“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.