Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Outsmarting the Smart Grid

by William Tucker, February 18, 2009

The latest delusion about energy is the “smart grid.” This bright new technological miracle will once again help us overcome the realities of physics and allow us to live in a world run on wind and sunshine.

... Ever eager to show they are “green” and hip it is, General Electric is now running an ad that shows how “the smart grid” will help us forget the difficult choice of whether to power our economy with coal or nuclear.

... The first premise is that, by conveying real-time pricing the smart grid will encourage people to redistribute their consumption of electricity to off-peak hours of the day. This will “level loads” and solve the perennial problem of utilities in meeting demand that occurs a few hours of the day or a few days of the year.

The second premise is that the smart grid will help integrate wind and solar energy - the two balky “renewables” that have the disadvantage of not being dispatchable when we want them. With the smart grid, wind and solar generation will always be available somewhere and so can be conveyed to where it’s needed.

Notice these are different things. The true “smart grid” will be a digitalized distribution system that conveys real-time information. Incorporating remote wind and solar, on the other hand, will require an upgraded grid, something entirely different. Our present 345-kilovolt, AC transmission wires can’t do it without unacceptable line losses. We will need to rebuild to 765 kV DC system – something that could take decades and easily cost several trillion dollars.

One has very little to do with the other. However they are often described as the same thing. Thomas Friedman effortlessly conflates them in Hot, Flat and Crowded when he writes:
[The smart grid] has made large-scale renewable energy practical for the first time ever. Why? Because the flatter your utility’s load profile gets, the more it is able to go out and buy or generate renewable energy and sell it to you and your neighbors instead of energy powered by coal or gas.
This is not true. A flattened utility profile has nothing to do with incorporating wind and solar. In fact it is just the opposite. The one great virtue of solar energy is that it peaks exactly when it is needed – in mid-afternoon and on hot summer days. If we level loads, we will be taking away solar electricity’s greatest advantage.

Let’s go back and examine these issues one at a time. First, start with the premise that the smart grid will enable us to redistribute energy consumption throughout the day. It’s fitting that the girl [in the GE ad] is standing in front of a clothes dryer, because that and washing dishes are the only examples anyone has ever been able to come up with about how residential users are going to “redistribute” their energy consumption.

What else can they do? Are they going to wait until after midnight to watch prime-time television? Are they going to heat up dinner at 4 a.m.? Are they going to turn on lights at sunrise instead of sunset? And how about air conditioning, that most voracious consumer of electricity? One suggestion floated by the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) in “The Green Grid,” a study published last June, is that people might “pre-cool” their homes by running the air conditioning in the morning in anticipation of hot afternoons. This may indeed level peak loads. But it will also consume more energy, since some of the pre-cooling will obviously dissipate.

There’s one more thing about drying your clothes at 10 p.m. Have you ever noticed what happens if you leave wet clothes sitting in the washer too long? They start smelling a little moldy, don’t they? Maybe this thing about drying your clothes just after you've washed them isn't such a bad idea after all.

Getting people to redistribute their energy consumption sounds suspiciously like those perennial suggestions for relieving rush-hour traffic by staggering work hours. It may look good on paper, but most people still like to get up in the morning, eat breakfast, work 9-to-5, come home, have dinner, watch some TV and go to bed. And so rush hour traffic – and patterns of electrical consumption – will probably remain much the same.

Although GE carefully avoids saying it, the underlying presumption of the smart grid is that it will somehow help us conserve significant amounts of energy. In that light, the EPRI study – although full of the usual enthusiasm - is also a very sobering document.

First, the study examined all the possible smart-grid savings - from shaving residential voltage to 114 V from 120 V to not having to send meter readers out to homes every month. Even then, its most optimistic prediction was that by 2030 we could reduce electrical consumption by 7 to 11 percent below what is now being projected. That’s not an absolute reduction in consumption but only a slowing of its anticipated rise. Second, as the study concludes, “shift[ing] load from on-peak to off-peak periods may not necessarily save energy.” It will only save money. And when you make electricity cheaper, people may consume more of it. Nor will any of this necessarily reduce carbon emissions. In fact, it may just as likely increase them.

Utilities don’t like peak loads because they have to meet them by building generators that may be used only two or three weeks of the year. These are almost inevitably gas turbines – essentially jet engines bolted to the ground. Because they don’t boil water, turbines can be started up and adjusted almost instantly, enabling them to follow loads. Steam generators, on the other hand, may take the better part of an hour to get to full speed. But turbines run on natural gas, the most expensive fuel. In addition, they sit idle most of the year, a costly way to employ capital.

