Not Blowing In The Wind

There was a bill in the California Assembly that would push California’s the percentage of renewable energy utilities are forced to use from its current 30% to 50%. It’s not going anywhere … yet … but it stands as testimony to environmental blindness.

California’s electric utilities are having a difficult and terribly expensive time trying to reach the 30% renewable energy goal. Trying to get that much expensive wind and solar power into their portfolios is already making electricity more expensive and less reliable – and there’s no evidence its doing a thing to save the planet from climate change. Nevertheless Adam Gray, a Central Valley Democrat, wants to up the state’s game to even more unreasonable levels.

He and his allies might want to read this:

14,000 Abandoned Wind Turbines in the USA

wind farm ruinThe US has had wind farms since 1981, what the left and the green movement don’t want to talk about regarding windmills is (as usual) the truth. The truth is: windmills, like solar panels, break down. And like solar panels, windmills produce less energy before they break down than the energy it took to make them. That’s the part liberals forget: making windmills and solar panels takes energy, energy from coal, oil, and diesel, energy that extracts and refines raw materials, energy that transports those materials to where they will be re-shaped into finished goods, energy to manufacture those goods. More energy than those finished windmills and solar panels will ever produce.

There are many hidden truths about the world of wind turbines from the pollution and environmental damage caused in China by manufacturing bird choppers, the blight on people’s lives of noise and the flicker factor and the countless numbers of birds that are killed each year by these blots on the landscape. The symbol of Green renewable energy, our saviour from the non existent problem of Global Warming, abandoned wind farms are starting to litter the planet as globally governments cut the subsidies taxes that consumers pay for the privilege of having a very expensive power source that does not work every day for various reasons like it’s too cold or the wind speed is too high.

The US experience with wind farms has left over 14,000 wind turbines abandoned and slowly decaying, in most instances the turbines are just left as symbols of a dying Climate Religion, nowhere have the Green Environmentalists appeared to clear up their mess or even complain about the abandoned wind farms. …

The problem with wind farms when they are abandoned is getting the turbines removed, as usual there are no Green environmentalists to be seen. The City of Palm Springs was forced to enact an ordinance requiring their removal from San Gorgonio. But California’s Kern County, encompassing the Tehachapi area, has no such law. Imagine the outraged Green chorus if those turbines were abandoned oil drilling rigs.

The truth is: wind energy is just a tax scam. Ben Lieberman, a senior policy analyst focusing on energy and environmental issues for the Heritage Foundation, is not surprised. He asks:

“If wind power made sense, why would it need a government subsidy in the first place? It’s a bubble which bursts as soon as the government subsidies end.”

Remember: Liberal politicians are very good at not letting mere facts get in the way of their efforts to reshape California.

The Impossibility of the Possible

“Ho, Ho, Ho! was the caption for my agency’s 2006 Christmas card.

Waaay back in the mid-1970s, I read a book called “Earth, Energy and Everyone” that presented a number of alternative energy sources with the promise that with their adoption, America would no longer need foreign oil by 2000.

What year is it again? 2012?

One of the more memorable technologies presented in the book was tidal generation of electricity. Reversible generators would be placed in narrows where tide currents run strong, and each rising and ebbing tide would run through them, generating juice. But, as usual, it turns out there’s one little rub to this bright idea:

Scientists and whale-protection groups are sending a resounding message to [British Columbia] that it is unacceptable to consider energy-generating tidal turbines in critical habitat for threatened northern resident killer whales. …

Paul Spong, director of the OrcaLab, a Hanson Island whale research station, said he was shocked to discover the [proposal]. …

“It is outrageous that this idea is even being considered in vital orca critical habitat,” Spong said. “The population is officially threatened and critical habitat is designated to help them. To me, it’s preposterous to put something there that would further endanger a threatened population.” (link)

Closer to home in Crazifornia, we see the same thing, as environmentalists rally to stop plans for large-scale wind and solar power generation facilities.

San Francisco environmentalists foolishly want to remove Hetch Hetchy Reservoir in Yosemite, which not only is an important source of water for the city, but also generates 350 kilowatt hours of electricity annually without burning an ounce of nasty stuff.

One of the leaders of the Restore Hetch Hetchy organization, Spreck Roskrans, wrote recently on Water Policy Professionals, a LinkedIn group I sponsor, that the loss of hydroelectric power would be no big deal:

Hydro production would be diminished by about 350 gWh per year – a significant but not insurmountable amount – about the same as the Trinity River Restoration Program which was broadly supported.

To this, another group member, Stuart Robertson, responded:

We can count on one hand the number of replacement supplies developed for the Trinity loss by coupling the thumb and first finger – “0”. Knowing what is required is different than understanding/recognizing that which can be accomplished in this regulatory environment.

Indeed. California has not permitted a significant new power plant in 30 years, and is hard at work making its current plants unviable. Unelected state eco-crats recently banned once-through cooling in power plants, a cost effective way to cool the plants by pumping seawater in, through and out of the plant. The practice kills too many fish larvae in the opinion of the eco-crats, so it  has to be replaced with huge cooling towers to hold water that will be cycled through the plants again and again.

Who do you see to get permission to construct those cooling towers? The California Coastal Commission – or, as I call it in Crazifornia, the Star Chamber of the Coast. If I owned one of those plants and faced the entrenched hostility of the Commission, I think I’d just shut it down and go into some other business.

Fish larvae counting maybe.