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Posts from May 2014

Ohio SB 310: Energy Users Best the Cronies (GE, AWEA, etc.)

By Kevon Martis -- May 30, 2014

“But the truth is that Ohio’s renewable energy mandates have largely benefited only one group: entrenched monopoly fossil utilities like AEP, Iberdrola, and corporate behemoths like GE.”

Senate Bill 310’s attempt to freeze Ohio’s renewable energy mandate has elicited the typical partisan howls from Ohio’s green energy profiteers. They have been quick to paint the supporters of SB310 as slavish supporters of the much maligned Koch Brothers, FirstEnergy or other “dark fossil corporate profiteers”.

Curiously, these environmental group’s normally exquisitely tuned “corporate conspiracy radar” appears to have developed a massive wind-turbine-sized blind spot.

Consider:

  • In 1998 it was Enron’s Ken Lay who  implored George W. Bush to extend subsidies for wind energy.  A quick scan of his letter reveals talking points that today could easily be mistaken for the Ohio Sierra Club: “Wind is the fastest growing new electrical generation technology in the world today and has rapidly decreased its production costs until it is close to being competitive with conventional generation technologies.”
  • But as shown by Sierra’s willingness to take $26 million from gas driller Chesapeake Energy to fight coal, their policy positions can be very nimble indeed-for a price.

Brookings: Wind and Solar Technology Fail

By <a class="post-author" href="/about#kent-hawkins">Kent Hawkins</a> -- May 29, 2014

“Even with carbon emissions valued at $50 per metric ton, nuclear, hydro and natural gas combined cycle generation plants have far more net benefits than either wind or solar.”

The recent paper by Charles Frank of the Brookings Institution, “The Net Benefits of Low and No-Carbon Electricity Technologies” provides a reasonably broad, detailed analysis of the lack of value in pursing policies of implementing wind and solar industrial-scale generation plants to reduce carbon emissions. This analysis, however, while on track, misses some very important considerations that strengthen the already negative verdict.

In summary, the paper finds:

  • Even with carbon emissions valued at $50 per metric ton, nuclear, hydro and natural gas combined cycle (combined cycle gas turbine, or CCGT) generation plants have far more net benefits than either wind or solar, because the latter have a very high capacity cost per megawatt (MW), very low capacity factors, and low reliability.

Defending the Indefensible: The National Climate Assessment Cherry Picks to Validate Models

By E. Calvin Beisner -- May 28, 2014

It’s become almost common knowledge that global climate computer models used to project future temperatures based on assumptions about greenhouse gas emissions miss the mark. So common that much of the American public even knows it.

But the National Climate Assessment released May 6, 2014, uses them anyway to predict future climate changes and their impact for the United States.

How does it defend that? By claiming that the models “do a good job at reproducing the broad features of the present climate and changes in climate, including the significant warming that has occurred over the last 50 years” (p. 809, FAQ-R).

How does it substantiate that claim? With this graphic:

AWED Energy & Environmental Newsletter: May 27, 2014

By <a class="post-author" href="/about#john-droz">John Droz, Jr.</a> -- May 27, 2014

Memorial Weekend: Let’s Go!

By Robert Bradley Jr. -- May 23, 2014

Joe Romm: Climate ‘Disinformers’ Now Holocaust Deniers (inside the shouting phase of denial)

By Robert Bradley Jr. -- May 22, 2014

Gabriel Kolko and ‘Political Capitalism’

By Robert Bradley Jr. -- May 21, 2014

Tax Farming Seminar for Renewable Energy

By James Rust -- May 20, 2014

Beautiful Progress (Book review, ‘Smaller Faster Lighter Denser Cheaper’)

By Josiah Neeley -- May 19, 2014

Greens Going Gas (emissions data, economics speak for themselves)

By Steve Everley -- May 16, 2014