May 30, 2012

Blinded by industry

A friend writes, regarding “On wildness and carbon” by David McKay:

If anyone finds the wind industry compelling, there’s a lot they aren’t getting and probably never will, because they don’t want to. People are reluctant to admit there is no solution, [that] all we can do on an insanely overcrowded planet full of greedy people is use far less energy, and start planning massive overhauls of cities and towns, making our lives smaller, getting some trains running, getting rid of cars, bike lanes everywhere, electricity only for parts of the day, smaller stores, small passive energy houses, using air conditioning only in extreme weather, shut down the meat and dairy industry, the list is endless. But that is apparently not ever going to happen on a large scale, because the changes are too huge for people to comprehend and corporate lobbyists wouldn’t allow it. Modern lives are built around electricity and technology, so going back to a more natural, sustainable way of life is probably impossible. People’s lives in the not so distant future will be forcibly curtailed by nature, not because they chose a wiser path.

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

May 29, 2012

Mr Dooley spurns the church and state

From “Dooleysprudence” by James Joyce (1916):


Who is the funny fellow who declines to go to church
Since pope and priest and parson left the poor man in the lurch
And taught their flocks the only way to save all human souls
Was piercing human bodies through with dumdum bulletholes?


Who is the tranquil gentleman who won’t salute the State
Or serve Nebuchadnezzar or proletariat
But thinks that every son of man has quite enough to do
To paddle down the stream of life his personal canoe?


May 28, 2012

Coey 2012

Learning about the power of genetic engineering are St Anne’s pupils T— and K— with Monsanto Education Officer Laura Coey.

Learning about the power of hydraulic fracturing are St Anne’s pupils T— and K— with Halliburton Education Officer Laura Coey.

Learning about the power of unmanned drone warfare are St Anne’s pupils T— and K— with General Atomics Education Officer Laura Coey.

Learning about the power of submission to Jesus are St Anne’s pupils T— and K— with Billy Graham Crusades Education Officer Laura Coey.

Learning about the power of wind energy are St Anne’s pupils T— and K— with Action Renewables Education Officer Laura Coey.

May 26, 2012

Time waves

Just as, in listening to Cottard, Brichot and many others, I had come to realise that, through common culture and fashionable fads, a simple undulation sends the same mannerisms of speech and thought over the surface of the globe, in the same way over the whole expanse of time great tidal waves bring up from the depths of the ages the same hatreds, the same sorrows, the same types of bravery, the same strange fancies running through superposed generations, each section made at various levels in the same series giving a repetition (like shadows cast on a row of screens) of a phenomenon as identically reproduced although often not as trivial, as the family trait which set M. Bloch junior at odds with his father-in-law, M. Bloch senior with M. Nissim Bernard, and others before them whom I had never known.

[De même qu’en écoutant parler Cottard, Brichot, tant d’autres, j’avais senti que par la culture et la mode, une seule ondulation propage dans toute l’étendue de l’espace, les mêmes colères, les mêmes tristesses, les mêmes bravoures, les mêmes manies, à travers les générations superposées, chaque section prise à plusieurs niveaux d’une même série, offrant la répétition, comme des ombres sur des écrans successifs, d’un tableau aussi identique quoique souvent moins insignifiant que celui qui mettait aux prises de la même façon M. Bloch et so beau-père, M. Bloch père et M. Nissim Bernard et d’autres que je n’avais pas connus.]

—Marcel Proust, The Past Recaptured
(1932 translation of Le Temps Retrouvé (1928) by Frederick Blossom):

May 25, 2012

Vermont Wind Proposals

Also see: "Large wind projects in Vermont"

And listen (and chat or call in) to Wind Wise Radio, May 27, 7:00 p.m.: Stand Against the Wind — Chris Braithwaite and other guests talk about the destruction of Lowell Mountain in northern Vermont, co-hosted by Annette Smith, executive director of Vermonters for a Clean Environment.

wind power, wind energy, wind turbines, wind farms, environment, environmentalism, Vermont

May 23, 2012

wind = natural gas

On May 1, 2012, Windpower Monthly published an interview by Ros Davidson with Denise Bode, CEO of industry lobby American Wind Energy Association. Besides her incoherence about the Production Tax Credit (the industry will die without it! the industry no longer needs it!), here is an interesting excerpt about natural gas. Before moving to the AWEA in 2009, Bode was CEO of natural gas lobby American Clean Skies Foundation.
RD: You and Texan oil billionaire T Boone Pickens have promoted the idea of a wind–natural gas partnership, using both sources for generation and natural gas for vehicles. You co-authored an article on the issue with Pickens on Politico (the political journalism website) just before the 2011 AWEA conference. Yet, many people are increasingly uncomfortable with natural gas because of questions about the environmental safety of fracking - a procedure that releases gas from underground shale rocks - and because of methane emissions. Where does that leave AWEA and the prospect of natural gas as a "bridge fuel" to a low-carbon future?

DB: You're talking to somebody who was a state regulator of oil and gas. You can safely frack. You can regulate and manage it. The natural gas industry really got ahead of itself because they were drilling in places that did not have a mature regulatory structure. They also didn't have the infrastructure to properly address the fracking. Over time that will change, whether it is through federal or state regulation. It can be managed.

RD: So the controversy over fracking and methane emissions doesn't change your view of wind and gas collaborating?

DB: It's a matter of fact that wind and gas will be the two largest new sources of electricity generation.

RD: But doesn't the public perception of natural gas fracking make the partnership more difficult to sell?

DB: You know, we're focused on the PTC and don't spend a lot of time promoting our partnership. We try not to tear somebody else down and build ourselves up. We talk about the benefits of wind. Natural gas has to pretty much make its own case, although we do need to work together. We need each other to balance utilities' portfolios. Natural gas provides peak power in a way that wind can't. We need each other and should work together as much as possible.
It is obvious that wind needs natural gas, not just to ensure power on demand, but also to effectively balance wind's high degree of variation. However, natural gas does not need wind. In fact, without wind, natural gas turbines can operate about twice as efficiently - ie, with about half the emissions. In other words, to support wind on the grid is not only to support more fracking for natural gas, but also to support less efficient use of that natural gas.

Bode's comment that "You can safely frack" reminds us of this statement from the AWEA strategy memo leaked from its November 2011 board meeting:
We need to create a space for the wind energy industry without defining it as an alternative to fossil fuels and coal and that goes beyond being one of many "renewables." "Renewables" in general are saddled with weaknesses that we don’t want to have to carry.
That is to say, wind has moved from serving as atonement for consumerism to now being little more than the greenwashing arm of the natural gas industry.

Cf  "Breaking Up with the Sierra Club", in response to the discovery that the wind industry cheerleader had accepted more than $25 million dollars from fracker Chesapeake Energy.

wind power, wind energy, environment, environmentalism

May 15, 2012

Denmark's ecological footprint worse than U.S.

This just in from Common Dreams: The World Wildlife Fund's Living Planet Report 2012 finds that:

“The U.S. has the fifth largest ecological footprint in terms of the amount of resources each person annually consumes. We rank only behind Qatar, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates, and Denmark in the global rankings of the Ecological Footprint.”

Denmark: 4th largest per-capita ecological footprint in the world.
U.S.: 5th.

wind power, wind energy, environment, environmentalism