Marita: Writes about the Pope

Greetins!

 

Even though I don’t like to write on the same topics other pundits are addressing, I assumed, that for this week, I’d write on the Pope. Some topics are just too big to ignore.

 

In this week’s column: The Pope, climate change and VW (attached and pasted-in-below), I, both, wrote on something most others aren’t and included the Pope’s visit.

 

I conducted an unofficial poll on my Facebook page in which I asked if people were following the VW scandal. Some were. Many were not. A few knew about it, but weren’t following it. Several indicated that they had no idea what I was talking about. The responses validated my premise: with all of the news coverage on the Pope’s visit, the VW scandal was under the radar for most—but, as I demonstrate in The Pope, climate change and VW, they are connected. Pope Francis is pushing for policies that promote emission reductions based on the belief that CO2 emissions are driving climate change and Volkswagen, I believe, engaged in the approach they did because of the impossible requirements to cut emissions.

 

In The Pope, climate change and VW I offer a quick overview of the VW story for those who haven’t followed it and then make the connection to the unattainable regulations and the carbon reduction policies driving them. Those who reviewed it prior to publication were very positive about the approach. One said: “Great article and exactly on point.”

 

Please post, pass on and/or personally enjoy The Pope, climate change and VW.

 

Marita Noon

Executive Director, Energy Makes America Great, inc.

PO Box 52103, Albuquerque, NM 87181

505.239.8998

 

 

For immediate release: September 28, 2015

Commentary by Marita Noon

Executive Director, Energy Makes America Great Inc.

Contact: 505.239.8998, marita@responsiblenergy.org

Marita Noon 2015 Turquiose

 

 

The Pope, climate change and VW

While Pope Francis was shuttled around during his historic visit to the U.S. in a Fiat, he shared the news cycle with Volkswagen.

 

The pope made headlines with his calls for action on climate change. USA Today touted: “Obama, Pope Francis praise each other on climate change.” In his September 23 speech from the White House lawn, the Pope addressed President Obama saying: “I find it encouraging that you are introducing an initiative for reducing air pollution.” Addressing that comment, Business Insider added: “He praised President Barack Obama for his proposals, which aim for the US to cut emissions by up to 28% over the next decade.”

 

The core of the entire climate change agenda is the reduction of carbon dioxide emissions which proponents like to call “air pollution.” It comes from sources we can’t control: volcanoes; sources we can kind-of control: forest fires (better forest management would result in fewer fires) and human beings exhaling (reduce the population, reduce CO2 emissions); and sources we can control: the use of fossil fuels (we can virtually outlaw them as several countries, including the U.S., are trying to do).

 

The drive to cut CO2 emissions is at the root of Volkswagen’s unprecedented scandal that broke last week, resulting in the CEO’s abrupt ouster on September 23—the day that Pope Francis’ U.S. visit went into full swing.

 

With nonstop coverage of the papal activities—including his Fiat Popemobile—the Volkswagen story was likely lost on most Americans. But it is not going away.

 

On September 18, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency disclosed the scandal: Europe’s biggest auto maker, with 600,000 employees world-wide and 300,000 in Germany, utilized software on some VW and Audi diesel-powered cars to manipulate the results of routine emissions tests—allowing them pass strict emissions standards in Europe and the U.S. The “defeat devices” have reportedly been fitted to more than 11 million vehicles since 2008 and may cost Volkswagen up to $18 billion in fines in the U.S. alone. Owners of the impacted vehicles will need to have a heretofore unavailable “fix” installed and may have to provide a “proof of correction certificate” in order to renew their registration and will suffer “loss due to the diminished value of the cars.” As a result of the scandal, Volkswagen’s stock price and reputation have both fallen precipitously, and class-action lawsuits are already taking shape. Fund managers have been banned from buying VW’s stocks and bonds. Tens of thousands of new cars may remain unsold. USNews stated: “Whoever is responsible could face criminal charges in Germany.”

 

The question no one seems to be asking is: what would drive Europe’s biggest auto maker to make such a costly decision, to take a risk, from which it may be impossible to recover, and tarnish the “made-in-Germany brand”?

 

While the question isn’t asked, Reuters coverage of the story offers the answer: “Diesel engines use less fuel and emit less carbon—blamed for global warming—than standard gasoline engines. But they emit higher levels of toxic gases known as nitrogen oxides.”

 

In short, the answer is the drive to lower CO2 emissions and the policies that encourage reduction.

 

In BloombergView, Clive Crook offers this excellent explanation:

Beginning in the mid-1990s, mindful of their commitments to cut carbon emissions, Europe’s governments embarked on a prolonged drive to convert their car fleets from gasoline to diesel. With generous use of tax preferences, they succeeded. In the European Union as a whole, diesel vehicles now account for more than half of the market. In France, the first country to cross that threshold, diesel now accounts for roughly 80 percent of motor-fuel consumption.

 

What was the reasoning? Diesel contains more carbon than gasoline, but diesel engines burn less fuel: Net, switching to diesel ought to give you lower emissions of greenhouse gases. However, there’s a penalty in higher emissions of other pollutants, including particulates and nitrogen oxides, or NOx. Curbing those emissions requires expensive modifications to cars’ exhaust systems. To facilitate the switch, Europe made its emission standards for these other pollutants less stringent for diesel engines than for gasoline engines. The priority, after all, was to cut greenhouse gases.

 

If anyone could solve the dilemma, one would expect it to be the Germans, who excel in engineering feats. It is Germany that is touted as the world leader in all things green. The reality of achieving the goals, however, is far more difficult than passing the legislation calling for the energy transformation.

 

Addressing German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s push for de-carbonization, BloombergBusiness Points out: “Merkel has built a reputation as a climate crusader during a decade as Chancellor.” She “has straddled between pushing to reduce global warming while protecting her country’s auto industry.”

 

Merkel is, apparently, bumping up against reality. After shutting down its nuclear power plants, Germany has had to rely more on coal. BloombergBusiness continues: “She successfully helped block tighter EU carbon emissions standards two years ago.” Those tighter emissions standards would have hurt Germany’s auto industry, which accounts for 1 in 7 jobs in the country and 20 percent of its exports. At last week’s Frankfurt Auto Show Merkel said: “We have to ensure politically that what’s doable can indeed be translated into law, but what’s not doable mustn’t become European law.”

 

Evidence suggests the issue “could be industry-wide.” CNBC reports: “several major companies having exposure to the same diesel technology.” BMW’s stock price plunged, according to BloombergBusiness: “after a report that a diesel version of the X3 sport utility vehicle emitted more than 11 times the European limit for air pollution in a road test.” The Financial Times quotes Stuart Pearson, an analyst at Exane BNP Paribas, as saying: VW was “unlikely to have been the only company to game the system globally.” And an October 2014 study, cited in BloombergBusiness, claims that “road tests of 15 new diesel cars were an average of seven times higher than European limits.”

 

The VW emissions scandal is more than just a “‘bad episode’ for the car industry,” as Germany’s vice-chancellor, Sigmar Gabriel, called it. It provides a lesson in the collision of economic and environmental policies that strive to reach goals, which are presently technologically unachievable—a lesson that regulators and policy makers have yet to learn.

 

The Los Angeles Times (LAT) reports: “Regulators have ordered Volkswagen to come up with a fix that allows vehicles to meet environmental regulations.” If it were that easy, even economically possible, the much-vaunted German engineering could have solved the problem instead of developing technology that found a way around the rules. LAT concludes: “automotive experts believe any repair will diminish the driving dynamics of the vehicles and slash fuel economy—the two major characteristics that attracted buyers.”

 

The fact that, while waving the flag of environmental virtue advocated by Pope Francis, those, with the world’s best engineering at their fingertips, had to use the expertise to develop a work-around should serve as a lesson to policymakers who pass legislation and regulation on ideology rather than reality.

 

 

The author of Energy Freedom, Marita Noon serves as the executive director for Energy Makes America Great Inc. and the companion educational organization, the Citizens’ Alliance for Responsible Energy (CARE). She hosts a weekly radio program: America’s Voice for Energy—which expands on the content of her weekly column. Follow her @EnergyRabbit.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Marita: Knows how our government favors giving tax money to persistent losers

Link to: Not all energy is created equal

Greetings!

Last week, I was called to Washington, DC, to support Congress’ efforts to lift the oil export ban—known as HR 702. I am pleased to report a victory—albeit, just the first in a long process. The House Energy and Commerce Committee advanced the bill with bipartisan support. Along with all the Republicans voting, three Democrat Representatives voted for the bill and four or five others indicated that they were open to the idea and might vote “yes” on the floor. The floor vote could happen as early as next week, though every representative with whom I met preferred a later October date that would remove it from the noise surrounding the Pope’s visit (likely my topic for next week) and the CR debate.

Despite the President’s announcement indicating that he doesn’t support the bill (and, therefore, would likely veto it), folks with whom I was working do see a path to victory in the Senate. But, as a part of the horse trading that goes on, that path will likely include a debate/discussion about renewing tax credits for renewable energy—which is the topic of my column for this week: Not all energy is created equal (attached and pasted-in-below). The wind PTC is a big issue as it is already expired and proponents are aggressively working to get it retroactively extended, because, as my column points out, the industry cannot achieve the projected growth needed to meet Obama’s Clean Power Plan goals without it.

My 48-hours in DC was very productive. I met with many allies who are also working to advance energy policy that embraces the free-market and limited-government perspective that undergirds most everything I write. Please post, pass on, and/or personally enjoy Not all energy is created equal.

 Marita Noon 2015 Turquiose

Marita Noon

Executive Director, Energy Makes America Great, inc.

PO Box 52103, Albuquerque, NM 87181

505.239.8998

Sapphire_3560_ppc_4x5

For immediate release: September 21, 2015

Commentary by Marita Noon

Executive Director, Energy Makes America Great Inc.

Contact: 505.239.8998, marita@responsiblenergy.org

Words: 1248

 

 

Not all energy is created equal

Congress has taken action that actually advances free markets and limits government intrusion. I was in the room when, on September 17, the House Energy and Commerce Committee—with bipartisan support—advanced legislation to lift the 1970s-era ban on crude-oil exports. HR 702, “To adapt to changing crude oil market conditions,” is expected to receive a full floor vote within a matter of weeks.

