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A decade ago, the federal Energy Information Administration predicted that the installed capacity of wind turbines in the United States would, at best, reach 20,000 megawatts by 2020. It was one of the EIA's patented underestimates of renewable energy sources. This morning, the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) released its annual report [pdf]. Installed U.S. wind capacity as of December 2009: 35,000 megawatts. Of that, 10,000 megawatts were installed in 2009, the most in U.S. history, and 39% of the total new electricity-generating capacity installed last year, second behind natural gas. Some 3000 megawatts are currently under construction. Wind power now generates 1.8% of all U.S. electricity.

Without grants from the Obama administration's American Recovery and Reinvestment Act – the stimulus package – many of those new turbines now cranking power out to residences and businesses would be sitting in warehouses. And many of the 85,000 Americans employed in the wind industry in all 50 states would be in the unemployment queue.

Fourteen states have now joined the wind power "gigawatt club," that is, at least 1,000 megawatts of installed capacity. In 2008, only seven states could make that claim. In 2005, only two could. The top three? Texas, Iowa, and California. While everybody would expect the two giants to be on that list, Iowa has a bigger claim to fame than either of them. Thanks to far-sighted state policies that saw the state's first big wind farm installed at Storm Lake in 1999 when EIA was downplaying the future of wind, turbine farms and other wind installations now generate 14.2 percent of Iowa's electricity.

But, while the United States has again recaptured the lead in wind-turbine installations, tripled the number of manufacturers who install turbines to 15 in just five years, and managed with the help of the stimulus package to beat expectations during the recession, there are obstacles ahead. These include the need for new and upgraded transmission lines and nimbyism. But the chief stumbling block is the myopic lack of a federal policy that levels the playing field for expansion of wind and other renewable energy.

Needed is a federally mandated "renewable energy standard," an RES. Of all the OECD countries, the United States and Canada are the only ones that don't have an industrial policy that includes RES targets for 2020. All of Europe, Japan, Korea, India and China have set targets. As Sarah Howell, AWEA's vice president for public affairs said at a press conference Thursday, there is an ongoing race between U.S. policies and the policies of other countries when it comes to wind. Remaining competitive in this market will require a different approach in Washington.

Over the years, the failure to establish an RES created a boom-and-bust cycle for wind energy in the United States. Federal production tax credits have been highly beneficial to the industry. But these have had to be renewed by Congress every one or two years. They have sometimes expired, only to be revived at some future date. This has made it impossible for the industry or potential customers to make firm plans. And, even though the modern wind energy industry started in the United States in the 1980s, failure to set a long-term policy meant that other countries, like Denmark and Germany, leaped ahead in manufacturing and installations, respectively. As Denise Bode, CEO of the AWEA says, the wind sector "needs long-term policy certainty and market pull in order to grow."

The myopia that has afflicted U.S. energy policy for three decades had a chance for some correction in 1999 when Secretary of Energy Bill Richardson presented the Comprehensive Electricity Competition Act to Congress. Among other things, this included a federal "renewable portfolio standard" requiring that a certain level of future electricity come from renewable sources, including wind. Congress didn't go for it. Last year, as part of its comprehensive energy bill, the House of Representatives finally approved an RES of 20 percent by 2020. But the Senate is still wrangling with its version.

Last month, the Governors' Wind Energy Coalition, a bipartisan group of chief executives from 29 states, called on Congress to quickly pass an RES. A new study, the Jobs Impact of a National Renewable Electricity Standard, conducted by Navigant Consulting, Inc., found that a 25% by 2025 national RES would generate 274,000 more renewable energy jobs over a no-national RES policy.

Lower carbon emissions, added U.S. manufacturing operations, more jobs and a potential bonanza in exportable products make an RES a no-brainer. But it was a no-brainer in 1999, too, and not enough members of Congress showed they had the brains to make it happen. Is it too much to hope that the Senate shows it's learned something since then?

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Thu Apr 08, 2010 at 03:30 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Speaking of renewable energy (12+ / 0-)

    I have a serious but possibly stupid question:

    Why can't we mandate that all commercial buildings have roof-mounted wind turbines and solar panels? Since moving to Madison, WI a few months ago, my husband and I have seen an increasing number of solar installations and significantly more in place than we've seen anywhere else.

    Why is this so hard?