So if we shift more uses to off-peak hours, we may save the utilities lots of money. But we won’t be saving energy. At best, we’ll be using the same amount. If some kind of electrical storage is employed – another often mentioned component of the “smart grid” – then we will be consuming more energy, since power is always lost in the transitions. And if leveling loads means shifting consumption from relatively clean natural gas turbines to base-load coal plants, there will be an increase in carbon emissions. [emphasis added]

Finally, as we said before, the great virtue of large-scale solar installations will be that they coincide with hours of peak demand. If we ever get to that point, we won’t want to flatten loads. We will want to keep them the way they are.

Wind, of course, is an entirely different animal. Although completely unpredictable, the wind does tend to blow stronger at night and in the fall and spring, exactly when it’s not needed. A strong, steady wind in North Dakota might allow Illinois to cut some coal consumption but it won’t obviate the need for fossil fuels because the wind will always need backup. “The Green Grid” concludes that wind will work best in tandem with - wouldn't you know it - natural gas turbines. They can be adjusted instantly to compensate for the wind's vagaries.

So the prospect that a smart grid is somehow going to save huge amounts of energy and pave the way for a solar future is an illusion. At best it will make electricity a bit cheaper and perhaps shave 5 to 10 percent off the anticipated growth in consumption. But the smartest of smart grids can’t distribute power that isn’t already there. ...

Sunday, February 22, 2009

The Dangers of ‘Cap and Trade’


WHENEVER I pull up to my neighborhood service station in Rancho Mirage, Calif., or anywhere else lately, I have a strange feeling. Because gasoline is so incredibly cheaper than it was just eight months ago, I almost feel as if I am getting something free.

I keep wondering when someone in government will award some kind of stimulus prize to the oil companies for that. After all, by cutting the price of gasoline and other fuels by roughly half, the oil companies are giving consumers hundreds of billions of dollars in new purchasing power for other goods and services. Isn’t that worthy of praise?

What’s that, you say? It isn’t the oil companies? It’s just the free market correcting itself after a huge oil price bubble last year? Well, I agree. But I have a lot of angry e-mail burned into my brain from readers insisting that those high prices were an oil-company conspiracy.

So, are the lower prices now a conspiracy to help the consumer? If that’s silly — and it is — then let’s go back to the free-market explanation. It might actually work. The free market can make us crazy, but it can also explain a lot.

Still, when I go to my local gas station, I am amazed that there is any gasoline there at all. Yes, I can see how the big oil companies happily made gasoline when oil was $140 a barrel. But how can they do it when oil is in the $30s? That takes some fancy planning.

How do the oil companies manage to keep going when the price of their basic source product changes so much? Again, that takes fancy planning.

Such planning has allowed this country to get by without major supply disruptions since the shah of Iran was overthrown. But the situation is about to become much trickier, as we confront the need to reduce carbon emissions on the way to a cleaner environment. Indeed, President Obama’s Environmental Protection Agency now seems likely to act within months to begin restraints on carbon dioxide. This move had been resisted by the previous administration.

Obviously, oil and gasoline are a big part of the emissions problem, and something needs to be done. I seem to have trouble breathing on too many days. Part of the solution involves more efficient cars and furnaces, and better technology at all levels. But what about a direct financial restraint on burning hydrocarbons? Might that not reduce hydrocarbon emissions, too? It is hard to believe that it wouldn’t.

Two main ways to address the issue are under discussion. One would involve a nationwide system of credits for carbon burning, with a total cap. The credits would be traded in national and maybe world markets. Entities that emit more carbon gases would have to pay more to buy these credits, and those who saved carbon would pay less and be able to sell credits to heavier users.

The other idea is a direct tax on carbon emissions of a stable amount. The proceeds might be refunded in whole or in part to energy producers to help with other goals, such as producing cleaner fuels.

Both ideas have merit, but there is a tricky little history to “cap and trade,” which seems to be President Obama’s favored approach. Because the credits would be traded on an exchange, or somewhere else, their prices would fluctuate. They could even fluctuate wildly, as prices of traded items often do. (See the stock, bond and commodity markets if you’re looking for examples.)