 

The export ban is a relic of a bygone era during which ideas like “peak oil” and “energy scarcity” were the conventional wisdom. Despite all those who cried “wolf,” the U.S. is now the world’s largest combined oil-and-gas producer.

 

Ending this obsolete ban would unleash America’s energy producers on the global market, increasing domestic production and creating jobs. Additionally, reports from experts at the non-partisan Energy Information Administration and Government Accountability Office, plus consultants at IHS, indicate that it will also lower prices at the pump.

 

Like everything that seems to happen in Washington, DC, these days, this initial victory may have a price tag that prevents its final passage.

 

Getting the Democrats on board with removing the barrier to exporting America’s abundance may likely require giving them something they want.Morning Consult recently reported: “Momentum is building in Congress to repeal the antiquated ban on exporting crude oil. Lawmakers and energy industry representatives are talking about other energy policies that could be swapped or combined to achieve that objective. Renewable energy tax credits are part of the equation.”

 

Those “renewable energy tax credits” are mainly two: the wind Production Tax Credit (PTC) and solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC). Like the oil-export ban, the wind PTC is an archaic policy that has no place in today’s modern reality of energy abundance.

 

Passed by Congress in 1992, the PTC pays the wind industry for every kilowatt-hour of electricity generated over a ten-year period. No other mature energy source—natural gas, oil, or coal—can claim a similar carve out based on how much product they sell. The subsidy is so lavish that wind developers can sometimes sell their electricity at a loss and still profit. The New York Times has described this as wind’s “cannibal behavior” on the power grid.

 

The PTC costs taxpayers like you and me billions of dollars each year. Americans pay for wind twice: first in their federal tax bills, then in their local utility bills. According to a new study, commissioned by the Institute for Energy Research, electricity generated from new wind facilities is between three and four times as expensive as that from existing coal and nuclear power plants,.

 

The Senate Finance Committee claims a two-year extension would cost $10 billion over the next decade. After decades of subsidies and multiple PTC extensions, wind still generates less than 5 percent of our electricity.

 

Congressman Mike Pompeo (R-KS), who has long opposed the PTC extension, told me: “With a skyrocketing $16 trillion debt and an industry that is more than capable of standing on its own, there is no reason why the federal government should continue to subsidize the wind energy industry. Proponents of the Wind PTC continue to call for an extension—for the umpteenth time. This handout costs taxpayers billions and has caused significant price distortions in wholesale electricity markets that translate into real costs for everyday consumers. If we want a robust economy, it’s time to stop picking winners and losers in the energy marketplace and finally end the wind PTC. After two decades of pork, the wind looters need to stand on their own two feet. Most of the people in the wind industry I talk to know this, and I am confident that those individuals and others in the energy industry will enjoy many marketplace successes once we put a stop to the purely political policies that we have seen to date.”

 

Despite the mountain of evidence against wind subsidies—including increasing reports of health issues and concerns over bird kills—this summer, before the August recess, the Senate Finance Committee rushed through a package of expired tax provisions, including the wind PTC. Now, wind lobbyists are looking for a legislative “vehicle” to latch on to, preferably one with bipartisan support, to push through another PTC extension without a fair hearing, which is exactly why they’re eyeing the oil-export bill.

 

According to The Hill, Senator Ed Markey (D-MA) said he could consider lifting the ban “only if it’s tied to a permanent extension of the wind and solar tax credits.”

 

Swapping the PTC for oil exports is a bad deal, as lifting the ban deserves to pass in its own right. But what many don’t realize is that trading the PTC for oil exports is also a Faustian bargain that furthers President Obama’s destructive climate-change agenda.

 

The PTC and the president’s climate agenda are related because Obama’s sweeping new carbon regulations, known as the “Clean Power Plan”—finalized in August—require states to drastically cut carbon dioxide emissions. It does this by shuttering low-cost coal plants and building new wind and solar facilities. The problem: wind and solar are uneconomic without massive taxpayer handouts like the PTC and ITC and market-distorting mandates like state Renewable Portfolio Standards.

 

This scheme is the centerpiece of Obama’s climate legacy, which he hopes to cement in December at the United Nations climate conference in Paris.

 

These carbon regulations will inflict severe burdens on American families—especially the poorest among us who can least afford to pay higher energy prices. A recent study by the National Black Chamber of Commerce, for instance, found that Obama’s carbon rule would increase Black and Hispanic poverty by 23 and 26 percent, respectively. For all that pain, the regulations will, perhaps, reduce global temperature rise by 0.018 degrees Celsius in 2100—an undetectable amount.

 

Buried in hundreds of pages of “analysis,” the Environmental Protection Agency projects the wind industry will add more than 13 GW of electrical capacity each year from 2024-2030. For context, 13 GW is exactly how much capacity wind added in 2012, a record year. It is also the year in which rent-seeking wind barons rushed to build as many new turbines as possible to quality for the PTC, which expired at the end of the year. The following year, after the PTC expired, wind additions collapsed by more than 90 percent—which highlights the fact that the wind industry cannot survive in a free market.

 

This makes the wind PTC vital to Obama’s carbon regulations. His plan depends on exponential wind growth, and the wind industry depends on government handouts like the PTC to avoid total collapse, let alone grow. 

 

By not accepting a wind PTC tradeoff, Congress can deal a blow to corporate wind welfare and Obama’s carbon regulations in one shot. Congress must strip the PTC out of tax extenders and refuse to use wind subsidies as a bargaining chip. The two are totally unrelated. One is a liquid fuel used primarily for transportation. The other: a way to generate electricity, albeit inefficiently, ineffectively and uneconomically. One helps our trade deficit problem and increases revenues as FuelFix reports: “liberalizing crude trade spurs more domestic production, with a resulting boost in government revenue from the activity.” The other: a hidden tax that hurts all Americans.

 

By rejecting an extension of the wind PTC and lifting the ban on oil exports, Congress would end corporate welfare for wind lobbyists, deal a blow to Obama’s costly carbon regulations, and free America’s entrepreneurs to provide abundant, affordable, and reliable energy for all.

 

 

The author of Energy Freedom, Marita Noon serves as the executive director for Energy Makes America Great Inc. and the companion educational organization, the Citizens’ Alliance for Responsible Energy (CARE). She hosts a weekly radio program: America’s Voice for Energy—which expands on the content of her weekly column. Follow her @EnergyRabbit.

 

Marita: Marita doesn’t like unwarranted attacks on her integrity

Here is all the story.  I hope you’ll understand why the renewed interest our Dear Leader has about his travels to Alaska, etc.

Greetings!

Sunday, a week ago, a journalist friend forwarded an embargoed press release to me. It was to be released the next day. At the time, I’d just completed my column Oil’s Down, Gasoline Isn’t. What’s Up? It was too late for me to switch topics—though the press release’s content tempted me; it fit so much of my general messaging.

I watched throughout the past week and didn’t see that the report announced in the press release had received the attention it deserved, so I chose it for my column this week.

The press release’s headline was: E&E Legal Releases Report Exposing Coordination Between Governors, the Obama White House and the Tom Steyer-“Founded and Funded” Network of Advocacy Groups to Advance the “Climate” Agenda. I am sure you can see why it caught my eye. In the writing of this week’s column, I read the entire 55 page report and incorporated several additional features. I believe the result is powerful: Hidden emails reveal a secret anti-fossil fuel network involving the White House, Democrat governors, wealthy donors and foundations, and front groups (attached and pasted-in-below). Covering the content of a 55 page report, means this week’s column is a bit longer than my usual. I am not sure how I will edit it down to the 900- and 600-word versions required by the newspapers—but I always do.

The content of this week’s column will morph into the speech I’ll be giving tonight at the National Association of Royalty Owners Appalachia Chapter’s Annual Meeting at the Greenbrier in West Virginia.

Please help me spread this important message by posting, passing on and or personally enjoying Hidden emails reveal a secret anti-fossil fuel network involving the White House, Democrat governors, wealthy donors and foundations, and front groups.

Thanks for your interest!

Marita Noon

Executive Director, Energy Makes America Great, inc.

PO Box 52103, Albuquerque, NM 87181

505.239.8998

Marita Noon 2015 Turquiose

Commentary by Marita Noon

Executive Director, Energy Makes America Great Inc.

Contact: 505.239.8998, marita@responsiblenergy.org

 

 

Hidden emails reveal a secret anti-fossil fuel network involving the White House, Democrat governors, wealthy donors and foundations, and front groups

Most of us feel that time goes by faster as we get older. It does. When you are five years old, one year represents 20 percent of your life. Yet, when you are fifty, that same calendar year is only 2 percent of your life—making that single timeframe much smaller. Those of us involved in fighting the bad energy policies coming out of Washington have a similar feeling: the second term of the Obama Administration seems to be throwing much more at us and at such speed that we can barely keep up. Likewise, they are.

We knew that President Obama was planning to fundamentally transform America, but even many of his initial supporters have been shocked as his true intentions have been revealed. Following his November 2012 reelection, his administration has removed any pretense of representing the majority of Americans and has pursued his ideological agenda with wild abandon—leaving many of us feeling incapacitated; thrown to the curb as it speeds by.

His legacy climate-change agenda is at the core of the rapid-fire regulations and the disregard for any speed bump the courts may place in front of the administration. When the Supreme Court smacked it down for failing to consider economic impacts of the mercury and air toxics standards for power plants, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) responded with a shrug, as their goal had essentially already been met. On August 27, a federal judge issued a preliminary injunction—blocking EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers from enforcing the Waters of the United States rule in the thirteen states that requested the injunction. The response? The Hill reports: “the Obama administration says it will largely enforce the regulation as planned.”

Having failed to push the unpopular policies through Congress, the administration has resorted to regulatory overreach—and assembled a campaign to use friendly governors and state attorney general offices, in collaboration with pressure groups and ideologically aligned benefactors, to advance the agenda.

The White House knows that the public is not with them. While polls show that slightly more than half of the American public believe the “effects of global warming are already happening,” it repeatedly comes in at the bottom of the list of priorities on which we think Obama and Congress should focus. The President’s pet policy fares even worse when pollsters ask if Americans agree: “government should do more to curb climate change, even at the expense of economic growth?” Only 12 percent “strongly agree.” Additionally, the very age group—young voters—that helped propel Obama into the Oval Office, is the group least convinced that climate change is a reality and the least “likely to support government funding for climate change solutions.”

