ proposed legislation on wind turbine taxation. “Wind energy has a lot of potential in Nova Scotia,” Charles Demond, president of Pubnico Point Wind Farm Inc., said Monday at Province House. “The bill provides certainty for wind developers and, in our view, a very healthy, . . . very attractive stream of revenue in the municipalities where they are developing . . . wind power.” He said his 30.6-megawatt operation was facing a $450,000 tax bill before this legislation. It had launched an appeal and, if successful, the bill would have been reduced to around $75,000.
7 Nov 2006

Can planting trees really give you a clear carbon conscience?

Carbon offset schemes are designed to neutralise the effects of the carbon dioxide our activities produce by investing in projects that cut emissions elsewhere. They work through the rapidly growing trade in carbon credits, each worth the equivalent of a tonne of carbon. Offset companies typically buy carbon credits from projects that plant trees or encourage a switch from fossil fuels to renewable energy. They sell credits to individuals and companies who want to go "carbon neutral". Some climate experts say offsets are dangerous because they dissuade people from changing their behaviour.
7 Oct 2006

You feel better, but is your carbon offset just hot air?

Green consumers and businesses who want to neutralise their carbon emissions face being ripped off by unscrupulous operators who exploit the growing market in carbon offset schemes, a Guardian investigation has revealed. The surge in interest in such schemes, which invest millions of pounds in forestry and clean energy projects in the developing world, has created a lucrative market in carbon, which is unregulated and subject to little scrutiny. Campaigners and analysts say independent standards are urgently needed to protect consumers and to ensure the promised carbon savings are delivered. Francis Sullivan, a carbon offset expert who led attempts by banking group HSBC to neutralise its emissions, said: “There will be individuals and companies out there who think they’re doing the right thing but they’re not. I am sure that people are buying offsets in this unregulated market that are not credible. I am sure there are people buying nothing more than hot air.”
7 Oct 2006

Kyoto linked to soaring power bills

Canadians would see their hydro and natural-gas bills spike dramatically should the three opposition parties succeed in forcing the government to comply with Kyoto, Environment Minister Rona Ambrose warned Thursday. Ms. Ambrose was appearing before the Commons environment committee for the first time since she was sworn in to Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s cabinet in February. Though she outlined the broad direction of her fall environmental plan and gave a few more hints as to where the government is headed, opposition MPs left frustrated that she did not provide any new information.
6 Oct 2006

Bill would credit those who generate own energy

David Eggen's green energy bill was born and died in one short afternoon in the legislature last week, but he's hoping it will be resurrected one day soon....... He said the change - known as net metering - only requires a simple amendment to allow Albertans to run their electricity meters backwards when they generate more electricity than they use.
4 Sep 2006
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