    GOP Talking Points Hotline: 1-800-WHINE

    by Auntie Neo Kawn on Thu Apr 08, 2010 at 03:37:19 PM PDT

    •  Solar yes (5+ / 0-)

      wind no.  Solar is a quiet generation process.  Whereas wind turbines create noise pollution which, for the largest ones can be a health problem up to a mile and a half away.

      •  No one is going to be installing turbines (6+ / 0-)

        of that size on the roof of a building.

        •  Correct (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          blueyedace2, JML9999, geomoo

          which is why the space is better used for solar.

          •  In areas where there's a favorable profile, (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            JayBat, annieli

            roof mounted turbines will be more effective than solar.

            •  There are some wind turbines (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              shpilk, Billdbq

              that are essentially towers.  I'm sorry I don't know the name of the manufacturer or the model but there is a church in West Des Moines, Iowa, that have them installed on the lawn like sculpture but they generate electricity for the church with the ability to "run the meter backward" if there is excess.

              This is so not Kansas anymore!

              by mkoz on Thu Apr 08, 2010 at 05:52:37 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Some of the larger units are on towers. (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                A Siegel

                Others are built right into the top of the roofline, and use 'squirrel cage' like turbines with deflectors, others use vertical downdrafts to drive generators and produce almost no noise at all.

                Some of the older designs were very heavy, clunky and noisy - I know a friend who had one. But today's technology need not be like that.

              •  Windspire (0+ / 0-)

                Go to MariahPower.com for a look at their verticle-axis Windspire generator.  It can be installed on or near buildings and does not generate noise and does not require the same wind velocity as the windmill type generators.  When I get my American made all-electric car in a year or so, I will buy a Windspire to recharge the car overnight and sell the daytime power back to the local electric company. With the rebate from the electric company, I can recharge the car even if the wind is not blowing.  

        •  I hear the argument that wind turbines (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          beijingbetty, Egalitare, ozsea1, Billdbq

          need to be large to have efficiency.  Something about square or cube of size.  I haven't yet accepted that this means never using smaller ones.  I remember the windmills for pumping water when I was younger.

          It always seem alternative energy is held up to a strict standard of cost effectiveness, whereas nuclear and fossil fuels are treated as foregone conclusions whose economics we just have to deal with.  Meanwhile, projected savings seem to me to lack the imagination to take into account, for example, that we will one day run out of fossil fuels.  Or that we are ruining our planet.  Or that we will need to de-commission those nuclear plants and deal with the poisonous waste.

          Legal chicanery and pitch darkness were the banker's stoutest allies. -1939

          by geomoo on Thu Apr 08, 2010 at 03:58:18 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Yes, solar is quiet (5+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        badger, NYFM, esquimaux, Egalitare, mkoz

        Solar use could really expand with a little push. Every time I see a large roof I start to calculate how many panels could fit on it. There are all these schools nearby that have acres of roof just sitting there. And tons of parking lots that could be covered with solar panels (making them dry on rainy days too).

        With a little incentive, communities could make themselves much more energy self-sufficient.

      •  Especially when the bearings go (0+ / 0-)

        Really high in the air, really noisy. Appalling combo.

        Wonderful adventures in zoning boards ahead. It'd be great if the Public Utilities got in the lead offering leases or service contracts. You don't want to wait a year until your neighbor has collected the funds to repair a suboptimal but functioning unit.

      •  not an either/or proposition n/t (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        shpilk
    •  Commercial R.E. lobbyists (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      blueyedace2, JML9999, annieli

      My Karma just ran over your Dogma

      by FoundingFatherDAR on Thu Apr 08, 2010 at 03:47:28 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Back Yard units (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      MeToo, blueyedace2, geomoo

      total Wattage Could be a lot higher if all the "zoning issues" didn't get in the way of planting 1KW units in residential back yards.

      These things vibrate something fierce and would shake your house apart.

      Afghanistan:Graveyard to empires-It's not just a bumpersticker

      by JML9999 on Thu Apr 08, 2010 at 03:53:29 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  There are some fairly neat designs which (7+ / 0-)

      could be roof mounted. Not sure about wind pollution, but if mounted on the edge of buildings, interfering with solar panels on the roof may not be such a big deal.

      I wrote a diary a while back on this.
      Is the answer really blowing in the wind?
      The vertical turbines interest me as there are also companies integrating solar panels onto the blades.