It is, presumably, for this reason that a scheme hatched by now-disgraced former Oregon Governor Kitzhaber’s highest-paid aide Dan Carol—“a former Democratic opposition researcher,” who, according to the Oregonian, “worked on behalf of Bill Clinton and Barack Obama”—received an enthusiastic response from the White House and its allies. Remember, Kitzhaber resigned from office on February 13, 2015, amid allegations of criminal wrongdoing for the role his fiancée, Cylvia Hayes, held in his office and whether she used that role to obtain private consulting work promoting the climate agenda. Carol, who was paid close to double Kitzhaber’s salary, according to a new report from Energy & Environment Legal Institute, left his public position “after appearing to have too closely intertwined government and the tax-payer dependent ‘clean energy’ industry with interest group lobbies.”

The goal of what was originally called “Dan’s concept” was to bring about a “coalescence of private financial and ideological interests with public offices to advance the officeholders’ agenda and political aspiration”—more specifically: “to bring the Obama Administration’s plans to reality and to protect them.”

This was done, according to dozens of emails obtained through federal and state open record laws, “through a coordinated campaign of parallel advocacy to support close coordination of public offices” and involved a “political operation with outside staff funded by some of the biggest names in left-liberal foundation giving,” including, according to the emails, Tom Steyer, Michael Bloomberg, the Rockefeller Brothers, and the Hewlett Foundation. The first emails in the scandal began in mid-2013.

Kitzhaber wasn’t the only governor involved—he’s just the only one, so far, to resign. Many Democrat governors and their staff supported the scheme. You’d expect that California’s Governor Jerry Brown or Virginia’s Terry McAuliffe are part of the plan—called, among other names, the Governors Climate Compact—as they are avid supporters of the President’s climate-change initiatives. What is surprising is Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear’s “quiet engagement.” He decried Obama’s Clean Power Plan (Final rule announced on August 3, 2015), as being “disastrous” for Kentucky. In a statement about the Plan, he said: “I have remained steadfast in my support of Kentucky’s important coal and manufacturing industries, and the affordable energy and good jobs they provide the Commonwealth and the nation.” Yet, he isn’t opposing the rule and emails show that he is part of the “core group of governors quietly working to promote the climate agenda.”

In response to the records request, Beshear’s office “asserts that ‘no records’ exist in its files involving the Steyer campaign.” The E&E Legal report continues: “Numerous emails from other governors copying a senior Beshear aide on her official account, emails which Beshear’s office surely possesses, unless it has chosen to destroy politically damaging emails.” An email bearing that aide’s name, Rebecca Byers, includes Kentucky as one of the states “that can’t commit to the GCC [Governors Climate Compact] publicly now but would welcome quiet engagement.”

Other states indicated in the emails include Minnesota, Rhode Island, Illinois, Connecticut, California, Oregon, Washington, Massachusetts, Tennessee, Delaware, Maryland, Colorado, New York, Vermont, and Virginia. Three newly elected Republican Governors have been targeted by the campaign—Larry Hogan (MD), Charlie Baker (MA), and Bruce Rauner (IL). Reelected Republican Governor Rick Snyder (MI) has apparently joined the “core group.”

I’ve read the entire report—which had me holding my breath as if I were reading a spy thriller—and reviewed the emails.

The amount of coordination involved in the multi-state plan is shocking. The amount of money involved is staggering—a six-month budget of $1,030,00 for the orchestrators and multi-state director and $180,000 to a group to produce a paper supporting the plan’s claims. And, as the 55-page report points out, this collection of emails is in no way complete. At the conclusion of the executive summary: “Context and common sense indicate that the emails E&E Legal obtained and detail in this report do not represent all relevant correspondence pulling together the scheme they describe. Public records laws extend to those records created, sent or received by public servants; private sector correspondence is only captured when copying public offices, with the caveat that most of the White House is exempt. Further, however, the records we have obtained reflect more than the time and other parameters of our requests; they are also a function of the thoroughness of offices’ responses, the willingness of former and current staff to search nonofficial accounts, and even several stonewalls as noted in the following pages.”

The E&E Legal report was of particular interest to me in that it followed the theme of my extensive coverage of Obama’s green-energy crony-corruption scandal. Many of the same names, with which I’d become familiar, popped up over and over again: Terry McAuliffe—who received government funding for his failed electric car enterprise; Cathy Zoe—who worked for the Department of Energy, and, of course, John Podesta—who ran the Center for American Progress and who helped write the 2009 Stimulus Bill, and who then became a “senior advisor” to President Obama and is presently campaign manager for Hillary Clinton.

It also caught my attention because little more than a month ago—perhaps with a hint that this report was forthcoming—the HuffPost published a story claiming that groups like mine were part of a “secret network of fossil fuel and utility backed groups working to stop clean energy.” Calling me—along with others—out by name, the author states: “The strategy of creating and funding many different organizations and front groups provides an artificial chorus of voices united behind eliminating or weakening renewable energy laws.” He concludes that the attacks “are the result of coordinated, national campaigns orchestrated by utilities and fossil fuel companies through their trade associations and front groups.”

Oh, how I wish we were that well-coordinated and funded. If we were, I would have written this column last week when the E&E Legal report was released. Instead of receiving the information from the source, a New York City journalist forwarded it to me.

Yes, I am part of a loosely affiliated network of people who share similar concerns. Once a year, I meet with a group of private citizens and activists over property rights issues. I am on an email list of individuals and groups opposing wind turbines—often for different reasons. I have a cadre of scientists I’ve met at different meetings upon whom I do call for their varied expertise. Individuals often email me tips and news stories. True, most of the folks on my nearly 5000-person email distribution list are part of the energy industry—though there are plenty of concerned citizens, too. In 2014, the average donation to my organization was under $500.

Imagine what we could do with the same amount of money and coordination the E&E Legal report revealed—after all we have the public on our side—average citizens whose utility bills are going up by double digits due to the policies espoused by President Obama and his politically connected allies who benefit from American’s tax dollars.

I hope you’ll join our chorus—you can subscribe and/or contribute to my efforts. We are not working in the shadows and are, in fact, proud of our efforts on behalf of all Americans, their jobs, and energy that is effective, efficient, and economical.

If this small—but organized and well-funded—group pushing Obama’s agenda were allowed to run rampant, without the roadblocks little pockets of opposition (like my group) erect though public education and exposure of the facts (such this E&E legal report), it is scary to think about where America would be today. Remember, you are either part of the problem or part of the solution.

The author of Energy Freedom, Marita Noon serves as the executive director for Energy Makes America Great Inc. and the companion educational organization, the Citizens’ Alliance for Responsible Energy (CARE). She hosts a weekly radio program: America’s Voice for Energy—which expands on the content of her weekly column. Follow her @EnergyRabbit.

Marita: Sun and wind … free, but expensive to convert

Here’s the latest from Marita ….

The sun and the wind are free, but converting them to reliable electricity is expensive, if not impossible

In an effort to get America off of fossil fuels, “free” solar and wind energy is often touted as the solution. However, in reality, the so-called free energy has high costs and does little to minimize fossil-fuel use or cut greenhouse gases.

Because solar-and-wind energy are not available 24/7—also frequently referenced as not “dispatchable”—incorporating them into the electricity portfolio requires back-up power to be available on demand. When the sun doesn’t shine or the wind doesn’t blow, we still expect to have heating or air conditioning, cook our dinners, charge our phones, and use our computers. To do this, requires fossil fuels—typically natural gas “peaking plants,” but depending on what is available, it may be a coal-fueled power plant that is forced to operate inefficiently; releasing more CO2 than it would if allowed to operate as intended.

Think of it this way.

If you want to cook a hamburger, and you have a charcoal grill, you go outside about 30 minutes before you plan to cook. You mound up the charcoal, sprinkle it with lighter fluid, and toss on a match. When the coals are white on the edges, you know they are ready. You put your burger on the grill and cook it for five to eight minutes. Once you remove the burger, the coals are still hot for hours. Ultimately, they burn down to ashes and are cold enough that you can throw them into your plastic trash can, or into the forest. To restart it later in the same day is not efficient.

By comparison, if you are going to cook that same hamburger over natural gas, or propane, you go out five minutes before you plan to grill to heat up the elements. You cook your burger, and you turn it off. No coals, no cool down needed.

Power plants function in a similar fashion.

A coal-fueled power plant cannot easily be turned on and off. It works most efficiently—i.e. cleanly—when it burns continuously. Like the grill, you can add more coal throughout the process to keep the temperature up, which creates the steam that generates electricity.

But, with a natural-gas-fueled power plant, you can easily turn it on and off. So when the wind suddenly stops blowing—with no warning, the gas plant can quickly ramp up to generate the needed power.

As Germany, with the highest implementation of renewable energy of any country, found out, to maintain grid stability, it needs the coal- and natural-gas-fueled power plants. As a result of its policies that favor renewables, such as solar and wind, Germany has had to subsidize its fossil fueled power plants to keep them open.

So, by adding solar and wind power, to the energy mix, we actually increase costs by paying for redundant power supplies—which ultimately, through rate increases, hurts the less fortunate who also have to cover the costs of the renewables.

In the cold weather of Albuquerque’s winter, I received a call from an “unemployed single mother living in an 800 square-foot apartment.” When I answered the phone, she dumped on me. She was angry. Her life circumstances meant she didn’t turn on her heat because she couldn’t afford it. After stating her position, she ranted at me: “I just opened up my utility bill. I see that I am paying $1.63 a month for renewable energy.” She continued: “I don’t give a f#*! about renewable energy! Why do I have to pay for it?”

I tried to steer her attention away from the utility company and toward the Legislature that nearly a decade ago passed the Renewable Portfolio Standard, which requires increasing amounts of more expensive renewable energy. As a result, her rates went up, and she had no say in the matter—except that she may have voted for the legislators who approved the policy.

Recently, in Florida, the state NAACP chapter had an op-ed published that, essentially, said the same thing: renewable energy for some people, costs those who can least afford it.

