A Free-Market Energy Blog

Open Letter to Senator Brownback on His Support for a Federal Renewable Energy Standard

By Thomas Stacy II -- August 1, 2010

[Editor note: Senator Harry Reid (D-Nev.) removed a federal renewable mandate from the energy bill now under debate. However, Sen. Brownback of Kansas has indicated his intention to add an amendment to the bill resurrecting such a mandate.]

US Senator Sam Brownback (R-KS) displays a national debt clock on his home page and is a proclaimed conservative. Yet he supports wasteful government spending on deployment of impotent technologies like wind energy.

I believe Sam and his kind are the root cause of a failure for industrial windpower opponents to gain the upper hand in Washington D.C. I further believe that in Brownback’s case, his faulty platform correlates to his committee membership, which shows his allegiance to the agriculture lobby, which represent the secondary financial beneficiaries of wind energy deployment.

It would be more fiscally conservative and environmentally benign to simply hand the agri-community the equivalent taxpayer money Carte-Blanche which they stand to receive from wind energy leases. But I do not advocate this over the best course of action: removing special government favors and mandates for windfarms.

While it is unfathomable to me that Sam Brownback can display a national debt clock on his web site while simultaneously calling for a national renewable energy standard (RES),  I cannot change Senator’s position on wind energy in light of his allegiance to agriculture on my own.

I feel obligated as an American, however, to do all I can to franchise scientific truth to the public and to lawmakers in light of the sadly misdirected policy efforts of name-only “conservatives” like Brownback.  That is why I recommend the finely constructed presentation found at www.energypresentation.info. and then plead for your help (not your money).

Please also take a moment to read my letter to Senator Brownback, which is attached.  After I sent that letter, I also called his office and asked that he return my call so we could discuss his misunderstanding of an urgent matter concerning energy policy.

Don’t hold your breath, but please do do what you can to help, by writing to, visiting or calling local, state or federal officials, and patiently educating them, as well as your family, friends, neighbors and co-workers, to the ineffectiveness and unaffordability of forcing wind energy into an efficient electrical grid system at the federal level.

On Tue, Jul 27, 2010 at 8:07 AM, Tom Stacy <tfstacy@gmail.com> wrote:


———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Energy Expert <energyexpert@awea.org>
Date: Mon, Jul 26, 2010 at 3:24 PM
Subject: Brownback Supports Renewable Energy Standard Title
To: Energy Expert <

Brownback Supports Renewable Energy Standard Title

For Immediate Release 

July 26, 2010     

Contact: Brian Hart or Becky Ogilvie


WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Sam Brownback called for bipartisan support in the Senate to include the renewable energy standard title from the American Clean Energy and Leadership Act of 2009, which was reported out the Energy and Natural Resources Committee last summer, in upcoming energy legislation.

“As we begin consideration of comprehensive energy legislation, it’s essential we include ideas that will help drive our national energy production in the direction of more clean, renewable energy,” stated Brownback.  “The RES title passed out of the Energy Committee requires by 2020 that 15% of our country’s energy be produced using agreed upon forms of renewable energy, such as wind, solar, and biomass.  Under this proposal, utilities are allowed to meet up to 4% of the requirement through energy efficiency.

“I think it was wise that Senate leadership decided against including any form of cap and tax in the proposal.  With unemployment still hovering close to 10%, the American people have no appetite for legislation that would hurt our economy, while doing little to reduce global temperatures.  I would argue that most Americans believe that in addressing any challenge, it’s necessary to adopt a balanced, pragmatic strategy.  In this case, a moderate RES would be an important step towards a cleaner energy future, but without the job-killing provisions that come with cap and tax.”

Brownback is the Ranking Member of the Water and Power Subcommittee of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources.

Letter to Sen. Brownback from Ton Stacy, July 27, 2010

Senator Brownback:

Americans can afford mandated use of wind energy no more than we can afford cap and trade. I understand your desire and ideal to see the hand of government “turning the big thermostat,” but unfortunately there are situations when good intentions and physical possibility do not overlap.