      Photobucket
      Photobucket
      Photobucket

      Those folks who are trying to get in the way of progress - let me tell you, I'm just getting started. I don't quit. I'm not tired; I'm just getting started.

      by Unenergy on Thu Apr 08, 2010 at 04:16:16 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  All great examples of small scale, (6+ / 0-)

        unobtrusive forms of wind power - I seriously doubt any of these would harm even a bird.  

        If every home and business could take a part of their energy need from sources like this along with solar, geothermal, whatever .. we wouldn't need to build new power plants. It buy us the time needed to develop the next generation of either fusion power, or improve efficiency of existing alternative power sources.

        All the money dumped into propping up coal, oil, gas, and nuclear should be diverted into exactly this type of off grid shift. The power regulation and conditioning electronics to do this are dirt cheap now. We have the technology to do it: we need to help people with the initial costs by way of loans to buy it. It will employ a huge sector of new industry and put people back to work.

      •  Yes, neat! n/t (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        shpilk, beijingbetty, Unenergy

        Okay, the Government says you MUST abort your child. NOW do you get it?

        by Catskill Julie on Thu Apr 08, 2010 at 04:51:29 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Number of things ... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sustainable
      1.  Mandating specific technology as opposed to targets can be counter-productive. Why not require / incentivize local power generation, with some form of crediting based on carbon, rather than telling which is the path that must be done. (For example, combined heat power linking hot water heating with electrical power generation might be more cost effective and lower, total, polluting than separate hot water heating and a renewable energy source.)
      1.  Wind on buildings is a questionable payback.
      1. We should be driving up energy efficiency through building codes. This is far more important, in near term, than relatively minor amounts of renewable power.

      To be clear -- I support solar. Waiting, right now, for installers to come this morning to do work on my rooftop moving my solar hot water so that the solar pv can go up in before the end of the month.

  •  But if government seizes wind... (8+ / 0-)

    ...for power generation, then private industry won't be able to use wind for drying clothes and blowing dandelion seeds and fluttering flags!  Why do Democrats hate our flag?

    When your dream comes true, you're out one dream --The Nields

    by Rich in PA on Thu Apr 08, 2010 at 03:37:40 PM PDT

  •  Need for new transmission lines is symptom (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    blueyedace2, geomoo

    of a couple of problems.
    First- we should be concentrating on using less electricty- not more- that is the "greenest" thing to do.  
    Secondly- power should be generated where it is used- the cities- thus avoiding all the problems of negotiating the "grid".   Unfortunately such thinking currently favors small gas turbine generator- here in NYC ConEd has built dozens of these micro-power plants because under a certain capacity, they are not as heavily regulated and sail through approvals.  We need to work on better renewable power generation in our cities- not in places thousands of miles away.  The landscape will improve in appearance in many ways if we do.  And yes- I am not a wind turbine proponent.

    •  Most major cities have decent wind profiles (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      blueyedace2, geomoo, Jyrinx, Egalitare

      nearby. T Boone Pickens would like us all to think that only West Texas is where there's wind.

      They don't call Chicago the 'Windy City' for nothing.

      Many metro areas are location on coasts, and can take advantage of prevailing on shore and off shore winds that are driven directly by day/night cycles.

    •  A new electricity grid is essential. (7+ / 0-)

      Main transmission lines should be superconductors because we lose huge amounts of energy just transmitting electricity. Our grid also doesn't really spread load very well, fails too often, and is poorly connected to regions that would really be the best for wind-power.

    •  um, actually we just have really bad transmission (0+ / 0-)

      lines. Its why a downed line in Canada can bring down entire regions.

      I guess you are arguing for the end of the grid? If so say so.

      •  The network is shit, it's hobbled together from (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        MeToo, esquimaux, Jyrinx

        all sorts of pieces that have been bludgeoned into place. The existing network is vulnerable to all sorts of issues. Transmission lines are part of that problem.

        All the more reason to develop decentralized energy sources like wind, solar, geothermal when they are most effective.

        Wind and solar can be quite effective across a huge area of the country, without having to transport it great distances. Wind and solar can be scaled down and does not have to be in huge 'farms'. Getting at least part of the load off the larger grid is a huge benefit as this grid is perhaps one of the most vulnerable national security issues we've got.

        •  actually wind becomes more effective spread out (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Calamity Jean

          It's always going to be windy somewhere, the wider area you draw wind power from the less you have to use  the more reliable power sources (eg coal, gas, nuclear).