It is not that renewable energy is bad. I have friends who live off the grid. They are cattle ranchers, who live in New Mexico’s Gila Forest. Were it not for their solar panels, they’d have no lights, no computers, no direct contact with the rest of the world. For them, solar panels on the roof—with a back-up system of car batteries—are their salvation. At a cost that worked for them, they were able to purchase used solar panels that someone else had discarded. They are grateful for their solar panels, but they have little option—and they know that; they accept it.

Without thinking of what works well in each situation, government has tried to apply a one-size-fits-all solution. Based on a phony narrative of energy shortages and global warming, err, climate change, renewables have been sold as the panacea. While they may be the right choice in a few cases, such as my cattle ranching friends, or even in the oil fields—which are one of the single biggest industrial users of solar power, many individual locales may be better served by coal, or natural gas, even nuclear, than by renewable power. But the mandates, or the EPA, have not taken that into consideration.

In New Mexico, there are two coal-fueled power plants situated, virtually, at the mouth of the coal mine. The coal is extracted and sent straight to the power plants that generate most of New Mexico’s power and provide enough excess to sell to neighboring Arizona and California. But, EPA regulations require that these plants, now, with years of useful service left, be shut down. Some of the units will be converted to natural gas—something the region also has in abundance. However, the natural gas has pipelines that can take it to the world markets; it is not stranded the in the San Juan Basin.

In contrast, the coal cannot conveniently leave the area—there is no rail to transport it. Looking at the specifics of the basin, it makes sense to continue to generate electricity from coal and allow the natural gas to benefit markets (perhaps even our allies) without other resources—but the EPA and its environmental advocates will hear nothing of it. Their ideology drives the policy whether it makes economic, or practical, sense or not.

Just try to bring truth or logic into the discussion and the crusaders will treat you as they have Indiana’s Governor Mike Pence.

Last month, I released a white paper: Solar power in the U.S. Using real-life data and news reports, we present the harsh realities of today’s solar market—which has reacted, not with facts, but by smearing me and the supposed funding of the organizations I lead. Apparently, when you have emotion and messaging on your side, you do not need to be impeded by facts—such as the sun and the wind are free, but converting them to electricity is expensive; converting them to reliable, albeit expensive, electricity is virtually impossible. Ah, but they never let the truth stand in the way of their feel-good story.

The author of Energy Freedom, Marita Noon serves as the executive director for Energy Makes America Great Inc. and the companion educational organization, the Citizens’ Alliance for Responsible Energy (CARE). She hosts a weekly radio program: America’s Voice for Energy—which expands on the content of her weekly column.

 

If the goal is “energy independence,” what issues should be a priority in America?

Greetings!
When I sat down to write this week’s column in Austin, TX, where I’ve been on a long personal weekend, I thought it would be short and easy to write. I had all my ideas developed. I’d received a copy of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee “2014 Priority Issues Survey” and intended to use its energy question as my framework—which I did. I tore into each survey point and exposed what it really meant and how it did—or, more likely, did not—lead to “energy independence.”

While writing If the goal is “energy independence,” what issues should be a priority in America? (attached and pasted-in-below) was fairly easy, it did take me almost the entire day Friday to write—and it didn’t end up being short. When I sent it to my proofreader first thing Saturday morning, I told her that it was too long and that I was going to have to cut some of the section on CAFE standards. I asked for suggestions on what to cut. She sent the corrected version back with no cuts and added that she thought it all needed to be there. So, it is all there and If the goal is “energy independence,” what issues should be a priority in America? is long. Sorry.

But here’s what I found most interesting. As a part of my preparation, I posted a question on my Facebook page about energy independence (which, just so you know, I don’t really think is the goal, but it was the survey question). As I address in the column, the answers were most interesting and revealed a total misconception of energy independence—even among my Facebook friends who generally read my work. The misconception is my particular pet peeve. I frequently state that wind and solar have nothing to do with getting the U.S. off of foreign oil, yet even on my Facebook page when asked the title question, many offered solutions that pertained to electricity. Argh!

So, while If the goal is “energy independence,” what issues should be a priority in America? offers an interesting glimpse inside the ideology of the DCCC, more importantly it points out what really will, and will not, move the U.S. towards energy freedom—the ability to use energy freely without peoples hostile to America using it as a weapon against us.

Please help me spread the word by posting, passing on, and/or personally enjoying: If the goal is “energy independence,” what issues should be a priority in America?
Thanks!
Marita Noon

Marita Noon

Executive Director, Energy Makes America Great, Inc.
PO Box 52103,
Albuquerque, NM 87181
For immediate release: April 7, 2014
Commentary by Marita Noon
Executive Director, Energy Makes America Great Inc.
Contact: 505.239.8998, marita@responsiblenergy.org

If the goal is “energy independence,” what issues should be a priority in America?
Recently the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) sent out a “2014 Priority Issues Survey.” In addition to the obligatory Tea Party bashing: “help the Democrats protect the progress we have made from Tea Party radicals, deliver the positive changes America needs and help Democrats win a Majority in the U.S. House of Representatives!” and the fundraising requests to “help protect House Democrats against Republican attacks”—there is a section on energy.

Section VII, asks: “Which of the following will help America achieve energy independence?” It offers five options that do little to move America toward energy independence—which isn’t even a realistic goal given the fungible nature of liquid fuels. Additionally, most of the choices given on the DCCC survey actually increase energy costs for all Americans—serving as a hidden tax—but hurt those on the lower end of the socio-economic scale the most. The proposals hurt the very people the party purports to champion.

The survey asks respondents to “check all that apply.”
Raising gas mileage standards for all new cars and trucks
This choice presumes that making a law requiring something will make it happen. Sorry, not even the Democrats have that kind of power. Even the current Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) Standard of 54.5 miles per gallon (mpg) by 2025—finalized on August 28, 2012 and called “the largest mandatory fuel economy increase in history”—will be tough to hit.

The CAFE standards mean that a carmaker’s passenger vehicle fleet average must achieve 54.5 mpg. To meet that, and produce the big pick-up trucks and SUVs Americans like to drive, the manufacturers must also produce the little itty-bitty cars with mpg above 60 and the more expensive hybrids (not one of which was on the top ten best-seller list for 2013)—or have a loss leader like the Chevy Volt to help bring down the average.

Suggesting a forced raising of gas mileage standards implies that auto manufacturers are in collusion with oil companies and are intentionally producing gas guzzlers to force Americans into buying lots of gasoline.

With the price of gasoline wavering between $3-4.00 a gallon, most people are very conscious of their fuel expenditures. If it were technologically possible to build a cost-effective truck or SUV that had the size and safety Americans want and that got 50 mpg, that manufacturer would have the car-buying public beating a path to its door. Every car company would love to be the one to corner that market—but it is not easy, it probably won’t be possible, and it surely won’t be cheap.

When the new standards were introduced in November 2011, Edmonds.com did an analysis of the potential impact: 6 Ways New CAFE Standards Could Affect You. The six points include cost and safety and highlights some concerns that are not obvious at first glance.

Achieving the higher mileage will require new technologies that include, according to Edmunds, “turbochargers and new generations of multispeed automatic transmissions to battery-electric powertrains.” The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency have estimated that the average new car will cost $2,000 extra by 2025 because of the proposed new fuel-efficiency standards.

Additionally, new materials will have to be used, such as the proposed new Ford F-150 made with aluminum, which is predicted to add $1500 over steel to the cost of a new truck. Aluminum also complicates both the manufacturing and repair processes. Edmunds reports: “Insurance costs could rise, both because of the increased cost of cars and the anticipated hike in collision repair costs associated with the greater use of the plastics, lightweight alloys and aluminum necessary for lighter, more fuel-efficient vehicles. (Plastics, lightweight alloys and aluminum are all more difficult than steel to repair.)”

Another concern is safety. “The use of weight-saving materials will not only affect repair costs but could make newer vehicles more susceptible to damage in collisions with older, heavier vehicles, especially SUVs and pickups. Their occupants could be at a safety disadvantage.”
One of the subtle consequences of high mileage vehicles is the probable increase in taxes.

Edmunds points out that lower driving cost may increase wear-and-tear on the nation’s highway system as consumers drive more freely. “Declining gas sales mean a further decrease in already inadequate fuel-tax revenue used to pay for road and infrastructure repair and improvement. … As more untaxed alternative fuels such as compressed natural gas and electricity are used for transportation, fuel tax revenue falls even farther. All of this is likely to lead to calls for a road tax based on miles driven and not the type of fuel used.”
Instead of increasing costs by forcing a higher mpg, a free-market encourages manufacturers to produce the cars the customers want. The Wall Street Journal story on the Ford F-150s points out: “In 2004, as the auto market soared, Ford sold a record 939,511 F-series pickups. That amounted to 5.5% of the entire U.S. vehicle market. But four years later, gas prices rose above $4 a gallon, sales of pickups began tumbling.” Then, consumers wanted small cars with better mileage. I often quote an ad for Hyundai I once saw. As I recall, it said: “It’s not that complicated. If gas costs a lot of money, we’ll produce cars that use less of it.”

In response to an article in US News on the 5.45-mpg CAFE standard, a reader commented: “ALL CAFE regulations should be repealed. Let the market and fuel prices decide what vehicles are purchased. The federal government should not be forcing mileage standards down the throats of the automaker or the consumers. This is still America, right?”

 Develop Renewable Energy Sources
There is nothing inherently wrong with the idea renewable energy. However, the cost factor is one of the biggest problems. When I do radio interviews, people often call in and point out Germany’s renewable energy success story: “The share of renewable electricity in Germany rose from 6% to nearly 25% in only ten years.” While that may be true, it doesn’t address the results: “Rising energy costs are becoming a problem for more and more citizens in Germany. Just from 2008 to 2011 the share of energy-poor households in the Federal Republic jumped from 13.8 to 17 percent.”

Germany has been faced with a potential exodus of industry as a result of its high energy costs. For example, in February, BASF, the world’s biggest chemical maker by sales, announced that for the first time, it “will make the most of its capital investments outside Europe.” According to the Financial Times, Kurt Bock, BASF chief executive explained: “In Europe we have the most expensive energy and we are not prepared to exploit the energy resources we have, such as shale gas.”

Throughout America people are beginning to feel the escalating costs of the forced renewable energy utility companies are required to add as a result of Renewable Portfolio Standards that more than half of the states passed nearly a decade ago.

