Ruled By The Dollar

It seems as if any attempt at honesty in the energy field is met with lots of dollars being donated to oppose it. We know that the Saudis have funded a large portion of the anti-fracking movement in America because they don’t want to lose their monopoly on oil. Well, that is not the only place money is fighting science.

The Daily Caller posted an article yesterday about pushback from the wind industry’s lobbying arm.

The article reports:

Not long after Secretary of Energy Rick Perry announced a 60-day review of green energy policies’ impact on electric grid reliability, the wind industry’s lobbying arm devised a strategy to push back against the study, according to a leaked memo.

Perry’s April announcement worried the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) and others that the requested study could be used to bash subsidies and policies that allowed wind energy production to rapidly grow in recent years.

AWEA laid out a plan to engage with federal lawmakers, regulators and the media to push back against a study they saw as “supporting baseload sources such as coal and nuclear,” according to a leaked memo obtained by The Daily Caller News Foundation.

In March 2011 I posted an article about Spain’s attempt to convert to green energy. The attempt was a total failure–green energy is not reliable–the wind does not blow consistently 24/7 and the sun does not shine every day. The blades of windmills and the pressure around the blades kills birds, and the air above a solar farm can literally fry birds flying by. The attempt to convert to green energy caused energy prices to skyrocket and almost tanked the Spanish economy.

The green energy lobby is already taking aim at the review of green energy policies:

Green energy supporters and environmentalists interpreted the department’s study as a lifeline to coal and nuclear power plants, many of which have been slated for closure in the coming years. The Trump administration may be more focused on promoting coal and nuclear, green energy advocates fear.

AWEA quickly circulated a memo with other green advocates to push back against Perry’s study. The group planned a media and advocacy blitz in preparation for a study critical of wind power.

AWEA personnel would discuss the study with “contacts” at the Energy Department and present their own research to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, which regulates the electric grid, according to the memo sent out by AWEA CEO Tom Kiernan on April 17.

Kiernan also wanted AWEA to “pursue late April meeting with Secretary Perry and wind CEOs” and to lock down a meeting with Perry in Dallas, Texas.

The memo mentions teaming up with the Solar Energy Industries of America and the pro-green energy Advanced Energy Economy to issue a “joint response” to the study. Kiernan also suggested working with allies in Congress and the media, including The New York Times.

It’s really about the money–not the environment–the green energy industry is worried about losing its government subsidies. My feeling on that is if you can’t make green energy economically feasible without government money, then it isn’t really economically feasible and you need to go back to the drawing board and invent something better!

Wind and…

English: A barn and wind turbines in rural Ill...

English: A barn and wind turbines in rural Illinois Deutsch: Eine Scheune und Windturbinen im ländlichen Illinois Français : Une Grange et des éoliennes dans la campagne de l’Illinois Português: Um celeiro e turbinas de vento na Illinois rural. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Last night I had the privilege of hearing John Droz, Jr., speak on the topic of alternative energy. Mr. Droz is part of the Alliance for Wise Energy Decisions (AWED). an informal group of PhD‘s and other individuals involved in energy and environmental matters. As a physicist, Mr. Droz approaches the concept of green energy from a scientific perspective. Unfortunately, because the issue of green energy has become politicized, that approach is not generally heard. The group maintains the website WiseEnergy.org.

The issue last night was windmills–are they truly green energy and do they make sense scientifically? Recently Carteret County prevented the construction of a wind farm in their county, and there is now a company that may want to place a wind farm in Craven County. The discussion was a scientific approach to wind energy.

Mr. Droz explained that because a constant wind could not be depended upon, wind power alone cannot deliver electricity around the clock unless it is backed up by a conventional electrical source–coal, gas, wood, etc. So when you are talking about wind power, you are automatically talking about wind and.. That is something I have not often heard mentioned by the advocates of wind power.

There is also the issue of the impact of large wind turbines on residents nearby. In February of 2013, I posted an article (rightwinggranny.com) about wind power in Falmouth, Massachusetts. Falmouth is a town on the western end of Cape Cod, and theoretically would be a wonderful place to harness wind power–there is almost always wind. However, after the windmills began turning, residents complained of headaches, interrupted sleep, vertigo, and other symptoms. The Board of Selectmen voted to remove the turbines, but the town voted not to remove them (the removal might cost as much as $18 million). The town was examining other solutions–buying more property around the windmills (not cheap–property in Falmouth is expensive and there would also be the loss of real estate taxes paid to the town) and curtailing the hours the windmills operate. Obviously, neither solution is perfect.

The bottom line here is simple–from a scientific perspective wind power is not practical. There may come a time in the future when the technology advances to the point where wind energy does not need a fossil fuel back-up and the impact on people living near the turbines can be minimized, but we are not there yet.

