June 16, 2005

Adopt a megacorporation

An opinion piece in today's Rutland (Vt.) Herald by Jeff Wolfe of Global Resource Options boasts that General Electric, Goldman-Sachs, and British Petroleum now characterize the players in renewable energy, particularly large-scale wind. He then makes a plea that they badly need our money to succeed. Shouldn't we be demanding money from them?

((((( )))))

On the opening of the 39 turbines at Cefn Croes (originally an Enron project), developer Falck Renewables of Italy says the visual impact is minimal. Scroll down to the June 10 post, The destruction of Cefn Croes, to see the decimation and intrusion that they won't acknowledge.

The developer also "estimates" that the facility will save 4 million tonnes of CO2 emissions over its 25-year lifetime. That's 160,000 tonnes each year, 0.1% of the U.K.'s total. You'd think you'd get a bit more for £50 million and the wreckage of a landscape. And that estimate is quite inflated, based on a very high capacity factor and an assumption that only coal burning would be displaced. Wind power is just as likely to displace easily dispatchable hydropower, and frequent ramping up and down of coal plants in response to the wind actually increases their emissions. Above all it ignores the likelihood that current production will itself be made cleaner in coming years.

In fact, £50 million could be much more effectively spent in that cleaning effort, which would bring a real decrease in emissions -- without violating another landscape.

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