But the cost is not where I take issue with the DCCC’s inclusion of “Developing renewable energy sources” in its survey. The survey question is about achieving “energy independence.”
In preparation for writing this column, I posted this question on my Facebook page: If the goal is “energy independence,” what issues should be a priority in America? The first answer posted was: “Smart grid and fast ramp natural gas turbines.” Another offered: “High efficiency appliances and lights. I am a LED FAN!” Yet, another: “Solar, tidal, water.” Bzzzzzzt, all wrong answers.

All of the above suggestions are about electricity. The U.S. is already electricity independent. We have enough coal and uranium under our soil to provide for our electrical needs for the next several centuries. Add to that America’s newfound abundance of natural gas and we are set indefinitely. By the time we might run out of fuel for electricity, new technologies will have been developed based on something totally different, and, I believe, something that no one is even thinking about today.

Developing more “solar, tidal, water” or wind energy won’t “help America achieve energy independence.” Nor will a smart grid or natural gas turbines. High efficiency appliances or LED light bulbs won’t either.

 Encouraging consumer and industrial conservation
Consumers are already feeling the pinch of higher energy costs—both electricity and liquid fuels. When possible, people are restricting driving by taking a stay-cation rather than a traditional vacation. Many people who can afford the option are switching to more energy-efficient light bulbs.

As the BASF story above makes clear, most industry is energy intensive. In the story about the Ford F-150’s use of aluminum, the WSJ says that the new manufacturing process requires “powerful and electricity-hungry vacuums.” Industry cannot stay in business without profit. Therefore, in interest of preservation, energy conservation is virtually an instinct.
The cost of energy drives conservation.

Including this question in the survey is a red herring that would lead the respondent to think conservation is a big issue.

 Investing in energy efficient technology
When the word “investing” is used in reference to a government document or program, it always means spending taxpayer dollars. In a time of ongoing economic stress, we don’t need to borrow more money to spend it on something of questionable impact on energy independence.

Remember, much of the “efficiency” numbers bandied about refer to electricity, which has nothing to do with energy independence. Energy.gov states: “Every year, much of the energy the U.S. consumes is wasted through transmission, heat loss and inefficient technology…Energy efficiency is one of the easiest and most cost effective ways to … improve the competitiveness of our businesses and reduce energy costs for consumers. The Department of Energy is working with universities, businesses and the National Labs to develop new, energy-efficient technologies while boosting the efficiency of current technologies on the market.” Among the “solutions” presented on the page are “developing a more efficient air conditioner” and “a new smart sensor developed by NREL researchers that could help commercial buildings save on lighting and ventilation costs.” Nothing is offered that will actually impact energy independence.

 Increasing offshore drilling and oil exploration in wilderness areas
Respondents are discouraged from selecting the one item on the list that could actually lead to “energy independence” by the inclusion of the words “offshore” and “wilderness areas”—as if those are the only places drilling could take place.

Yes, we should increase exploration and drilling—and, while there are risks, it can be, and has been, done safely in offshore and wilderness areas. But there are vast resources available on federal lands that are either locked up or are under a de facto ban due to the slow-walking of drilling permits.

