Saturday, May 05, 2007

Wind v. Water: Will the Public Interest Win?

While it's clear that the Public Interest is rarely considered in Madistan, every once in a while it sneaks through.

An amendment inserted into the state budget with little advance notice this week could deal a blow to development of wind power projects in Wisconsin over the next eight years.

Note the implication of "underhanded and dirty stuff" in the paragraph. What, exactly, could be so awful? So slimy?

Here's the background:

If adopted by the full Legislature, the amendment would allow state utilities to import hydroelectric power from dams in Manitoba, using a new $420 million high-voltage transmission line that is under construction between Wausau and Duluth, Minn.

A law passed last year requires that 10% of Wisconsin's electricity come from renewable power sources such as wind turbines and solar panels by 2015.

The law kept in place a limit on hydroelectric power that's designed to discourage use of large hydroelectric dam projects.

So we're to understand that water-generated electricity (like, you know, the TVA and Hoover Dam) are eeeeeeeeeeevil.


"It's generally appreciated that large hydro plants are environmentally damaging - the whole purpose of a renewable portfolio standard is to produce cleaner, greener energy," said Lee Cullen, a Madison energy lawyer who led Gov. Jim Doyle's task force on renewable energy.

But hydro-power has another eeeeeeeeeevil attribute: it's cheaper.

Wind power is considered more cost-effective to develop at a large scale compared with solar power and waste-to-energy systems such as power generated from burning landfill gas. A rapid increase in development of wind projects has led to difficulty obtaining wind turbines and to higher prices charged by wind-turbine manufacturers such as General Electric Co. and Vestas Wind Systems.

"If we've got to go with wind, and the manufacturers of wind turbines know that they have you over a barrel, we're just going to get killed," Severance said. "I never want to be in a negotiation without having an alternative. You need to have a Plan B."

This is called Purchasing 101. You make sure that you have a Big Dog in the yard, just in case GE shows up with their Big Dog. After all, everybody knows that GE does not play nice--ask anyone who has to wait, and wait, and wait, for GE Medical to pay an invoice.

The Green Bay utility's plan to change state law could slow efforts to develop "home-grown" renewable energy, said Keith Reopelle, program director at the conservation group Clean Wisconsin.

"This completely undercuts the idea of utilizing Wisconsin resources and developing new renewable resources in Wisconsin," he said.

...and saving a boatload of money for working stiffs is NOT a concern to "Clean Wisconsin", Keith? Who the hell pays YOUR electric bill?

That task force met for more than a year, and members said limiting hydroelectric power expansion was a key component of the group's recommendations, Cullen said.

"It is unseemly so soon after all the hard work that members of the task force did to produce a consensus - a unanimous result - that one of the material elements of it is removed," he said.

Well, Atty. Cullen, when you 'do hard work' which has the wrong conclusion, you have to expect these sorts of things might happen. Life is a bitch sometimes.

Of course, the Governor wants his cut:

"The governor is committed to seeing more wind and more biomass, and more hydro, as well," said Matt Canter, Doyle spokesman. "He would have to review the proposal with that in mind."

We note that Matt Canter never mentioned the PUBLIC INTEREST in AFFORDABLE ENERGY.

Maybe the Public Interest isn't on the Governor's mind...


Headless Blogger said...

"Plan may hurt bid for wind power" - I saw this headline and thought it was going to be bad news.

The article and your blogpost tell a different story. More cheap, clean power is a good thing for WI. The 10% goal is unattainable without imported hydro, especially since the existing clean 25% of WI's electric generation isn't allowed to count.

The state's democratic leaders want a recipe for financial disaster. Limited, expensive electric power, combined with confiscatory taxation. Can our economy really get worse?

D-29 - One additional note, you slander all the "istans" in Eastern Europe by lumping them with the Marxists in our Capital City.

Anonymous said...

LMAO at the GE Med payment comments.

What's the point of being the 800 pound gorilla if you can't throw it around a bit :-)

Dad29 said...

Well, Anony...

What goes around comes around. And there are a LOT of folks who are waiting for the "comes around" part.

Anonymous said...

I feel your pain. I used to be on the OTHER side of the table once too.