          It's why you often hear wind power and "smart grid" lines mentioned in the same sentence. This and the fact that the most windy parts of the nation don't have many people.

    •  While I agree that conservation comes... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Jyrinx, Catskill Julie

      ...first, efficiency next, then more production - and I agree that as much power should be generated as close to the end user as possible - there are uses for which this doesn't work. For instance, if we want green power for plug-in vehicles and electricity for high-speed rail, then remote location energy generation is needed. You can do that with solar, geothermal, wind, hydro and nukes. But whatever you use, you will need transmission lines.

      I refuse to accept "no can do" as a proper slogan for progressives.

      by Meteor Blades on Thu Apr 08, 2010 at 04:26:51 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  It would also help if people could buy electricit (0+ / 0-)

      y off-peak, for cheaper rates. People would run washers and dryers at night when there is an excess if it saved them money! And if buildings could also put those clever new wind turbines on roofs, sell the energy to ConEd and reduce the bills for the residents that would also help.

      Lots of small solutions will help with conservation while larger solutions are developed.

      Okay, the Government says you MUST abort your child. NOW do you get it?

      by Catskill Julie on Thu Apr 08, 2010 at 04:49:34 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  site them near things that require a lot of hot (0+ / 0-)

      water.  Laundries, hospitals, etc.  Use the heat that is otherwise wasted.

      They see me trollin'. They hatin' Don't make my high school civics teacher out to be a liar and expect me to like it.

      by obnoxiotheclown on Thu Apr 08, 2010 at 06:22:09 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Why roll the dice with wind (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    NYFM, Joffan

    when we already have nuclear energy that provides 20 percent of our energy needs.

    Even the French get 80 percent.

    •  Why roll the dice with nuclear, when one (5+ / 0-)

      serious accident anywhere on the planet will change public opinion against all fission based power plants and force them to be shut down?

      •  Wind farms (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        damfino

        kill cute birds.

      •  Because nuclear plants provide base load (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        NYFM, mojo workin, Joffan

        ...and wind farms don't, that's why.

        Research into finding ways for wind/solar to provide base load is a very worthy target for federal funding; batteries and water towers don't cut it. :-)

        -Jay-

        •  Yep. When the wind isn't blowing (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          JayBat

          those dice ain't rolling (for wind).

          •  At altitude, the wind ALWAYS blows (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            JayBat

            That is an engineering problem that can be overcome.

            "Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will." -- Frederick Douglass

            by Egalitare on Thu Apr 08, 2010 at 05:10:49 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Maybe, maybe... (0+ / 0-)

              I haven't spent any time recently thinking about tethered generators. It would be tremendous fun working on the control systems, and since the tethers need 2-3 orders of magnitude less strength than space elevator tethers, it might be something that actually could be built.

              I think even most high-altitude generation proponents admit that the arrays probably have to be grounded during thunderstorms, though, but that's still a far better duty cycle than solar or ground-based wind. :-) Thanks!

              -Jay-

          •  Except that the wind is always blowing somewhere. (0+ / 0-)

            Some areas consistently have more wind than others, and if one area has an unusually low-wind day, other areas are likely to be just fine.  

            Electric companies currently run natural gas burning generators if demand is unusually high for a few days or a week.  There's no reason why the electric company can't run the gas generators for a day or two of widespread low wind.  

            Renewable energy brings national security.

            by Calamity Jean on Fri Apr 09, 2010 at 10:33:32 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  that's simply BS, I'm so tired of this false (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Calamity Jean

          argument

          Wind and solar--combined with smart grids and smart distributed generation--ARE baseload power. Sorry to all  you nuke and fossil fuel crazies, but that's the way it is, and that is our energy future....

          •  It is unfortunate (0+ / 0-)

            But the essence of modern economies is that they mix the future with the present in the form of the bond market.  I understand what you are saying.  But the entire fragile economic system is propped up by people who make bets about the future based on what they see around them now.  Those who understand the evolution of technology and what the potential is may find this maddening.  But it is a fact of life.  That is why in part all of these options have to be kept on the table.  You and I may believe that a smart grid will be capable of shifting power from where the wind is blowing to where it is needed whenever necessary and all this is going to happen by the time it is needed.  But if I am going to stake my fortune on the availability of that energy, and I don't really understand the technology, I want a more conventional back up plan.  I want to think that there are simple alternatives that are being considered.  That even though this high tech thing is under development, the primary consideration is that the energy will be there when it is needed.  That is the commitment that I want to see before I am willing to put my fortune to work.  And unless the funds flow into the bond market, the whole damn thing goes down the drain.  