Instead of phrasing the choice “Increasing offshore drilling and oil exploration in wilderness areas,” if the goal is energy independence, the option should have read: “Release America’s vast energy resources by expediting permitting on federal lands.”

~~~

While the options on the DCCC survey, even if a respondent checked them all, will do little to “help America achieve energy independence,” the survey didn’t include any choices that could really make a difference in America’s reliance on oil from hostile sources.

Some selections that would indicate a true desire to see America freed from OPEC’s grip should include:
 Approving the Keystone pipeline;
 Revising the Endangered Species Act so that it isn’t used to block American Energy Development;
 Encouraging the use of Compressed Natural Gas as a transportation fuel in passenger vehicles and commercial trucks;
 Expediting permitting for exploration and drilling on federal lands;
 Opening up the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge; and
 Cutting red tape and duplicative regulations to encourage development.

The fact that not one of these options that would truly make a difference was included belies the ideology of the Democrat Party. Its goals do not include energy independence. Instead it wants to continue the crony corruption that has become the hallmark of the Obama Administration as evidenced by Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz’s April 2 announcement that: “the department would probably throw open the door for new applications for renewable energy project loan guarantees during the second quarter of this year.”

Like the Ukraine, until there is a change at the top, the U.S. will likely remain dependent on the whims of countries who want to use energy as a weapon of control. The goal should be energy freedom.

The author of Energy Freedom, Marita Noon serves as the executive director for Energy Makes America Great Inc. and the companion educational organization, the Citizens’ Alliance for Responsible Energy (CARE). Together they work to educate the public and influence policy makers regarding energy, its role in freedom, and the American way of life. Combining energy, news, politics, and, the environment through public events, speaking engagements, and media, the organizations’ combined efforts serve as America’s voice for energy.

 

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Marita Noon: Annoying Greenies On The Defense

This week’s column follows my inclination to draw attention to an under addressed issue—buttressing it supporting stories. In Annoying greenies on the defense (attached and pasted-in-below) I start with the 60 Minutes story: “Cleantech Crash” that has the environmental lobby up in arms. I cite several green attacks on the 60 Minutes piece and draw readers to two other very different media features that—while different—add fuel to the fire bigger picture the 60 Minutes story touched on. The 60 minutes story ran at the same time as the NHL playoff game between Green Bay Packers and the San Francisco 49ers so many people missed it.   Please post, pass on and/or personally enjoy Annoying greenies on the defense.Marita Noon, Executive DirectorEnergyMakesAmericaGreat Inc.PO Box 52103, Albuquerque, NM 87181

505.239.8998

PS: I’ll be in Washington DC next week. If you are there and we haven’t met, but should, please let me know.

Commentary by Marita Noon

Executive Director, Energy Makes America Great Inc.

Contact: 505.239.8998, marita@responsiblenergy.org

Annoying greenies on the defense

After decades of controlling America’s energy narrative, on January 5, CBS’s 60 Minutes fired a shot that has put the green lobby on the defensive. The next day, two very different media outlets lobbed blows that could represent a new trend; a change of tone in Washington.

60 Minutes

60 Minutes (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The 60 Minutes piece, featuring correspondent Lesley Stahl, aired, perhaps intentionally, at a time when it may have had the lowest possible viewership, as it aired opposite the NFL playoff game between the Green Bay Packers and the San Francisco 49ers. You may have missed it. But environmental/renewable-energy believers took the hit—and they are pushing back.

Stahl opened “The cleantech crash” with:

“About a decade ago, the smart people who funded the Internet turned their attention to the energy sector, rallying tech engineers to invent ways to get us off fossil fuels, devise powerful solar panels, clean cars, and futuristic batteries. The idea got a catchy name: ‘Cleantech.’ Silicon Valley got Washington excited about it. President Bush was an early supporter, but the federal purse strings truly loosened under President Obama. Hoping to create innovation and jobs, he committed north of a $100 billion in loans, grants and tax breaks to Cleantech. But instead of breakthroughs, the sector suffered a string of expensive tax-funded flops. Suddenly Cleantech was a dirty word.”

Midway through the segment, Stahl states: “Well, Solyndra went through over half a billion dollars before it failed. Then I’m gonna give you a list of other failures: Abound Energy, Beacon Power, Fisker, V.P.G., Range Fuels, Ener1, A123. ECOtality. I’m exhausted.”

Regarding Stahl’s list, Bruce Barcott, “who writes frequently about the outdoors and the environment,” in a rant for OnEarth Magazine about the 60 Minutes segment, asks: “Where was the evidence of cleantech’s crash in the ‘60 Minutes’ report?” He continues: “It seemed to boil down to the fact that Solyndra, Fisker, LG Chem, and five other clean tech companies went bankrupt. All true.”

Perhaps, to Barcott, eight bankrupt companies do not offer enough “evidence” to write green energy’s obit. How much would he need?

If Stahl had read the entire list of Obama-backed taxpayer-funded green-energy projects that have gone bust—let alone those that are circling the drain, she would have truly been fatigued. Together with researcher Christine Lakatos, I’ve been following the foibles for the past eighteen months. Our bankrupt list (updated May 2013) includes 25—17 more than Stahl cited (and there have been new failures since then).

Calling the “cleantech crash” segment a “hit piece,” Barcott claims: “the evidence of success is overwhelming.”

In the National Journal’s daily energy newsletter, “Energy Edge,” Amy Harder agrees with Barcott: “The story did not give much credence to successful renewable-energy ventures or to a major impetus for clean energy, which is global warming (as opposed to just job creation).” She adds: “Nonetheless, the report reminds green-energy advocates that Solyndra’s shadow is not nearly gone.”

For RenewableEnergyWorld.com, Scott Sklar, a DC lobbyist for clean, distributed-energy users and companies using renewable energy, claims: “In reality, clean energy has never looked better.” He called the 60 Minutes segment a “bash fest” and suggested: it “seemed like it was co-written by the Koch Brothers.”

For the National Journal, Ben Geman wrote: “Green-Energy Battle Flares Over ‘60 Minutes’ Report.” He concludes: “The report and the response are the latest thrust and parry over White House backing for green-energy projects that have faced heavy GOP criticism. The Energy Department—which Stahl said declined to grant her an interview—hit back on Sunday night. The department has for years noted that failed or badly struggling companies represent only a very small portion of the overall green-energy loan portfolio. ‘Simply put, 60 Minutes is flat wrong on the facts. The clean-energy economy in America is real, and we are more competitive than ever in this rapidly expanding global industry. This is a race we can, must, and will win,’ spokesman William Gibbons said in a statement.”

Ironically, while the believers busily “hit back,” the news tells a different story.

One of the projects featured by 60 minutes is KiOR—a Columbus, Mississippi, plant that turns wood products into gasoline, diesel, and fuel oil funded in part by venture capitalist Vinod Khosla—has shut down in a “cost-cutting move.” A January 9 report states: “the debate in Washington in changing alternative fuel standards drove down prices so low that the company couldn’t afford to continue production for now until it can get efficiencies to the point where it is producing at least 80 gallons of fuel for every ton of wood.” Even if Khosla’s KiOR is able to improve efficiencies to “80 gallons of fuel for every ton of wood”—which would be about four times the current production—that is still a terrible return. (Incidentally, Khosla started the bankrupt Range Fuels that was mentioned by Lesley Stahl in her brief list of failed “cleantech” programs.)

Robert Rapier, also featured in the 60 Minutes segment—which focused primarily on biofuels—reported on the Department of Energy’s follow up audit for Financial Assistance for Integrated Biorefinery Projects. Among his “results,” Rapier states: “40 percent of the demonstration-scale and commercial-scale projects selected from the FOAs [Funding Opportunity Announcements] were mutually terminated by the DOE and the recipients after expending more than $75 million in taxpayer dollars.” He cites the audit: “Program officials acknowledged the projects selected were not fully ready for commercial-scale operations and that the projects were high-risk. However, they indicated that the EPAct required them to move forward with commercial-scale projects…” Rapier concludes: “I think the lesson here is that political wishes continue to trump scientific realities, and taxpayers are left to pay the bills. … If only our political leaders understood that you can’t mandate technical breakthroughs, even if you require money to be spent trying to do so.”

Hardly the “overwhelming success” 60 Minutes’ detractors proclaim.

Barcott defends use of taxpayer money to support “emerging technologies” and acknowledges that “asking hard questions about if and when we should cut off that support” is, well, “hard.”

All of this “thrust and parry” is taking place during the time Congress is considering retroactively extending various tax breaks for cleantech projects—such as the Production Tax Credit for wind energy that expired on December 31, 2013. Amid the blows fired upon the renewable energy industry this past week, The Chicago Tribune (hardly a defender of right-wing policies) piled on with a January 5 op-ed encouraging “Congress and the White House to stop manipulating the tax code as America’s de facto energy policy: Thorough federal tax reform should sunset this arbitrary favoritism for wind energy and other politically favored industries.”

The other lobs, from CNBC and Fox News, landed on January 6.

CNBC’s Kudlow Report featured a “what happened to global warming” segment in which Larry Kudlow scoffs at the “all wrong” predictions that have now “come unglued.” His guest, Steve Hayward—a visiting professor at the University of Colorado, Boulder—stated: “Global warming is going away” like so many other scares before it. Hayward claimed that environmental crises follow a pattern: “Find a problem and blow it up into a world-ending crisis and demand endless political solutions.” Yucking it up, they laughed at the “sheer comedy of the ship getting stuck in the ice in Antarctica,” calling it “an eco-tourism stunt that backfired badly.”

On Fox Business, Stuart Varney’s “Stuart Says” feature was: “Annoying greenies influence policy that hurts U.S.” In his 2-minute-18-second monologue, Varney suggests that we “respond to this climate change demagoguery with ridicule. Frankly, the global warming crowd now looks ridiculous. People are laughing at them.”

Yes, the “annoying greenies” are on the defense—and, as the Green Bay players on that cold January 5 in Wisconsin knew, you can’t win on the defense.

The author of Energy Freedom, Marita Noon serves as the executive director for Energy Makes America Great Inc. and the companion educational organization, the Citizens’ Alliance for Responsible Energy (CARE). Together they work to educate the public and influence policy makers regarding energy, its role in freedom, and the American way of life. Combining energy, news, politics, and, the environment through public events, speaking engagements, and media, the organizations’ combined efforts serve as America’s voice for energy.

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Another PRC Meeting: For Or Against The Public Good

Jim and Donna Crawford spend a lot of time attending state regulatory hearings in order to present some understanding and common sense to the ordinary citizen.  As you will see, if you don’t already know, both Jim and Donna are able to cut through the wall of bull butter erected by the extreme “enviros.”

Here’s the latest slice and dice presented by the Crawfords.  If you see them, please give them a handshake and a word or two of appreciation for their work.

Notes PRC Hearing – September 10, 2013

Old PERA Building Santa Fe New Mexico

By Jim Crawford

We attended a PRC hearing September 10, 2013 at the Old PERA Building, Santa Fe, NM. All board members except for Teresa Becenti-Aguilar were present.

Brief Summary: The main hearing topic was to gather public oral comments on a proposed revision to the PRC’s renewable energy diversity requirement and reasonable cost threshold. The NM legislature passed the NM Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) in 2007 which requires electric utilities to provide ever increasing percentages of their electric generation via renewable energy sources. The ultimate goal is 20% renewable by the year 2020. The original legislature action required a “diverse” mix of renewable sources. That was not good enough for the green crowd on the PRC at the time and they took the RPS one step further and specifically defined percentages of each renewable energy source that had to be produced (mini-RPS). This was an added cost burden to rate payers since much of the electric utilities’ flexibility to use the most cost effect way to meet the RPS was eliminated by the mini-RPS within the RPS. PRC is proposing to eliminate the diversity rule.

RPS legislation also established that electric utilities only had to produce renewable electricity up to a reasonable cost threshold (RCT). Some of the utilities were hitting the RCT before achieving the RPS required percentages for renewable electricity. Of course that did not sit well with the green crowd and there has been a strong push to raise the RCT and include a lot of hypothetical cost data like avoided costs of building power plants 50 years down the road, etc. instead of relying on actual measurable cost data like present fuel savings, etc. The PRC proposed two alternatives for calculating the RTC.

The RPS also allows electric utilities to purchase renewable energy certificates (REC) to meet their required renewable percentages. If a utility is exceeding their required percentages they can sell the excess in the form of REC’s to one that is struggling to meet the percentages. Of course the greenies are adamantly opposed to that flexibility. PRC proposed no change in REC rules.

OOB Observations, Opinions, and Barbs:

  • Management of this hearing was the worst I have ever witnessed even counting some of the Valencia County Commission debacles.
  • The hearing was originally scheduled for the tiny PRC chambers. I wondered why they did not schedule it for the big Apodaca Auditorium since I knew the rabid green crowd would be out in force. It was a home game in Santa Fe. We got there very early and the room was nearly full. The lines to sign in filled the length of the hallway. Chairman Hall finally came in a few minutes before the scheduled 0830 start time and said the hearing was being moved to Apodaca Auditorium downstairs and begin around 0900. We all trooped down stairs. The PRC should have known there would be a big green turn out.