The most important thing I learned last night was that if Craven County wants to protect itself from the damage wind mills would do to the county, there are some very basic things that can be done. First of all, the public needs to become aware of the facts about wind energy. Second of all, Craven County residents need to make sure that the Board of Commissioners is aware of the facts about wind energy. At that point, it is a matter of drafting basic legislation that will protect the country from the environmental damage that a wind farm would do to the community.

This is the link to the slideshow used in the presentation last night.

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More Questions Than Answers

 

I am posting this article because I honestly do not know what the truth of the matter is. I saw some people interviewed on television today regarding this, and I honestly don’t know if their objections are valid or not, so here is the story.

On February 6, Cape News reported on the possible impact of the Falmouth Board of Selectmen’s decision last week to remove the two town-owned wind turbines at the wastewater treatment facility. The article stated that the removal of the turbines might have an impact on other planned projects throughout the nation.

The article reports:

The Falmouth Wind Turbine Options Process reported that removing the turbines would cost the town $9 to $9.4 million. Last week, Assistant Town Manager Heather B. Harper told selectmen that number could be as high as $11.9 million. Town Manager Julian M. Suso said yesterday that there are many unknowns about the process of removing turbines. “Some work lies ahead to be certain what costs are appropriately in that figure,” he said.

Falmouth is seeking help from the state to relieve some of the financial burden of removing the turbines. Last week, Mr. Suso sent a letter to Massachusetts Clean Energy Center Chief Executive Officer Alicia Barton McDevitt, asking for relief from some of the money owed on the town-owned turbines. He asked the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center to consider relieving the town of any obligation to repay the $1 million in renewable energy credits that will not be produced if the turbines are removed.

At the same time Falmouth is reaching out to state representatives for help paying the debt associated with the turbines. “The board has directed that we contact other appropriate state officials regarding further assistance to the Town in regard to the very significant financial obligation related to this removal and dismantling,” Mr. Suso wrote in a letter to the Clean Energy Center.

The article explains why the turbines are being removed:

If Falmouth voters agree to remove the turbines, it could be the first case anywhere in the country of commercial-sized turbines coming down within three years of being installed because of noise and health complaints of residents.

Massachusetts did a Wind Turbine Health Impact Study in January 2012. I am not a scientific type, but after reading some of the study, it seems as if there is a strong possibility that wind turbines can negatively impact the sleep of the residents who live near them. The couple I saw interviewed on television specifically stated that their sleep had been disrupted.

The report states on Page 13:

2.  There is limited evidence from epidemiologic studies suggesting an association between noise from wind turbines and sleep disruption. In
other words, it is possible that noise from some wind turbines can cause sleep disruption.
3.  A very loud wind turbine could cause disrupted sleep, particularly in vulnerable populations, at a certain distance, while a very quiet wind turbine would not likely disrupt even the lightest of sleepers at that same distance. But there is not enough evidence to provide particular sound-pressure thresholds at which wind turbines cause sleep disruption. Further study would provide these levels.
4.  Whether annoyance from wind turbines leads to sleep issues or stress has not been sufficiently quantified. While not based on evidence of wind turbines, there is evidence that sleep disruption can adversely affect mood, cognitive functioning, and overall sense of health and well-being.

I am not opposed to alternative energy. I am opposed to pushing a form of alternative energy before we get the bugs worked out of it. This will be a rather expensive boondoggle for Falmouth and probably for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

 

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Calling For Sunlight

Today’s Boston Herald posted an article about the Cape Wind Farm Project and the lack of transparency in the approval process.

The article reports:

In a letter provided to the Herald, the alliance cited a trove of bombshell internal Federal Aviation Administration emails that suggest the agency buckled to political pressure and downplayed fears that the 440-foot tall spinning turbines would interfere with radar and ensnare small, low-flying aircraft.

The Herald reported Saturday that FAA documents obtained by Parker’s group through a public records request contain repeated references to political support for the proposed 130-turbine project five miles offshore of Cape Cod.

“You’ve got a very clear green agenda from the Obama administration, and very clear agenda from the Patrick administration, wanting to have America’s first offshore wind farm, seemingly at the expense of public safety,” Parker has told the Herald. “It’s like offshore wind at any cost.”

The article and the comments remind us of some of the problems with the Cape Wind Farm Project. Aside from the question of whether political pressure played a part in its approval, there is the fact that it will raise the cost of electricity significantly for Massachusetts residents. There is also the fact that the life of a wind turbine is approximately 25 years before it will need to be removed. What a mess! This will never be a practical project–it will never save consumers money, and we will still need carbon-based back-up electricity to ensure that Massachusetts residents have electric power 24 hours a day! It would make much more sense to refine the technology for natural-gas generated electricity (which is extremely environmentally friendly) and save consumers money and generate jobs in America (America is the Saudi Arabia of natural gas).

Man has been looking for the perpetual motion machine since the beginning of time (that is one of the few things I remember from high school physics!). Green energy is simply another reflection of that quest. At some point in the future, there may be viable green energy, but the government will accomplish nothing by forcing the issue!

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