          •  OK, I'll bite (0+ / 0-)

            Wind and solar--combined with smart grids and smart distributed generation--ARE baseload power.

            Talk to me a little bit about what a smart distributed generation system looks like that can heat and light all of northeastern North America when it's cold and dark and the wind isn't blowing (7am in January). I'm absolutely serious, I would like to know what that looks like.

            100MW natural gas turbines scattered all over? Because don't you even start talking about Bloom Boxes or anything like that; they're not within 2 orders of magnitude of the cost/performance they need to be plausible, they're rich kid's toys. Interesting and exciting for 10 years out, but we do not have that kind of time to futz around. We (especially we, Americans) need to reduce CO2 footprint today.

            Thanks for your time. I seriously hope to be schooled/enlightened; that would make me very happy.

            -Jay-

            •  Severely unlikely. (0+ / 0-)

              all of northeastern North America when ... the wind isn't blowing

              Over that wide an area (say north of the Mason-Dixon Line and east of the Mississippi River), that includes mountains, the possibility that there will be no wind over 6 mph (the lower limit for most wind turbines) in the whole region is so implausible as to be ridiculous.  Sorry.  

              Every coal-fired electric generator that now exists has a corresponding gas-burning generator that sits idle most of the time.  When an coal generator stops producing power for a relatively short time (hours to months), the electric company runs the gas generator to cover the power demand (at a much higher cost, which is why the gas generator is mostly idle).  If there would ever be a freakish, once in 1000 years wind lull over the whole Northeast, there's no reason the existing gas generators couldn't be fired up to provide power.  

              Also please note that the region, especially New England, has a number of old mill dams that could be reworked to provide hydroelectric power.  

              Renewable energy brings national security.

              by Calamity Jean on Fri Apr 09, 2010 at 11:28:49 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Sorry for the late reply... (0+ / 0-)

                Jean, sorry for the late reply, hope you see this. There was a fair amount of looking to do, and quantitative data at the level of detail required is hard to find (I really couldn't find exactly what I needed).

                possibility that there will be no wind over 6 mph (the lower limit for most wind turbines) in the whole region is so implausible as to be ridiculous.

                Do you have a citation for that? About the best thing I could find is NREL's 80m/100m wind resource potential data from here. This graph shows tremendously good news, and rather bad news. Bear in mind that US electrical power usage is around 4 million GWh per year, requiring an average generating capacity of about 470 GW. Actual total US generating capacity is about 1000 GW.

                So where's the good news? The NREL data says that if you 100% developed all the 48-state sites that are compatible with wind-power generation (with 80-100m towers), you would get about 10000 GW of capacity.  Even at a realistic development rate of 5-10%, that's 500-1000 GW.

                The bad news? That's only guaranteed 30% of the time. If you want a 60% guaranteed value, the capacity is zero. Bad news indeed.

                Now we know it's not really that bad-- this tells we can't guarantee we have (to use your example) wind power being generated in Ohio and New York at the same time, but it doesn't tell us the odds that we'll have at any given moment silent wind turbines in New York, but nice steady wind conditions in Tennessee and Kentucky (or where ever). If data at that level of detail in time and space, region-wide, exists, I haven't found it yet.

                You are calling not just for a "smart" grid, but also for massive power grid capacity expansion, you agree w/that, right? I am totally in favor of that, but have the impression that nirsnet, who I was replying to above, is not...

                Every coal-fired electric generator that now exists has a corresponding gas-burning generator that sits idle most of the time.

                That's just not true. I'm not intimately familiar with a lot of coal-fired plants, but the one I am familiar with (PGE's 500 MW plant in Boardman, OR) has zero natural gas capacity on-site.

                It is true that there is a massive installed base of natural gas power plants, nearly 1/2 of the entire installed generation capacity of the US, and that something like 1/2 of that capacity is used for the kind of peaking capacity you're talking about. But I think you would have those plants spun up more like 25-50% of the time rather than the "freakish" occasional use you're talking about.

                I'd love to see data that proves me wrong.

                It does seem to be a no-brainer to push towards 10-15% wind capacity in much of the US and to massively improve both grid capacity and grid flexibility ("intelligence" if you like).