The European system of cap and trade has seen large fluctuations. Right now, because of the recession in European manufacturing, the cost of these carbon credits has fallen fantastically, rendering the cost of carbon emissions low. That doesn’t do much for reducing emissions.

[Also see: "Climate change paradox: Wind turbines in Europe do nothing for emissions-reduction goals", Der Spiegel, Feb. 10, 2009, which describes the failure of German emissions trading.]

Why add another element of uncertainty to energy production, especially if the goal of suppressing carbon-based fuel burning can be accomplished by another means? Energy companies have enough problems as it is — including reduced supplies, political risks and wildly changing prices for raw materials.

Of course, the new system would be a great benefit to the people who traded the credits. But how about the rest of us? Haven’t we just had a big lesson in what happens when we put traders ahead of producers and consumers? Have we forgotten that lesson already?

Why not do what governments usually do to reduce consumption — namely, impose a tax that punishes the production of carbon emissions? That would also be much less sensitive to manipulation by speculators — and the types of extremes that have led to our country’s recent undoing.

It seems a more direct and simpler way to go, and would help ensure that gasoline will always be there when we need it.

environment, environmentalism

Friday, February 20, 2009

Remove Our Grandmother's Name from the Wall at Yad Vashem

To the President of the State of Israel and the Director of the Yad Vashem Memorial: Remove Our Grandmother's Name from the Wall at Yad Vashem

Following the example of Jean-Moise Braitberg, we ask that our grandmother's name be removed from the wall at Yad Vashem. Her name is Gertrud Neumann. Your records state that she was born in Kattowitz on June 6, 1875, and died in Theresienstadt.

M. Braitberg delivers his request with excellent reasons and eloquent personal testimony. His words are inspiring, but they give you – and those who stand with you - too much credit. I will instead be brief. Please take this as an expression of my disgust and contempt for your state and all it represents.

Our grandmother was a victim of that very ideal of ethnic sovereignty in whose cause Israel has shed so much blood for so long. ... I do not believe that the Jewish people, in whose name you have committed so many crimes with such outrageous complacency, can ever rid itself of the shame you have brought upon us. Nazi propaganda, for all its calumnies, never disgraced and corrupted the Jews; you have succeeded in this. ...

Michael Neumann

I join my brother, Michael Neumann, in asking that any reference to our grandmother be removed from Yad Vashem, the Holocaust memorial. ...

Israel has twisted the Holocaust into an excuse for perpetrating more holocausts. It has spent the treasure of the world's sympathy for the victims of the Holocaust on a fruitless effort to shield itself from all criticism as it massacres and tortures Palestinians and suffocates them under a brutal occupation. I do not wish to have the memory of my grandmother enlisted in this misbegotten project.

I grew up believing that Jews were that ethnic group whose historical mission was to transcend ethnicity in a united front against Fascism. To be Jewish was to be anti-Fascist. Israel long ago woke me from my dogmatic slumber about the immutable relationship of Jews to Fascists. It has engineered a merger between the image of Jewish torturers and war criminals and that of emaciated concentration camp victims. I find this merger obscene. I want no part of it. You have forfeited the right to be the custodian of my grandmother’s memory. I do not wish Yad Vashem to be her memorial.

Osha Neumann

human rights

U.S. electricity down 0.9%

Though not as dramatically as oil use (12.8% decrease), November 2008 electricity generation in the U.S. was 0.9% lower than in November 2007 (Electric Power Monthly, February 2009, Energy Information Administration).

Coal and nuclear generation were both lower, while natural gas, hydro, oil, and non-hydro renewables (mostly wind) were higher.

Although wind generation was 42.4% higher, that represents only a 0.07% increase as part of overall electricity generation. (Note that the EIA multiplies wind generation by three for accounting purposes to correlate with thermal inefficiency; therefore, at first glance wind's 42.4% increase represents a 0.21% increase in total electricity generation (assuming that wind represents two-thirds of nonhydro renewables), but calculating back from the total leaves wind with 0.07%.)

Meanwhile, the 6.1% increase in hydro generation represents 0.39% of total generation and the 1.0% increase in natural gas generation represents 0.21%. Oil generation increased 4.8%, which represents only 0.05%.

So it would appear that the use of renewables increased, and the use of coal and nuclear correspondingly decreased. But there are other aspects to these figures, namely actual resource consumption.

