Library from Colorado
Black Hills Energy is asking the Colorado Public Utilities Commission for a 3.7 percent rate increase for its electric customers, a hike the utility wants to recover $70 million it spent on a new wind farm near Walsenburg and other expenses.
I started thinking about it in a larger context, how the Great Plains have been this really abused area of the country. You can go back to the buffalo hunts and the genocides of Native Americans. We have nuclear weapons out there. We’ve drilled and spilled oil and gas, and now we’re fracking and building wind turbines. Most people don’t see this area. It’s flyover country. When you spend a lot of time there it really hits home what we’re doing in the name of consumption and the whole sociological impact people have on the environment.”
The wind lobby today is one of the fattest hogs at the corporate welfare trough. Rather than win customers through good prices and reliable products, the wind lobby uses political clout to force consumers to purchase its overpriced services.
Colorado's Democrats aren't willing to scrap a plan to increase renewable energy requirements for rural electricity providers. But they insist they're ready to talk about revising the proposal that has sparked sharp opposition in pockets of the state.
Colorado electricity prices rose 5 percent during the first 10 months of 2013 while U.S. prices rose just 2 percent during that same span. These price increases are predictable, indeed inevitable, when government forces consumers to purchase ever-increasing amounts of expensive renewable power.
Republicans are seeking to roll back a new law requiring rural electricity providers to draw 20 percent of its energy from renewable sources by the year 2020.
Indeed, on Dec. 19 the commissioners and interested members of the public endured a meeting that lasted from 9 a.m. until about 8 p.m. The meeting began with presentations from county staff and Golden West Power Partners employees, before moving on to a lengthy citizen comment period, and ending with approval for the project on a 3-1 vote. Lathen voted against the project; Commissioner Darryl Glenn was absent.
"I live under one of these, and my dream of living in a peaceful place is gone," the she said. Now that dream is lost for other El Paso County residents as well after commissioners voted 3 to 1 to approve an overlay zoning ordinance that allows the construction of a 147 turbine, 37,000-acre wind farm to be constructed within 1,000 feet of at least 18 rural homes southeast of Calhan.
The Obama administration should redraft the rules with an eye toward installing stronger wildlife protections that take into account how migratory birds live and travel. It's not too much to ask from an industry that is supposed to be environmentally friendly.
As conservative Republicans intensify their effort to permanently kill the PTC, which has been part of the tax code in some form since 1992, the wind industry itself faces some negative publicity. In late November, the U.S. Justice Department announced a settlement with Duke Energy Renewables, which pleaded guilty to the deaths of 14 golden eagles and 149 other migratory birds at two of its wind farms in Wyoming.
But at least one person is against it. Gail Hahn, who lives near the site of the wind farm, said she opposes the project because it will ruin the panoramic view from her home, and she believes it will reduce the value of her property.
The Abound Solar plant, which got $400 million in federal loan guarantees in 2010, when the Obama administration sought to use stimulus funds to promote green energy, filed for bankruptcy two years later. Now its Longmont, Colo., facility sits unoccupied, its 37,000 square feet littered with hazardous waste, broken glass and contaminated water.
A few years ago, Clipper Windpower had plans to build a wind power farm near Calhan, Colo. In February 2013, Fowler Wind Energy purchased the project, referred to as Golden West Power Partners, from Clipper. The project is under way.
The Arvada research center - where the technology was created and which was formerly PrimeStar Solar - will be closed, with 50 people losing their jobs, GE spokeswoman Lindsay Thiele said. ...The move is being driven by an overcapacity in solar-panel manufacturing and about a 50 percent drop in panel prices in the past two years.
Commissioners say legislative efforts to crack down on energy drilling and gun laws are prime reasons for the movement. ... The commissioners have also expressed concern about the lack of funding for infrastructure and education. They claim there is a disconnect between rural voters and legislators on issues such as water and energy production.
The $1 billion figure covers the cost of new wind farms, natural gas power plants to provide power when the wind isn't blow and transmission lines, Dave Lock, Tri-State's senior manager for government relations told a new committee Wednesday. ...Colorado Attorney General John Suthers, said that "in a perfect world" the committee would have been convened to reach consensus on the issues a year ago.
The secessionist movement is the result of a growing urban-rural divide, which was exacerbated after this year's legislation session where lawmakers raised renewable energy standards for rural electric co-ops, floated bills increasing regulations on oil and gas, and passed sweeping gun control.
In particular, brokers and developers asked whether Boulder has adequately accounted for the transmission costs of wind energy from far-flung parts of the state and whether Boulder won't essentially have to duplicate its efforts by developing natural gas capacity alongside less reliable wind energy.
Rural Colorado already is doing its part to develop renewable resources and diversify our state's energy portfolio. With a veto of SB 252, Gov. Hickenlooper can give that substantial effort a chance to yield dividends-while also ensuring rural ratepayers are able to afford their utility bills.
Farmers and rural homeowners in Northern Colorado on Wednesday added their voices to a statewide chorus calling on Gov. Hickenlooper to veto a bill certain to raise their electric bills.