                -Jay-

                •  Wind doesn't need to provide that much (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  JayBat, JeffW

                  power (4 to 5 million GWh).  Having that much wind power would mean that wind was grossly overdeveloped.  Electric power demand is much lower overnight than it is during the day; if the nation had enough wind turbines to cover electric demand during the day, many of those turbines would have to be shut down at night.  What I'm thinking is that wind could cover a large majority of the overnight demand, with solar (photovoltaic or thermal) handling most of the difference between day and night usage.  That would make gas-burning fill in power much less common and more practical.

                  I'm not intimately familiar with a lot of coal-fired plants, but the one I am familiar with (PGE's 500 MW plant in Boardman, OR) has zero natural gas capacity on-site.

                  Doesn't need to be on-site, it could be in the next county as long as it could connect to the appropriate transmission lines.  I own stock in an electic company, and I know their coal and gas burning generators are physically separate.

                  Renewable energy brings national security.

                  by Calamity Jean on Tue Apr 13, 2010 at 12:45:02 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

        •  Wind can be baseload power. (0+ / 0-)

          If the wind turbines are spread over a large enough geographic area, the wind will be blowing well enough in enough places to provide needed basic power. http://www.awea.org/...  (PDF, 4 pg)

          The wind resource in the Southeastern US is relatively poor except on the coasts, but the northwestern 3/4 of the country could probably be powered overnight almost entirely by wind power if there were enough properly located turbines.  The higher daytime demand could and should be covered mainly by solar photvoltaic in the northern half and solar thermal in the south.  

          Renewable energy brings national security.

          by Calamity Jean on Fri Apr 09, 2010 at 10:19:41 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Why then didn't last months explosion (0+ / 0-)

        killing / wounding many at a new fossil gas generating plant in the NE stop gas-generated electricity?  Why doesn't every coal-mine disaster result in coal being shut down?  Do you know how dangerous power dams are?  They have killed thousands in accidents past, yet we still have hydro power.  

        Think about it... WHY?  

        Especially since TMI didn't kill any one, and there's never been a more significant accident in the decades long history of US nuclear power industry.  Why is nuclear power held to impossible standards that no other large-scale source of fossil energy has to meet, despite the fact that fossil fuels, especially coal, kill tens of thousands every year due to smog, fine particulates, etc.?  The overreaction to nuclear power is way out of proportion to the REAL risks.  

        Why the selective standards that condemn nuclear in a heartbeat despite all the environmental benefits, yet filthy fossil fuels get a pass?

        This is due to political spin and propaganda.  Never underestimate the power of vested interests to steer public opinion.  When you feel ready to hyperventilate against nuclear power, stop and examine these facts then ask yourself why do you viscerally FEEL this way when it isn't supported by the facts.  It is because you've bought into the antinuke messaging that is serving other interests.

        The intrinsic nature of Power is such that those who seek it most are least qualified to wield it.

        by mojo workin on Fri Apr 09, 2010 at 07:00:00 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Earthquake fault lines in places like CA, for one (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      geomoo, annieli

      My Karma just ran over your Dogma

      by FoundingFatherDAR on Thu Apr 08, 2010 at 03:49:35 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Yeah, since nuclear is devoid of risk. (11+ / 0-)

      Even before I saw this typically over-the-top endorsement of nuclear, I was going to comment that the usually low estimate of the future of wind is just one example of why I so distrust the nearly hysterical cry for nuclear.  I've been given "choices I can't refuse" on nuclear my whole life.  I never enter a discussion with a nuclear advocate but that his position is an unyielding insistence that nuclear is an utter and undeniable necessity.  I refuse to accept those terms.

      Since the head of the Nuclear Energy Commission crowed that we would see electricity "too cheap to meter," short-circuiting open debate has been a defining characteristic of the nuclear lobby.  It has been painful to see so many sincere green advocates adopt the same tones.

      Whatever the merit of either side, it is undeniable that if we put the political will and the trillions of dollars into alternatives that we once put into nuclear, we would see a much better return on that investment in three decades than we now see from nuclear.  Instead, alternative sources continue to compete in the face of incessant naysaying.

      If only we took climate change as seriously as WWII.