Although coal generation decreased 2.7%, the consumption of coal for electricity decreased only 1.3%. And despite an increase in natural gas generation of only 1.0%, the consumptiion of natural gas for electricity increased 3.4%.

This suggests greater inefficiency, likely caused by the integration of more wind-generated electricity, which is intermittent, highly variable, and nondispatchable, thus requiring other plants to be ramped up and down or run at a less efficient level of production. The use of more wind may also explain the increase in oil-fired generation, because such plants are typically the quick-response sources more often needed to help balance the fluctuations of wind generation. It may also account for part of the increase in hydro, which is another source able to respond quickly to the variations caused by wind.

In summary, the good news is that demand was down from a year before, and coal and nuclear were both lower, together accounting for a decrease of 1.75% of total electricity production. Despite a 50% increase in wind capacity from November 2007 to November 2008, wind contributed only 0.07% towards the difference between the 0.9% net decrease and the 1.75% decrease in coal and nuclear, or 8% of that 0.85% difference. Twenty-five percent of the difference was provided by increased natural gas, and 36% by increased hydro.

But, again, natural gas consumption increased more than three times more than its increase in generation, and likewise coal consumption decreased only half as much as its decrease in generation.

wind power, wind energy, environment, environmentalism

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Pulling spokes out of the wheel

The director of the Audubon Society is also chair of the wind industry's "American Wind Wildlife Institute" (AWWI), where she provides a face of concern to allow industrial wind development to continue without serious scrutiny.

This is well beyond weighing pros and cons, or making the best of inevitable development, because not only are the cons accepted as necessary, the pros are assumed and unquestioned.

Thus it is not much concern that Levin puts forth. In the February North American Windpower, she sounds like a corporate spokesperson rather than a defender of birdlife: "At AWWI, we don't propose shutting down and not building wind farms while we study impacts, but we do need to have a better understanding of where these impacts occur the most."

As the article notes, "AWWI was created last year with support from the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) board of directors and the AWEA siting committee to address regional -- rather than site-specific -- issues related to wind development and wildlife and habitat protection." In other words, by looking at the big picture, they hope to ignore the many -- cumulative -- local pictures.

Another part of the plan is to "educate" people, which is to say that environmentalists and conservationists who thought they had legitimate ecological concerns have to "get on board" to help promote an industry that directly threatens those areas of concern. In the eyes of AWWI, that is the only responsible thing to do: Don't question the logic and record of large-scale wind energy, question instead your own defense of the voiceless.

Levin: "We need to separate the [not-in-my-backyard] concerns from the legitimate concerns. We can't say 'no' to all energy development. ... This isn't esoteric. We don't know what spoke in the wheel we can pull out without the wheel collapsing. That's why this is such important work."

No. Important work is trying to keep the wheel of life intact, not joining the predatory developers in kicking out its spokes. Studying the results is not going to put those spokes back.

wind power, wind energy, wind turbines, wind farms, environment, environmentalism, animal rights

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Corporate stimulus, si! Societal stimulus, no!

After an 8-year toot shoveling hundreds of billions of dollars to military contractors, sacrificing American, Iraqi, and Afghani lives to their continuing profits, and running up the biggest debt "in human history", it's impossible to take seriously the people responsible who now decry the expense of the stimulus package which is hoped to remedy some of the destruction they've wrought. It's a little late to be worried about "borrowing from our grandchildren".
Congress has approved a total of about $864 billion for military operations, base security, reconstruction, foreign aid, embassy costs, and veterans’ health care for the three operations initiated since the 9/11 attacks: Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) Afghanistan and other counter terror operations; Operation Noble Eagle (ONE), providing enhanced security at military bases; and Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF).

--The Cost of Iraq, Afghanistan, and Other Global War on Terror Operations Since 9/11; Amy Belasco, Federatio of American Scientists, Oct. 15, 2008

The U.S. government has already spent $904 billion since 2001 to wage wars in Afghanistan and Iraq ... And even if the number of combat troops declines as planned, the final price tag for the wars by 2018 will be between $1.3 trillion and $1.7 trillion, according to a study released by the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments.

--Cost of Iraq, Afghanistan Wars Tops $900 Billion, Report Finds; Alex Kingsbury, U.S. News & World Report, Dec. 15, 2008

The cost of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan could total $2.4 trillion through the next decade, or nearly $8,000 per man, woman and child in the country, according to a Congressional Budget Office estimate ... A previous CBO estimate put the wars' costs at more than $1.6 trillion. This one adds $705 billion in interest, taking into account that the conflicts are being funded with borrowed money.