  • There were about 42 speakers and all but 3 (Donna, Marita Noon, and John Clemma) were radical environmentalists opposed to the proposed changes. A big proportion of those were owners, workers for, or lobbyists for solar companies as well as well-to-do owners of existing home solar installations already reaping the benefits of tax payer and rate payer subsidies. They know that solar cannot compete on any free market level and view elimination of the diversity requirement as the death knell for solar. They think that wind will dominate if a certain amount of solar is not dictated by big brother.
  • After the first environmental evangelist spoke, the room erupted in loud clapping cheering and sign waving. One would have thought we were at a Lobo game and a home touchdown had just been scored. The hooting, clapping, and hollering continued after every environmental evangelist gave their sermon. I have never attended a hearing where this was allowed without the hearing officer clearing the room. After the first few outbursts, Hearing Officer Hall made a meek under his breath announcement about not demonstrating which no one could hear over the commotion. That was it. There was no further attempt to maintain order and decorum. The outbursts continued on after every evangelist said their amen’s.
  • The rule was each speaker could have 3 minutes and could only speak if they had not previously submitted written comments. Surprisingly PRC did have someone monitoring a list of folks that had submitted written comments. The rule was only selectively applied. The most egregious violation was by Camilla Feiberman from the Sierra Club. The monitor challenged her on the fact the hundreds of written comments had been submitted on behalf of the Sierra Club. The fight was then on with Camilla arguing those people did not represent the Sierra Club even though their form letter actually said so. She then tried to agitate the crowd to stand if they did not like what PRC is proposing. That brought a huge outburst and Hall then relented and let her speak. She ended up occupying over 6 minutes. At least 11 other speakers went well over the 3 minute limit including Steven Michael who went on for nearly 4 minutes. Donna and Marita were forcefully asked to stop when they hit the 3 minutes and not allowed to finish their few last sentences. After Camilla established the precedent, several other people claimed their previous written comments did not count and they were also allowed to present oral comments anyway. One guy even said he was speaking for another person in the audience even though he had just spoken previously! The green elites definitely have elitist status with PRC.
  • Other than the big contingent of folks with direct interest in the solar business, the main arguments were the usual evangelistic comments preaching Armageddon from their anti-fossil fuel pulpit to the extreme detriment to us average electric rate payers. We heard the usual tripe about the early demise of the planet, Indian kids dying from asthma, raping the earth, free solar energy, phony “green” jobs, drought, forest fires, species extinctions, save the kids and grandkids, save the birds, IPCC is the proven gospel, effects of fracking, etc. that will occur if PRC approves the proposed changes.
  • We even learned from Athena that 1 hour of sun light will supply all the energy needs of all of humanity on the planet for a whole year. Wow! That should convince us all that we need no other energy but solar for sure.
  • We had one fellow that builds electric cars but recognizes that his products are really coal fired cars. He lamented that more solar was needed so that his cars would not be dependent on coal for charging. I guess that would work if you only drove at night so you could charge your car during the sun light hours.
  • The rainbows, butterflies, and fairy dust crowd is certifiably nuts.

I did not make any oral comments since I had sent in written comments. I didn’t think it was right to claim someone else with the same name had submitted them like a couple of the folks had claimed. I guess only us conservative folks like to follow the rules. My written comments follow:

I support the proposed rule changes.

In the first place, the Resource Portfolio Standard itself is a terrible piece of legislation.  It is an affront to any concept of free enterprise.  It dictates (crams down our throats)  an arbitrary level of inefficient, ineffective, unreliable renewable energy production that will cost us rate payers over two billion dollars by the year 2020 and yield only insignificant “feel good” environmental benefits.   It creates a false market for solar, wind and other renewable energy sources that is not feasible or sustainable without government intervention.

The PRC then added insult to injury and piled on the diversity requirement which further eroded our utility companies’ ability to make free market economic choices about the most effective way to meet the evil RPS standards.   Your proposal to eliminate the diversity standard is a breath of fresh air and a step in the right direction to reduce the insanity caused by the RPS.  The best solution would be a complete repeal of RPS.  However, as long as the RPS stays in effect, it makes sense to at least allow the utilities to meet the required percentages in the most cost effective way possible by eliminating the diversity requirement.   However, if the diversity requirement is eliminated, it is imperative that all sunk costs incurred prior to repeal be allowed in future rate cases.   As a rate payer, I think that is the very least you can do.

The changes to the plan year revenue requirements for RCT purposes are not clear.   The requirement needs to be based on clear and measurable actual costs and revenues.  Plan year revenues should not be based on hypothetical out-year costs or benefits that may or may not materialize.  Alternative Option C seems to be a more comprehensive accounting of both plus and minus revenues and costs.  However, it is certainly more complicated and as such would result in more disputes over interpretation.  So perhaps the simpler version is preferable as long as all actual cost and benefits can be identified and included.  Either option must include any sunk costs for compliance with diversity before it is/was repealed as noted above.

Following are Donna’s oral comments:

I am curious to know who is representing the ratepayer and taxpayer on this issue of RCT and Diversity. It certainly is not the Sierra Club, the Western Resource Advocates, the New Energy Economy, the Coalition for Clean Affordable Energy, and all the other radical environmentalists who press to further their green agenda , no matter what it costs. Their mantra is that the end justifies the means. Most of these groups have lobbyists who live in Santa Fe and are constantly pounding away at the legislature, the PRC, PNM, and all the other utilities. But who is speaking for the ratepayers and taxpayers?

I would like to be that ratepayer voice with a big message: I support the proposed rule changes to Case 13-00152 UT. Actually, the change I would like to see is to repeal the Renewable Portfolio Standard. The RPS is a political statement , a knee-jerk reaction to the political “soup du jour” during the Richardson Administration. Never mind that it is one of the most costly, ineffective pieces of legislation ever concocted in this state. It does not promote free enterprise and dictates arbitrary, inefficient, unreliable renewable energy production goals. It should be noted that this year six states legislatures introduced bills for repealing renewable energy standards due to the additional cost burden on ratepayers (North Carolina, Kansas, Wisconsin, W. Virginia, Minnesota and Texas). According to the study by the American Tradition Institute and Rio Grande Foundation, RPS will cost ratepayers over $2 Billion by 2020, with only insignificant “feel good” environmental benefits. Does anybody pay attention to these studies?

The Diversification requirement only added insult to injury and prevented utility companies from making free market economic choices about the best way to meet the RPS standards. Eliminating the Diversity requirement is a step in the right direction. However, if the DR is eliminated, it is imperative that all costs already incurred prior to elimination be allowed in future rate cases.

As to the Reasonable Cost Threshold, it is important that utilities be allowed to recover ALL costs associated with renewable energy production. There should be no attempt to determine phony future savings and that do not have an immediate impact on customers’ bills. Renewable energy requires back up generation to cover those times when the renewable source is not producing, and that’s the cost that proponents of renewables don’t want exposed. The Renewable Energy Rider on customers’ bills should reflect ALL renewable costs to be fair to the ratepayer rather than being hidden under some rule or regulation. The above mentioned environmentalists would scream about this because they don’t want citizens and ratepayers to know the true cost of renewable energy.

Somebody has to be the voice of reason and I certainly hope that it is you, the members of the PRC.

Marita cautioned PRC about heeding the faddish politics of climate change and John echoed Donna’s concerns about costs, economic factors, and land use impacts.

Marita Noon: Higher Energy Prices are Coming, Energy Shortages Are Coming

articleHigher energy prices are coming, energy shortages are coming

Marita Noon

“Once real numbers have come out about renewable energy costs, people are having second thoughts,” reported Maureen Masten, Deputy Secretary of Natural Resources and Senior Advisor on Energy to Governor Bob McDonnell, VA, while addressing his “all of the above energy” strategy to meet the state’s energy needs.

The real costs of renewable energy are coming out–both in dollars and daily impacts. After years of hearing about “free” energy from the sun and wind, people are discovering that they’ve been lied to.

On Tuesday, August 14, the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission (PRC) approved a new renewable energy rate rider that will allow the Public Service Company of New Mexico (PNM) to start recovering a portion of its recent development costs for building five solar facilities around the state, a pilot solar facility with battery storage, and wind resource procurements. The renewable rider could be on ratepayers’ bills by the end of the month–“depending on when the commission publishes its final order,” said PNM spokeswoman Susan Spooner.

The rate rider currently represents about a $1.34 increase for an average residence using 600 kilowatt hours of electricity per month–or a little more than $16 per year. This increase seems miniscule until you realize that this is only a small part of increases to come. PNM needs to recover $18.29 million in renewable expenditures in 2012 and the rate rider only addresses monies spent in the last four to five months. The remaining expense will be carried into 2013.

Like more than half of the states in the US, New Mexico has a Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) that mandates public utilities have set percentages of their electricity from renewable sources. In New Mexico the mandate is 10 percent this year, 15 percent by 2015 and 20 percent by 2020. Most states–with the exception of California (which is 33 percent by 2020)–have similar benchmarks. To meet the mandates, PNM will need considerably more renewable energy with dramatically more expense–all of which ultimately gets passed on to the customer. PNM acknowledges that the rider will increase next year and predicts the total cost recovery for 2013 to be about $23 million. By 2020, based on the current numbers of approximately $20 million a year invested, resulting in a $24 a year increase, consumers’ bills will go up about $200 a year just for the additional cost of inefficient renewable energy.

Had the PRC not approved the special rate rider, costs would be even higher. Typically rate increases are only approved at periodic rate case hearings, usually held every few years. The system of only allowing rate increases after a lengthy hearing, keeps the costs hidden from the consumer for longer but increases costs to the utility and, ultimately, the consumer, due to interest charges on the borrowed money. PNM believes the rider will allow for more “timely recovery of costs,” resulting in a $2.7 million savings.

Environmental groups, who’ve been pushing for the renewable energy increases, opposed the special renewable rate rider and have threatened a potential appeal of the PRC’s decision. It is hard to tout “free” energy when there is a special line on the utility bill that clearly points out the new charge for renewables.

Pat Lyons, Chairman of the Public Regulation Commission, told me that he’d pushed for a year and a half to get the rate rider listed on utility bills: “With the support of the commissioners, ratepayers will now have transparency. This is the first step toward full disclosure regarding the real cost of renewables. Once we have that, maybe we can let the free market work.”

So, renewable electricity is hardly free. It also isn’t there when you need it–like in the predictable summer heat of California.

To meet their 33 percent renewable mandate, California’s utility companies, like New Mexico, have been installing commercial renewable electricity facilities–with wind capable of providing about 6 percent, and solar 2 percent, of the state’s electric demand. But in the summer heat, the wind doesn’t blow much and the solar capacity drops by about 50 percent when the demand is the highest.

Despite increasing renewable capacity and an exodus of the population, California has been facing threats of rolling brown/blackouts due to potential shortages. TV and radio ads blanket the air waves begging consumers to limit electricity usage by setting their air conditioners at 78 degrees and using household appliances only after 6PM. “Flex Alerts” have been issued stating: “conservation remains critical.” “Consumers are urged to reduce energy use,” “California ISO balances high demand for electricity with tight power supplies” and “maintain grid reliability.”

Even with expedited permitting, California cannot build renewable electricity generation fast enough. Environmentalists block construction due to species habitat, such as that of the desert tortoise or the kit fox. If they oppose renewable energy construction, you can imagine the vitriol they extend toward coal, natural gas, and nuclear. There is a big push to shut down nuclear power plants and new natural-gas plants, which are ideal for meeting the needs of “peak demand,”are fought by the very same groups that are pushing electric cars.

San Diego-based, nationally syndicated radio talk show host Roger Hedgecock observed: “Right at the moment in California, building new electricity generating power plants of any kind is politically taboo. Electricity itself is becoming politically taboo.”

Texas has been faced with both increasing costs and fears of shortages. “Concerned about adequate electricity supplies,” the Texas Public Utility Commission recently voted to allow electricity generators to charge up to 50 percent more for wholesale power. The increase is to encourage the building of new power plants in the state with the highest capacity in the country for wind electricity generation.