Forcing wind energy into America’s energy mix by law is one such situation. More than anything else, wind energy adds UNENDING VARIABILITY to the vital balance on our electricity grids. Maintaining the match between demand and supply is already expensive and emissions intensive compared to the steady state, base load generation fleet of technologies we use. Even at a third the penetration of (wind) your policy idea suggests, it would become the driving force in our need for fast-ramping balancing resources like open cycle natural gas generators. The CO2 release rates for these generators when in wind-balancing mode exceeds the release rate of the overall electricity mix by an alarming amount, making wind energy not only prohibitively expensive without taxpayer support, but also impotent to reduce greenhouse gases. The bottom line is that while less kilowatt hours might come from coal burning under a forced wind regime, almost the same amount of CO2 release would result from the overall generation network. Studies from Kent Hawkins, Peter Lang, Bentek, LePair and DeGroot, the Institute for Energy Research, CEPOS and numerous others demonstrate this fact.

Your statement admits Americans cannot afford cap and trade right now. I agree, but would further submit that Americans cannot afford more government waste to support special interests in any form right now, and a national RES creates nothing at all if not market inefficiency and government waste, ensuring profitability for a well marketed special interest group. The tail-chasing antics of legislators in response to the ideal of clean energy are the poster child for the misguided efforts of the well intentioned. Please do your own homework on this issue. Do not rely on faith in the promises of ideologues or those with a stake in the growth of the wind industry. Demand measured, scientific proof of efficacy, and an honest analysis of all costs – including ripple effect costs – from truly unbiased sources with no financial stake in their analysis.

Thank you, Tom Stacy


  1. Tom Tanton  

    well, when members of Congress are faced with a choice of sports car (fast ramping and sexy) versus tractors (workhorse at steady state)…even for an Ag state guy like Brownback, the choice is easy (if inevitably wrong.)


  2. Jon Boone  

    Nothing exemplifies the rot at the core of our political culture like the ongoing bipartisan rush to the bottom in support of wind technology subsidies. For those who think the Obama Administration is pushing wind as part of a “liberal” agenda, let me suggest they look at the recent activities of former president George W. Bush, who is now a poster boy for the American Wind Energy Association:http://www.awea.org/newsroom/releases/05-19-10-Speakers_at_WindPower2010.html. As governor of Texas, Bush signed into law one of the early RPS bills, then appointed the head of the Texas Public Utility Commission, Pat Wood, to “put in place non-discriminatory transmission policies,” assuring wind would not pay its fair share of the costs of doing business.

    Sam Brownback is merely securing pride of place at the public trough, joining colleagues like North Dakota’s Byron Dorgan and Chuck Grassley from Iowa, among many others on both sides of the aisle–from Boxer to Snowe, from Mikulski to Landrieu. And, hey, let’s not forget Lindsey Graham.

    Using public funds to pimp for the wind welfare queen brings us all together, in the process corrupting the heart and soul of our body politic.


  3. Jon Boone  

    And I shouldn’t have failed to mention the gush for wind from Sarah Palin:http://thespeechatimeforchoosing.wordpress.com/2010/06/24/sarah-palin’s-goal-of-50-renewable-energy-use-in-alaska-signed-into-law/.

    We also shouldn’t neglect how Newt Gingrich has pushed for wind as a “smart technology”–right up there with his support for ethanol and his insistence of energy independence.

    And let’s not forget Mitt Romney who, while he’s rightly chary of wind in Nantucket Sound, loves the idea of putting bunches of wind turbines in the Massachusetts’ mountains.

    All this gives new meaning in this noxious era of Obama to the notion of the “loyal opposition,” not to mention “strange bedfellows.”

    Demagoguery 101!


  4. Senator Brownback’s call for Renewable Energy Standard amendment challenged. « Allegheny Treasures  

    […] Senator Brownback’s call for Renewable Energy Standard amendment challenged. August 1, 2010 — morgan MasterResource presents Tom Stacy‘s “Open Letter to Senator Brownback on His Support for a Federal Renewable Energy Standard.” […]


Leave a Reply