--War costs may total $2.4 trillion; Ken Dilanian, USA Today, Oct. 25, 2007

As we approach the fifth anniversary of the invasion, Iraq is not only the second longest war in U.S. history (after Vietnam), it is also the second most costly -- surpassed only by World War II. ... These costs, by our calculations, are now running at $12 billion a month -- $16 billion if you include Afghanistan. By the time you add in the costs hidden in the defense budget, the money we'll have to spend to help future veterans, and money to refurbish a military whose equipment and materiel have been greatly depleted, the total tab to the federal government will almost surely exceed $1.5 trillion. But the costs to our society and economy are far greater. ... By the end of the Bush administration, the cost of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, plus the cumulative interest on the increased borrowing used to fund them, will have added about $1 trillion to the national debt.

--The Iraq War Will Cost Us $3 Trillion, and Much More; Linda J. Bilmes and Joseph E. Stiglitz (authors of The Three Trillion Dollar War: The True Cost of the Iraq Conflict), Washington Post, Mar. 9, 2008
human rights

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Snowmobiling into the apocalypse

Chris Kelly begins "Sarah Palin's $159,050 Conflict of Interest" at Huffington Post:

While you read this, Alaska's First Dude, Todd Palin, is riding a snowmobile -- I'm sorry, snow machine -- 1,971 miles from Big Lake to Fairbanks. In the course of performing this awesome feat, his Arctic Cat's powerful two-stroke engine will emit the same amount of hydrocarbons as an automobile driving from Chicago to San Francisco and back 150 times.

A small price for the rest of us to pay to honor the indomitability of the human spirit and one man's ability to sit and hold on.

It's not just a blaze of glory and aromatic hydrocarbon. A conventional two-stroke engine emits as much as a quarter of its fuel unburned, directly into the air. This week, as a participant in the Iron Dog snow machine race, Todd Palin will release as many cancer-causing and smog-forming pollutants as a Chevy Malibu driven around the Earth at its equator 28 times.

Click the title of this post for the rest of the article.

environment, environmentalism

Vt. Yankee: 2% of New England's power

Yesterday, the State Committee of the Vermont Progressive Party voted unanimously to support the following resolution, modeled after the resolutions being warned across the state for town meeting day:

"The State Committee of the Vermont Progressive Party requests the Vermont Legislature to:

"1. Recognize that the 2% of our New England region’s power grid supply that is provided by Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Plant can be replaced with a combination of local, renewable electricity and efficiency measures, along with the purchase of hydro generated electricity, and excess power already in the New England electricity market; ..."

Note the welcome lack of hysteria or pushing of other agendas. This is in stark contrast to other campaigners for shutting down Vt. Yankee when its license expires in 2012 (it is, after all, a very old plant that has had numerous problems -- apart from the nuclear waste piling up on the site and the contamination and warming of the Connecticut river).

Most notably, Vermont Public Interest Research Group (VPIRG) is proposing to replace the ~200 MW that the plant provides to Vermont with several ridgeline wind energy plants, of which it would require ~1,000 MW installed capacity (because of the variability and intermittency of the wind) -- and even then we would still need 200 MW from other sources, because the wind isn't always blowing when it's needed. In fact, 60% of the time wind turbines generate power at a rate below their annual average (which is 21% at Searsburg) and one-third of the time they are idle.

One thousand megawatts of wind means industrializing 100 miles of ridgelines, which are otherwise off limits to development. It means clearing trees, blasting for foundations, cut-and-fill heavy-duty roads, and transmission lines replacing important ecosystems and habitat. And it would not even achieve the intended goal of replacing any other source of electric power.

Therefore, it is refreshing to see the Progressive Party put Vt. Yankee in the context of the actual grid, not just Vermont's small corner of it. It is not a crisis. It does not justify blatant land grabs by profiteering developers and opening up our mountaintops to sprawl. When Vt. Yankee is shut down, Vermont's need to replace our share of it will represent 1% of the New England grid. We are also long-time customers of Hydro Quebec. We should have no trouble finding other sources. With continued efficiency and conservation, it will be even easier.

wind power, wind energy, environment, environmentalism, Vermont

Friday, February 06, 2009

Wind Turbine Defects - Incidence and Implications

For 394 euros, you can download a September 2008 market research report on the many mishaps at wind energy facilities. Or you can click the links below to their source stories or visit the record of accidents maintained at Caithness Windfarm Information Forum.


