November 2, 2006

On the wind plant proposed off Long Island

A couple of good reports from Newsday:

Oppose wind power? You must support breast cancer

Pay (much) more for (much) less

wind power, wind energy, wind farms

Heating up

Peter Kurth ("Crank Call") writes in this week's Seven Days:

"I’m sure you, like all of us, are doing everything in your power, in your little bitty way, to prevent the looming calamity of climate change, such as switching your light bulbs and walking to work. But let’s face it: Until the whole screeching, screaming, over-producing, mass-consuming culture of predatory capitalism comes crashing down around us, this planet’s going to keep on heating up."

environment, environmentalism, Vermont

The military is not sacred

Sam Smith (Progressive Review) wrote an excellent piece yesterday about the worship of the military by Americans. It closes:
I sometimes fantasize that war will be the slavery of the 21st century, which is to say a concept once widely accepted is turned into the pariah practice it should always have been. For this to happen abolitionism will have to replace pacifism; it is not the good of the resister that is important but rather the evil of the practitioner. We need to demystify the military, pointing out not just its moral weaknesses but its logical fallacies. We should sensibly regard people who walk around with pins on their chests celebrating their life as, at best, somewhat unstable. And we need to remind the media that it can not call itself objective and repeatedly rebuff the voices of peace. [emphasis added]
A letter from a local progressive activist a while ago decried the Iraq escapade but also expressed pride in thanking returning soldiers for doing their best. But military service is voluntary, and this far into the occupation any soldier involved is a willing actor in the crime, a willing servant of the psychopaths in Washington.

The responsibility is not Bush's team's alone. The president cannot wage war without the approval of Congress, which has never hesitated to keep the money flowing and to buy into the legalization of torture, extrajudicial detention, and unwarranted spying. Responsible, too, are all of the nation's governors, not one of whom refused the deputization of their National Guard forces for an illegal war.

As Smith suggests, perhaps the peace "activists" are mostly interested in showing how good they are. They don't ask why a man abandons his family to be with his friends in Iraq, as if it's just a weekend hunting trip -- no, they thank him if he survives and mourn him as a victim if he is killed. When such an avatar of militaristic evil as John Negroponte comes to town, they cower, "sensitive" to the feelings of their neighbors. Not only is every soldier responsible for choosing to participate in Bush's madness, but so many pacifists and leftists also validate the fetishization of force.

It is like honoring George Bush for not being as much of a drunk as he once was. So he can drive the getaway car more safely. Slavery is wrong, no matter how "good" the slaveowner. There is no noble war, and there are no noble warriors.

Vermont, anarchism, anarchosyndicalism

November 1, 2006


Jim Hogue (Green Party and supporter of Second Vermont Republic) for Governor.

Pete Diamondstone (Liberty Union and Socialist Party USA) for U.S. Senate.


Stretching and ignoring the facts about wind power

Glenn Schleede has written a new paper about industrial wind energy, mostly looking at the economics: "Stretching or Ignoring Facts and Making Unwarranted Assumptions When Attempting to Justify Wind Energy." It can be downloaded from the National Wind Watch Resource Library. Here is the outline of section D, which concisely lists the issues to be weighed.

D. Facts about wind energy that are often ignored by federal, state and local officials when considering wind energy policies or facilities
 1. Electricity produced by wind turbines is lower in quality and value than electricity produced from reliable generating units.
 2. Building wind turbines will not replace the need for building reliable, dispatchable generating capacity.
 3. Published information on the cost of electricity from wind per kWh generally is not valid or reliable.
 4. True costs of electricity from wind are much higher than often admitted because important elements of cost are ignored.
  a. Federal and state tax breaks for wind energy are part of the true cost of electricity from wind.
   1) Two very generous tax breaks are available from the federal government.
    • The wind production tax credit (PTC) of $0.019 per kWh for electricity produced during the first ten years of a wind facility's operation.
    • The ability to deduct the entire capital cost of a "wind farm" from taxable using 5-year double declining balance accelerated depreciation.
   2) "Wind farms" enjoy other tax breaks from the state.
   3) Other subsidies are also a part of the true cost but are hidden in either tax or monthly electric bills.
  b. The intermittent, volatile and unreliability of electricity from wind turbines also adds to the true cost of that electricity.
  c. Adding transmission capacity to serve "wind farms" adds to customer costs.
 5. Local economic benefits of "wind farms" are generally exaggerated.
 6. Environmental benefits of wind energy are typically overstated.
 7. Wind energy advocates try to ignore adverse environmental, ecological, scenic and property value impacts of "wind farms."

wind power, wind energy

Stop global fooling

wind power, wind energy, environment, environmentalism

Whole Fools

Whole Foods has now extended their own folly of buying "wind energy credits" by offering them to their customers. To see the absurdity of the scheme, apply it to the food shelf cards that are similarlyly available at many grocery store checkouts.

Buying a $5 food card means that the grocer will give away $5 of food on your behalf. But if it worked like a wind power card, that $5 food shelf card would represent $6.25 of the wholesale price difference between a "gourmet" food item and its mundane counterpart which may cost the grocer, say, $13. The supplier will still sell the gourmet item to grocers for $19.25 but now will get an extra $5.00 because of your generosity (minus the cut for the broker who set this thing up).

It's nice to thus help your preferred suppliers stay in business, but you can not claim to have offset any part of your own good fortune to be able to buy food or -- alternatively -- to have replaced any conventional items on the shelves with the premium product. In fact, nothing is changed except the amount of money the producer makes.

And so it is with wind energy credits, a cynical invention of Enron that "green" hucksters have made their own.

Enron convinced California that the extra cost of wind energy could be sold separately as its "environmental attributes." Then they made sure that the state required the purchase of a certain percentage of renewable energy, to be represented by certificates for those environmental attributes -- green tags. That system is now the norm across the nation. A wind facility still sells its production to utilities at a premium price. In addition, it sells the certificates on a completely separate market. It can sell the electricity twice!

Whole Foods and other companies do not change their or anyone else's energy use by buying wind energy certificates, nor do their customers in buying wind power cards or stickers. They are simply donating a little money to wind companies (such as Electricité de France, Scottish Power, Iberdrola, Florida Power & Light, Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, etc.) and mostly enriching the green tag brokers, the heirs of Enron.

wind power, wind energy, environment, environmentalism, Vermont, anarchism, anarchosyndicalism