Letters 7 – 15 – 2011

Shumlin not realistic about a power corridor through Vermont  

The Governor’s vision (and knowledge) seems to stop at the border-at least the eastern one. There is a proposed power line from Canada in the licensing process now. It is in New Hampshire. It is meeting the typical NIMBY opposition. Considering the opposition to wind turbines in Vermont, what kind of resistance would he expect to a transmission line?

This is getting more like Alice in Wonderland all the time. “Its not in Vermont, so I don’t know about it. I don’t like it so I can make it disappear with no harm done.

— Howard Shaffer


Shumlin not telling the whole story on energy issues

The governor is not telling the whole story.

The governor SAYS he is for low electric rates, but his unwise pushing for subsidized, tax sheltered, high cost power systems proves something else.His pushing for highly visible, noisy, expensive, variable, intermittent wind energy on ridge lines and expensive variable, intermittent solar energy on roofs and meadows will raise electric rates, lower living standards, reduce economic growth and increase unemployment.

Hydro Quebec’s facilities will be required to balance the wind and solar energy AND to supply power when the wind does not blow and the sun does not shine (low-cost energy storage has not been invented yet). That means HQ will have to operate its hydro plants as balancing plants for which it will charge a fee as Norway and Sweden charge a fee to Denmark, which has the highest electric rates in Europe, France has the lowest. It would be far less expensive, much more economical and less technically challenging for Vermont to augment its energy purchases from HQ WITHOUT wasting scarce funds to build out wind and solar facilities.

It would be far less expensive and much more economical to build 60% efficient, gas-fired, combined cycle gas turbine plants to produce electricity. Such plants could be up to 85% efficient, if used to supply not only electricity but also community/district heating and cooling, as widely practiced in Europe. Misguiding thinkers in Montpelier need to wake up to reality and stop playing politics with Vermont’s future.

Over the past 10 years, the subsidies for wind turbine facility owners have become so excessive that facilities are built in marginal wind areas, as on most Vermont ridge lines, or before facilities are built to transmit the wind energy to population centers, as in the Texas Panhandle, just to cash in on the lucrative subsidies. Here is a partial list of subsidies:

– Federal grant for 30% of the total project cost which also applies to Spanish, Danish, German and Chinese wind turbines thus creating jobs in those nations instead of the US. These nations would not dream to have such a measure benefitting US wind turbine companies.

– Federal accelerated depreciation allowing the entire project to be written off in five years which is particularly beneficial to wealthy, high-income people looking for additional tax shelters.

– Federal production credit of $0.022/kWh of wind energy produced. The justification provided by proponents: Wind energy is CO2-free whereas fossil energy is not. This study shows the EXTRA CO2 emitted due to the inefficient operation of the balancing facillity to accommodate wind energy to the grid (compared to the facility being base-loaded) is about equal to the CO2 the wind energy was meant to reduce.

– Owners of wind turbine facilities receive Renewable Energy Certificates which they can sell on the open market. The RECs are subsequently bought by polluting companies that find it less expensive to buy the RECs than clean up their pollution.

– State legislatures are pressured to provide increasingly greater state incentives to politically well-connected renewables vendors, developers, financial entities and high-income future wind facility owners.

– State legislatures and state government agencies are pressured to pave the regulatory ways to essentially circumvent state environmental and quality of life laws. Pro-forma hearings, usually required by law, are held to create a semblance of democratic process but effectively are rubber-stamp approvals of pre-ordained decisions.

— Willem Post


A real solution to the debt crisis

I have a reply to Bernie Sanders solution to debt ~ send all of the Congress home without pay and keep the President from his lavish vacations and the pen out of his hand!

— Marion Clegg



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