      Legal chicanery and pitch darkness were the banker's stoutest allies. -1939

      by geomoo on Thu Apr 08, 2010 at 03:52:14 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Oh. Thanks for the excellent summary. nt (0+ / 0-)

        Legal chicanery and pitch darkness were the banker's stoutest allies. -1939

        by geomoo on Thu Apr 08, 2010 at 03:53:27 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Just as we do with our finances, (5+ / 0-)

        there are 3 rules: diversify, diversify, diversify. A wise energy policy is built on efficiency (#1 by far), gas, nuclear, solar, wind, wave, geothermal as appropriate to the region. With a first class grid, we can easily solve the energy challenge. Just need to design and build. The Chinese are showing us how, and then some.

        •  Nuclear is not appropriate when plants (5+ / 0-)

          are being run after their designed lifetimes have expired, when the operators of these plants lie repeatedly about conditions in these facilities, and the regulatory body is either in bed with profit making companies or is so incompetent they cannot see problems I linked to above.

          •  Then we should be seeing serious problems (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            geomoo

            at these plants and we aren't. If they are incompetent and lying about it then we should see evidence. Personally, I think the real problem is the way we build reactors. Thorium is a much better, safer fuel, and there should be a single approved design. But I am not a proponent of nuclear energy particularly because it seems inherently expensive compared to all the others things I mentioned.

            •  Well, in 2007 we weren't seeing problems (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Calamity Jean

              in the banking sector either.

              “If I can't dance to it, it's not my revolution.” — Emma Goldman

              by Jyrinx on Thu Apr 08, 2010 at 04:14:53 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  There are problems, just not catastrophic ones. (4+ / 0-)

              Read the news about Vermont Yankee, Indian Point. Look at Davis-Besse and Turkey Point.

              It's only a question of time before some of these safety systems fail. Technology always fails, at some point.

              It's estimated that 24,000 people [not coal miners, citizens] die prematurely every year and over a half a million suffer from asthma/COPD/lung cancer or other problems from the effects of coal dust in this country.

              It will take a handful of civilian deaths in a nuke plant incident to to kill the industry forever. If one wants to mathematically look at the numbers, nuclear is clearly safer, as millions would have had to have died from nuke accidents [like they have from coal dust] over the past 40 years to equal the devastation brought by the burning of coal.

              The reality is, public hysteria over a handful of deaths on the TeeVee will make nuclear power unpalatable for a huge segment of our population.

              •  Thinking about nuclear probabilities. (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                shpilk

                Intuition doesn't serve us humans too well when it comes to highly improbably events.  We tend to convert a 1% probability to effectively 0% in our minds.  Here is a way to think about it that allows intuition to function better.  How often are we willing to accept a large nuclear accident?  Once every hundred years?  Once every fifty years?

                Legal chicanery and pitch darkness were the banker's stoutest allies. -1939

                by geomoo on Thu Apr 08, 2010 at 04:40:11 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Now one could have forseen (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Calamity Jean, geomoo

                  Bophal, either.

                  It's going to happen with nuclear power, in some way at some point.

                  It probably will be an accident, caused by human error, compounded by a panicked response as back up systems fail to correct the situation. We've already seen the same scenario happen at TMI and Chernobyl.

                  Either that, or it will be gross negligence, like Davis-Besse where acid ate way at the top of the containment vessel for years without anyone taking action.

                  These jackasses 'learned lessons' from this incident.

                  http://www.nrc.gov/...

                  There will come a time when the lesson is learned after there's a massive failure resulting in a serious accident.

                  I worked in quality for years: human beings are totally incapable of telling the truth, working towards quality goals or understanding the import and impact of what they do unless they are fully vested in the whole process of their job. Very few industries ever approach anywhere near that ideal - and the nuclear power industry by it's very nature fights against the empowerment of it's employees, truth, facts and reason because the risks are so high.

                  The nuclear power industry will fail, and it will do so specatularly. I hate seeing our money dumped into it so some filthy investors can try and do their version of 'The Producers'.

                  •  no one .. not now one /../ duh (0+ / 0-)
                  •  I've been looking for a way to say this for years (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    shpilk, Calamity Jean

                    human beings are totally incapable of telling the truth, working towards quality goals or understanding the import and impact of what they do unless they are fully vested in the whole process of their job. Very few industries ever approach anywhere near that ideal - and the nuclear power industry by it's very nature fights against the empowerment of it's employees, truth, facts and reason because the risks are so high.

                    Exactly right.  I was trained in the navy nuclear program, had contact with friends who left for the industry.  Not to mention irresponsible losers who left for the industry.  You have it exactly right.

