Environmentalists and Green Energy
November 21, 2011It seems that so called environmentalists fall into three general categories:
People who care about the environment, but who aren't willing trade their first born to be a part of the movement. These folks will help to preserve the environment as long as it involves doing things that are sensible. They tend to be displeased with "fringe" activities such as shutting down bridge construction lest any "noise" generated might disturb the anadromous fish - especially in the absence of any scientific studies to support the shutdown.(Actually, there are two more categories of folks. That would be the non-environmentalists and the "nut-job" environmentalists. The first of these groups couldn't care less about the environment and seem quite happy to abuse it. The nut-job environmentalists seem perfectly happy to subordinate peoples' welfare to their version of environmentalism. Beyond suggesting that both groups are populated by idiots, there is nothing more to be said about either of them.)
People who are serious about the environment but who remain intellectually honest about things environmental. This would include those environmentalists who, after they recognized that it takes more energy to produce ethanol than we realize from it, withdrew their support of it.
Environmental opportunists. This group is composed of two sub-groups; the "make believe environmentalists" personified by the movie stars, most of whom likely cant even spell environment (i,e, faux environmentalists); and the people whose professed support of the environmental movement is driven by the amount of taxpayer money they can get to enrich themselves (i.e. faux venture capitalists - think Solyndra and other Steven Chu "charities").
Folks in the first category listed above are generally not activists but they normally lend their support to the movement. These tend to be people who take care of their own business and seem happiest when others do the same.
The second group tends to be professed activists. Most of them are honest and sincere. These are the folks who acknowledged the original miscalculation about ethanol and withdrew their support for it. Their call to do away with ethanol subsidies didn't gain much traction because there are already too many "environmental opportunists" making too much money off of those subsidies and too many politicians receiving too many campaign contributions from those opportunists. All the while, the cost of our corn-based breakfast cereal continues to rise. Hmmm...
The Environmental Opportunist group is composed of both faux environmentalists and faux venture capitalists.
The faux environmentalists include "green now" people and a lot of big time movie stars working very hard to forcibly move us into a so called green economy ("forcibly" being the operative word.). It is not difficult to become suspicious about these folks as we hear them talking about preserving the environment and then watch them as they "jet" about the country spewing tons of carbon into the atmosphere. If the science behind all this "green" was "mature" (i.e. cost effective), the switch to green power wouldn't have to be "forced". Folks would migrate toward the green as a matter of self-interest. In the meantime, like it or not, we must reconcile ourselves to a continued reliance on oil and natural gas for some time to come. These faux environmentalists seem to support so called green energy at almost any cost. Cost of utilities doesn't seem to concern for them. Many of the rest of us are unwilling to spend the extra money for green electricity when there are so many sorely needed things that are either on the verge of going undone or are already going undone. Higher electricity costs would surely leave some people in the dark or in the cold or both. - not something we would care to have happen. Clearly the significantly higher prices associated with either wind or solar electricity are not to the advantage of most folks. So, here's the situation. This group of environmental opportunists wants green electricity now. The rest of us would be happy to have green electricity as soon as the technology is mature and the price is competitive. Let's see if we can get these faux environmentalists to put their money where their mouth is. Start with the following facts:
We know who the "celebrity greens" and the "green now" people are. They have already declared themselves. They are the ones out there making speeches and walking the "protest" line against such things as the Keystone XL pipeline.
Their serving power company should certainly be able to tell how much it costs to either produce or buy their green energy.
With that information in hand, we could then get these celebrity greens and "green now" people off of carbon based electricity and provide them with only green electricity. The price they pay for the green electricity would be based on whatever the green electricity costs the power company (plus overhead and profit and whatever else is in their costing model). The cost to the remaining customers would be calculated the same way as it currently is except that the income from the greens is taken into account (i.e. deducted) before making the calculation.. By catering to the greens in this fashion, they get what they want and the rest of us gain the benefit of lower electricity prices. Everybody wins!!
The rest of the environmental opportunist group is composed of faux venture capitalists. That would be risk takers who don't mind the risks as long as they aren't risking their own money. Risking the taxpayers' money is not at all a problem. (Solyndra was a perfect example of this: The Aurora ethanol plant almost was.) The primary motivation of this group seems to be the amount of taxpayer money the can get from the government (all levels) to enrich themselves. This may or may not include the local sounding Pantego Wind Energy LLC (a subsidiary of a Chicago headquartered Delaware corporation) which may or may not fall into this group depending on whence cometh the money they have already started spreading around "the east" for windmill plot leases and rent. If it is really venture capital, more power to them (except for the birds). If it is taxpayer venture capital money (like the ethanol plant near Aurora almost was ) then we shouldn't even allow them into the county or Eastern North Carolina for that matter.
Talking about birds, we find that those turbines are proving fatal to a lot of birds, some of them endangered. No matter. The faux venture capitalists' desire for profits will always trump conservation. Apparently killing birds, even endangered and protected birds, doesn't seem to count for much when it comes to green energy - at least in the eyes of the faux venture capitalists - which may explain why they didn't seem to have much concern about siting their proposed wind farm so near the Pungo Unit of the Pocosin Lakes National Wildlife refuge. The Pungo Unit, created in 1963, is the wintering home of the largest percentage of Tundra Swan on the east coast.
And by the way, even though the proposed project is still in the "hearing" stage we understand that a lot of the land for the windmills has already been leased and rent is being paid. (Does anyone know what "sop" means??) We can only wonder if the developers know something that the rest of us don't. One thing we do know is that at least one New Bern resident - our Economic Developer - supports the project. What we don't yet know is if he has started promising or even sending the Pantego Wind Energy LLC any Beaufort County taxpayer money. Our County Executive has also apparently been quoted as supporting this project - after a "company sponsored" trip to Illinois to see one of their other "farms". I don't suppose that on that trip there was any conversation about the 14,000 wind farms that have reportedly been abandoned after taxpayer subsidies of them ended. The first thing we need to know is if this whole project is on the up and up. Then we need to know who is really behind it and how much federal, state and local funding is (will be) involved?? It already begins to look like the long suffering taxpayers are about to be "had" again. (In the meantime, we should probably also take our County Executive on a tour of Beaufort and surrounding counties and show him "our" farms. And before we go any further, the 11/20/11 Observer article documenting the 14,000 abandoned windmill farms in the U.S.(together with all its "backup") has got to be made "must reading" for our County Commissioners, our Economic Developer, and his cohorts at the Committee of 100, if not every taxpayer in the County.
Several years ago we took on the US Navy and succeeded in keeping the Navy's OLF away from the area, but this time we may have a much more formidable foe - a company from near Chicago (does the term "crony capitalism" ring any bells??) - and they are already spreading money around. Hmmm...