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Category — Green Energy Arguments

Twenty Bad Things About Wind Energy, and Three Reasons Why

Editor note: This is an updated version of a previous post at MasterResource: “Wind Spin: Misdirection and Fluff by a Taxpayer-enabled Industry” which was itself an update of Fifteen Bad Things About Wind Energy, and Three Reasons Why,” one of the two most read posts in the history of MasterResource.

Trying to pin down the arguments of wind promoters is a bit like trying to grab a greased balloon. Just when you think you’ve got a handle, it morphs into a different shape and escapes your grasp. Let’s take a quick highlight review of how things have evolved with wind merchandising.

1 – Wind energy was abandoned well over a hundred years ago, as even in the late 1800s it was totally inconsistent with our burgeoning, more modern needs for power. When we throw the switch, we expect that the lights will go on – 100% of the time. It’s not possible for wind energy, by itself, to EVER do this, which is one of the main reasons it was relegated to the dust bin of antiquated technologies (along with such other inadequate energy sources as horse and oxen power).

2 – Fast forward to several years ago. With politicians being convinced that Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW) was an imminent catastrophic threat, lobbyists launched campaigns to favor anything that would purportedly reduce carbon dioxide. This was the marketing opportunity that the wind energy business needed. Wind energy was resurrected from the dust bin of power sources, as its promoters pushed the fact that wind turbines did not produce CO2 while generating electricity.

3 – Of course, just that by itself is not significant, so the original wind development lobbyists then made the case for a quantum leap: that by adding wind turbines to the grid we could significantly reduce CO2 from those “dirty” fossil fuel electrical sources (especially coal). This argument became the basis for many states implementing a Renewable Energy Standard (RES) or Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) – which mandated that the state’s utilities use (or purchase) a prescribed amount of wind energy (“renewables”), by a set date.

Why was a mandate necessary? [Read more →]

October 24, 2012   25 Comments

The Collapsing Case for ‘Green’ Energy (Berkeley’s Borenstein on an intellectual wrong turn )

“Advocates of renewable energy feel cornered by the gridlock in Congress and waning interest in climate change. But arguing that renewable energy is the best way to address economic or security concerns isn’t the way to prevail. It just focuses the debate on issues where fossil fuels are almost sure to win.”

- Severin Borenstein, “Making the Wrong Case for Renewable Energy,” Bloomberg, February 13, 2012.

Severin Borenstein, Professor of Business and Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley, and director of the U.C. Energy Institute, is firmly in the camp of climate alarmism and public policy activism. In a recent op-ed,  Borenstein argues that, absent the climate-change argument, the environmentalists are intellectually adrift trying to argue for their (politically correct) renewable energies–wind and solar (but not ethanol and hydroelectricity, mind you). 

Left environmentalists are in a predicament trying to converse with a public that is fatigued about climate change and is interested in affordable energy and economic prosperity. And it brings to mind what Tim Wirth, now with the United Nations Foundation but then Undersecretary of State for Global Affairs with the Clinton Administration, said back in 1990:

We’ve got to ride this global warming issue. Even if the theory of global warming is wrong, we will be doing the right thing in terms of economic and environmental policy.

The problem, however, is bigger than Borenstein lets on given 1) a slowdown in real-world warming; 2) growing interest in/explanation of global lukewarming; and 3) the need to move toward adaptation (instead of mitigation) as greenhouse-gas concentrations grow in the atmosphere. Still, Borenstein’s points are valid as far as they go.

Key excerpts from Borenstein’s recent Bloomberg op-ed follow: [Read more →]

February 22, 2012   6 Comments