Wind turbines have to face the irregular force of the wind. As a result, the drive train of a wind turbine is subject to very high dynamic loads. This makes virtually all components of a wind turbine subject to damage, including everything from the rotor blades to the generator, transformer, nacelle, tower and foundation.

Recent Developments
wind power, wind energy, wind turbines, wind farms

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Sacred cow exploiters

Michael Colby exposes some of the hypocrisy of Vermont progressives by recalling his fight against recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBGH) almost 15 years ago as head of the nonprofit organization Food & Water. This is on the occasion of Cabot Creamery's recent announcement that they will no longer allow its use for their milk supply.

Click here for the first article. Click here for the second.

It took 15 years for Cabot to finally hear the customer demand? No -- it took a simple request from Wal-Mart, which now accounts for one-quarter of Cabot's sales.

Colby's campaign began with Land O'Lakes, as Cabot was claiming a "wait-and-see" policy. But then an employee leaked an internal memo acknowledging that some of their suppliers were already using rBGH. So Colby brought the campaign home. And the politicians, press, and corporate nonprofits came to Cabot's defense.

Then-governor Howard Dean condemned Food & Water as a "terrorist group". Then–state senator Elizabeth Ready essentially told them to leave the state. Cabot's spokesperson, Roberta McDonald, compared Food & Water to the Unabomber and suggested that public safety would be better served by locking up its leaders.

Now Wal-Mart demands the same thing, and Cabot meekly says "OK". That's great news, of course, but it doesn't say good things about our democracy when only another behemoth can say no to Monsanto and the concerns of individual citizens are derided, mocked, and condemned -- not just by the self-interested corporations but also by those who nominally represent the people against the powerful.

((( )))

Part 2 recounts Food & Water's effort more than 10 years ago to get Ben & Jerry's to go organic, or at least to refuse milk from cows fed on grain treated with the likely carcinogen atrazine. In this case, there has been no Wal-Mart to convince them, and Ben & Jerry's, that paragon of hip capitalism, still shuns organic production for their milk supply. Food & Water met with them to explain how such a move could transform Vermont dairy farming and drastically improve the environment of this rural state, consistent with the company's own progressive activism.

In response, Ben Cohen offered Colby a job in their public relations department, and then any paraphernalia he wanted, such as the oxymoronic hippie ties. And just as Cohen said that going organic was off the table, Vermont's progressives considered Ben & Jerry's to be off limits for criticism. Food & Water lost some of their donors -- for trying to protect our food and water!

When Colby was invited to speak at an anti-nuclear rally in Brattleboro, he was told not to mention Ben & Jerry's, who funded the event -- and Ben and Jerry themselves were going to speak (and not to be challenged). After promising not to so that he could get on stage, Colby jumped right into the issue by opening a pint of Ben & Jerry's Chubby Hubby and intoning "Doing bad and feeling good about it" between spoonfuls. His microphone was quickly cut off. But the fire was lit, and people flocked around to learn more, ignoring the next speaker.

And Ben & Jerry's still makes no effort to make their actual product better for the planet, absolving their own contributions to dirty agriculture by supporting progressive causes that might not cause any trouble for their own bottom line.

((( )))

Enron, also, bought off environmentalists. Many of them came to its defense with kind words about their progressive energy programs as the company was revealed to be a scam from top to bottom. Unfortunately, industrial wind power continues apace, with coal giant Florida Power & Light, nuclear giant General Electric, oil giant British Petroleum, and budding natural gas mogul T. Boone Pickens, among many others of their ilk, leading the way. And the corporate environmentalists readily follow.

Progressives everywhere resort to cutting the microphone rather than hear any word against Big Wind. "Oh, it could be so much worse," they say. Except it will be so much worse, because progressives and environmentalists are letting so much pass as they "work with" developers hungry to open up our remaining undeveloped rural and wild areas. They are supporting more development, not less, more consumption, not less.

They sport hippie ties in a twisted evocation (for it is also a cautionary reminder) of what they once might have been. They are smug in their self-censorship, their self-repression, their "success", their hypocrisy. They are scared, because they don't know who they are anymore.

wind power, wind energy, environment, environmentalism, human rights, animal rights, Vermont, anarchism, anarchosyndicalism, ecoanarchism