Apparently new electricity-generating power plants are politically taboo in Texas, too–at least within the environmental community. Instead of encouraging new power plants to be built, Ken Kramer, the Texas head of the Sierra Club, said, “A better idea would be to encourage more energy-saving programs”–perhaps like setting the thermostat to 78 degrees and not turning on appliances until after 6PM.

When will Americans revolt over being forced to use less while paying more?

We know that high energy prices are just the beginning of inflation that raises the cost of everything from food to clothing to manufactured goods. When the cost of manufacturing goes up, industry moves to countries with lower-priced energy, cheaper labor, and more reasonable regulations. Jobs go overseas and we import more. The trade deficit grows, and America is less competitive.

The higher electricity costs are 100 percent due to government regulation and legislation that are unreasonably crushing American businesses and ratepayers–much like the pressure England imposed on the American colonies that launched the American Revolution.

Paul Revere alerted the early settlers–“the Red Coats are coming, the Red Coats are coming”–which brought people into the town square where they joined forces and rallied together. Their cooperative effort was so effective that those early Americans made it so painful for the Red Coats that they abandoned their objective.

People who hear me speak often describe me as the Ann Coulter of energy. Due to the childhood nickname of “Bunny,” my family refers to me as the Energizer Bunny. But today, I feel like the Paul Revere of energy: “Higher energy prices are coming. Energy shortages are coming.”

What remains to be seen is how the citizens of America will respond. Will we gather in the figurative town square and join forces, making it too painful for the use-less, pay-more agenda to continue? Will we force state legislators to abandon the RPS? Will we rally together in opposition to the EPA’s cost-increasing regulations? Will we turn out a president who is more concerned with lining his cronies’ pockets than doing what is best for Americans?

Unless the publicly-inflicted pain forces the abandonment of the objective, “Higher energy prices are coming. Energy shortages are coming.”

The author of Energy Freedom, Marita Noon serves as the executive director for Energy Makes America Great Inc. and the companion educational organization, the Citizens’ Alliance for Responsible Energy (CARE).Together they work to educate the public and influence policy makers regarding energy, its role in freedom, and the American way of life. Combining energy, news, politics, and, the environment through public events, speaking engagements, and media, the organizations’ combined efforts serve as America’s voice for energy.

Marita Noon: Wind Energy: The Wheels are Coming Off The Gravy Train

WE HAVE PERMISSION TO POST MS. NOON’S WORK.  WE HIGHLY RECOMMEND THIS COLUMN AND HER OTHER WORK.

2011 Media Alert Banner

Wind Energy: the wheels are coming off the gravy train 

Marita Noon

The wind energy industry has been having a hard time. The taxpayer funding that has kept it alive for the last twenty years is coming to an end, and those promoting the industry are panicking.

Perhaps this current wave started when one of wind energy’s most noted supporters, T. Boone Pickens, “Mr. Wind,” in an April 12 interview on MSNBC said, “I’m in the wind business…I lost my ass in the business.”

The industry’s fortunes didn’t get any better when on May 4, the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) wrote an editorial titled, “Gouged by the wind,” in which they stated: “With natural gases not far from $2 per million BTU, the competitiveness of wind power is highly suspect.” Citing a study on renewable energy mandates, the WSJ says: “The states with mandates paid 31.9% more for electricity than states without them.”

Then, last week the Financial Times did a comprehensive story: “US Renewables boom could turn into a bust” in which they predict the “enthusiasm for renewables” … “could fizzle out.” The article says: “US industry is stalling and may be about to go into reverse. …Governments all over the world have been curbing support for renewable energy.”

Michael Liebreich of the research firm Bloomberg New Energy Finance says: “With a financially stressed electorate, it’s really hard to go to them and say: ‘Gas is cheap, but we’ve decided to build wind farms for no good reason that we can articulate.'” Christopher Blansett, who is a top analyst in the alternative-energy sector in the Best on the Street survey, says, “People want cheap energy. They don’t necessarily want clean energy.”

It all boils down to a production tax credit (PTC) that is set to expire at the end 2012. Four attempts to get it extended have already been beaten back so far this year–and we are only in the fifth month. The Financial Times reports: “Time-limited subsidy programmes…face an uphill battle. The biggest to expire this year is the production tax credit for onshore wind power, the most important factor behind the fourfold expansion of US wind generation since 2006. Recent attempts in Congress to extend it have failed.”

According to the WSJ, “The industry is launching into a lobbying blitz.” The “2012 Strategy” from the American Wind Energy Association includes:

  • “To maximize WindPAC’s influence, WindPAC will increase the number of fundraisers we hold for Members of Congress.”
  • “Continue the Iowa caucus program to ensure the successful implanting of a pro-wind message into the Republican presidential primary campaign.”
  • “Respond quickly to unfavorable articles by posting comments online, using the AWEA blog and twitter, and putting out press releases.”
  • “Continue to advocate for long term extension of PTC and ITC option for offshore wind.”
  • “AWEA requested a funding level of $144.2 million for FY 2012 for the Department of Energy (DOE) Wind Energy Program, an increase of $17.3 million above the President’s Congressional budget request.”

A wind turbine manufacturer quoted in the Financial Times article says, “If the PTC just disappears, then the industry will collapse.” Regarding United Technologies plans to sell its wind turbine business, chief financial officer Greg Hayes admitted: “We all make mistakes.”

Despite twenty years of taxpayer funding, according to the Financial Times, “Most of these technologies are unable to stand on their own commercially, particularly in competition with a resurgent natural gas industry that has created a supply glut and driven prices to 10-year lows.” The WSJ opines: “the tax subsidy has sustained the industry on a scale that wouldn’t have been possible if they had to follow the same rules as everyone else.” A level playing field would mean that wind developers would lose the exemptions from environmental and economic laws.

It is the fear of having to play by “the same rules as everyone else”–like the free market does–that must have propelled the anti-fossil fuel Checks and Balances Project to dig deep to unearth a “confidential” document. The brainstorming document was designed to trigger conversation during an initial meeting of grassroots folks with a common goal–the document’s author didn’t even join us and his ideas received little attention. The meeting was February 1 and 2. I was there. But suddenly, on May 8, our little meeting is in the news.

Many of us who were at the meeting received calls from a variety of publications including The National Journal, The Washington Times and Bloomberg News--none of whom ran with the story (after talking to a number of us, the Bloomberg reporter concluded “I don’t think we’re writing a story about this”)–and The Guardian who did. The Guardian story was picked up and expanded on in Environment & Energy (the reporter did talk to several of us), HuffPost, Tree Hugger, Think Progress’ Climate Progress, and others. (Note: Climate Progress and Tree Hugger remove any comment in opposition to wind energy as soon as it is posted.) High Country News has apparently done an original story trigged by the Checks and Balances press release. From these sources, some form of the story is all over the Internet.

The wind energy industry panic explains the sudden interest, but why our little group?

Washington Examiner columnist, Timothy Carney, provides the answer: “AWEA plans ‘continued deployment of opposition research through third parties to cause critics to have to respond,’ the battle plan states. In other words: When people attack AWEA’s subsidies, AWEA might feed an unflattering story on that person to some ideological or partisan media outlet or activist group.” We are the people who have attacked the subsidies and AWEA has, through a “third party” fed “an unflattering story” to a “partisan media outlet.” Our collaborative actions have helped block the PTC extension efforts.

A common thread in the news stories is that we are really an oil-and-gas funded entity. They’ve tied us to the Koch Brothers. We all wish. Apparently they can’t believe that individuals and local groups can think for themselves and impact public policy without a puppet master telling us what to do and say.

In fact, the group has no funding. As we began to email back and forth over the sudden reporter interest, one meeting attendee quipped: “My trip was funded, in part, by MY brother, Paul, who donated frequent flyer miles for my trip. I can assure you that my brother is not part of the Koch family. I paid for the rest of the trip out of my own pocket.” Yet, the reporters seemed determined to find a funding link. I told the Bloomberg reporter that we each paid our own way, that the meeting was held in a budget hotel outside of DC (unlike the AWEA meeting held at the prestigious La Costa Resort & Spa in Carlsbad, CA), and that we each had to pay for our own transportation, food, and lodging. My comments never made it into print. In the spirit of full disclosure, I am the executive director of companion organizations that do receive funding from oil and gas companies and individual donors. But I, like the others, was invited as an individual, not as a member of any organization.

Additionally, we are not even a formal group. We met to consider forming a group. The “leaked” memo, addresses finding a group that might absorb us, affiliate with us, or align with us.

Attendees brought their individual issues, observations, and successes. Each had valid insights to contribute. Some viewed health impacts as the most important ammunition. Others, economics. Some, setbacks or bird deaths or land use. Others, including the meeting’s organizer, John Droz, believe that the science–or lack thereof, is the best weapon. There are so many reasons to oppose wind that come down to government use of taxpayer money to support something that raises electricity prices based on the failed concept of man-made global warming. As a result of the meeting, we now know we are not alone, and we can call on one another for insight and advice.

We owe a debt of gratitude to Gabe Elsner, a co-director of the Checks and Balances Project. Without his discovery and subsequent exposure of the “document,” we’d still be just loosely affiliated individuals and small citizens’ groups. The attack has emboldened us and helped others find us! A representative from the Blue Mountain Alliance sent Droz an email stating: “I probably need to send them a thank you note for leading me to you and your efforts.”

After the murmurings became known, one of the meeting attendees, Paul Driessen, wrote a detailed and data-filled column, “Why we need to terminate Big Wind subsidies,” which has garnered more than 700 Facebook “likes” on Townhall.com. (To give perspective, I am pleased if I get 50 “likes.” Each “like” generally represents thousands of readers.) In just a few days, his column is all over the Internet.

Wind energy has more opposition than most people realize, and Elsner, who has served as the “third party” in the AWEA strategy, has allowed us to find one another. While a few attendees at the DC meeting were concerned about all the publicity, attorney Brad Tupi, who has represented citizens victimized by wind energy projects, responded: “I would plead guilty to participating in a meeting of concerned citizens opposed to wasteful, unproven, inefficient wind energy. I would agree that we are interested in coordinating with other reputable organizations, and I personally would be honored to work with Heartland Institute and others.”

If you do not support industrial, tax-payer-funded, wind-energy projects that are promoted based on ideology and emotion rather than facts and sound science, you can benefit from our affiliation. Droz has a wonderful presentation full of helpful information. A few of the websites from the meeting attendees include: Illinois Wind Watch, Coalition for Sensible Siting, Energy Integrity Project, and Citizen Power Alliance.

The lesson to be learned from the attack on these hard-working citizens is that the little people can make a difference! We’ve got the subsidy-seeking, wind-energy supporters running scared–along with the crony capitalism that accompanies them. Remember, “If the PTC just disappears”–meaning if we do not keep giving them taxpayer dollars–“then the industry will collapse.” Your phone call or email to a Senator or Congressman, such as Steve King or Dave Reichert who recently came out in support of the PTC, can make a difference. Tell them, as the WSJ said, “If the party is serious about tax reform…it will vote to take wind power off the taxpayer dole.”

It is time for the AWEA and the politicians who support the PTC to explain why higher electricity costs, human health impacts, substantial loss of property values in rural communities, dead bats and birds, and increased national debt are good for America and her taxpayers!

The author of Energy Freedom, Marita Noon serves as the executive director for Energy Makes AmericaGreat Inc. and the companion educational organization, the Citizens’ Alliance for Responsible Energy (CARE). Together they work to educate the public and influence policy makers regarding energy, its role in freedom, and the American way of life. Combining energy, news, politics, and, the environment through public events, speaking engagements, and media, the organizations’ combined efforts serve as America’s voice for energy.

New Mexico Watchdog Hunts, Chases & Trees “Squirrelly” Solar

City of Rio Rancho
Image via Wikipedia

By Chuck Ring (GadaboutBlogalot ©2009 – 2010)

Quote Freely From The Article – Leave The Pseudonym Alone

Jim Scarantino, as the New Mexico Watchdog, has hit the ground running and presented New Mexico residents with a nice present.  He reports on potential, if not proven fraud, foisted on New Mexico citizens, and in particular, Rio Rancho citizens.

We posted our comments on the original announcement of a 500 million dollar solar manufacturing facility for Rio Rancho, touted as a top-to-bottom manufacturing concern.

After Mr. Scarantino gnawed on the documents and revelations uncovered by him, it looks as though the solar panels may as well be adobe panels for all the brightness they will furnish through transformation of sunlight to electricity.  The only sunlight in this deal seems to be that shed by Mr. Scarantino

Jim’s story is linked below and we say congratulations on an excellent job.

Company Presenting $500 Million Letter of Credit for Rio Rancho Bonds for Green2V HQ’d in UPS Store in Las Vegas.

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