                    Legal chicanery and pitch darkness were the banker's stoutest allies. -1939

                    by geomoo on Thu Apr 08, 2010 at 06:55:41 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

      •  Check out what is going in VT, to see how much (5+ / 0-)

        we trust the liars of the Nuclear industry and the regulation process. Just a revolving door of people making greedy and bad decisions which is going to result in a horrible disaster at some point.

        VT and NY are on the verge of shutting down plants because of the outright lies and misinformation that comes of out both the industry and the regulation process.

        We've come really close to having a number of very serious accidents which many people are unaware of, like the DavisBesse in OH and Turkey Point in FL, which revealed serious lapses in risk management behavior by the regulating agency.

        http://www.ucsusa.org/...

        Support of fission based power without understanding the massive corruption inherent in the whole process of how these plants are designed and engineered is irresponsible and it's a potentially a huge waste of taxpayer money investing an industry that is already dead .. it's an industry just waiting for one catastrophic accident to happen, and it's DONE.

        The public will insist that these plants be shut down in the aftermath of one significant incident, yet the Obama administration wants to dump tens of billions if not more into loan guarantees, leaving taxpayers holding the bag as investors walk away.

        Privatizing profit, socializing risk.
        AGAIN.

        When are we going to learn?

      •  I think I'm on board with that. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Calamity Jean, geomoo

        I'm led to believe that some of the fears about nuclear power are overstated, certainly. But there is a weird fervor for it that's really quite off-putting.

        I mean, it's a bit hard in 2010 to believe that everything will work great because of how well these things can be supervised and regulated. If every one of the new plants were guaranteed to be a union shop with rigorous training and unflinching inspections, that'd be one thing. But having seen the SEC become every bit as incapable as the Soviet Union at enforcing safeguards to prevent meltdowns (metaphorical or literal) … well, it gives me pause. Would you really want Massey Energy in charge of nuclear safety?

        “If I can't dance to it, it's not my revolution.” — Emma Goldman

        by Jyrinx on Thu Apr 08, 2010 at 04:14:14 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  NRC rejected the AP1000 design ... (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          geomoo, Jyrinx, Egalitare, Eric Nelson

          ...and asked for a redo from Westinghouse because of safety concerns. But the company is going ahead with its construction of this particular Generation III+ design in China.

          I refuse to accept "no can do" as a proper slogan for progressives.

          by Meteor Blades on Thu Apr 08, 2010 at 04:18:40 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Now THAT'S a job lost to China (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Calamity Jean, geomoo

            I don't so much mind …

            (er, not to celebrate endangering Chinese people, but … erm, well you know what I mean.)

            I can't really say my feared scenario has an entirely rational basis. It's possible the regulators are doing a fine job these days. But if we get a new wave of nuclear reactors built in this day and age, you know it's going to be all-corporate, all the time. Certainly, there's evidence Obama's at least giving a good effort to reintroducing America to the idea that competent regulators are good, but things would have to change pretty radically for me to be sure that we won't have pricks like Blankenship in charge of preventing meltdowns.

            “If I can't dance to it, it's not my revolution.” — Emma Goldman

            by Jyrinx on Thu Apr 08, 2010 at 04:26:01 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  The Union of Concerned Scientists says (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Calamity Jean, Jyrinx

              the regulators have been a lot better over the past ten years.  The UCS are neutral on nuclear power, but are quite specific about which types of plants, if any, should be built.  That being said, from my personal experience I can say that being "better" is no guarantee at all of being acceptable.  They have a lot of room for improvement.  And the history of the industry from its sordid beginning to its lying-ass present is a textbook case of the idiocy of believing the claims of a big industry.

              Legal chicanery and pitch darkness were the banker's stoutest allies. -1939

              by geomoo on Thu Apr 08, 2010 at 04:37:44 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  Please! Indian Point. n/t (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          shpilk

          Okay, the Government says you MUST abort your child. NOW do you get it?

          by Catskill Julie on Thu Apr 08, 2010 at 04:24:28 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  ? n/t (0+ / 0-)

            “If I can't dance to it, it's not my revolution.” — Emma Goldman

            by Jyrinx on Thu Apr 08, 2010 at 04:26:29 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Agree with you. Safety, security, a population (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              shpilk, Jyrinx

              that could not be evacuated in the event of a major problem, pollution of huge amounts of water, are just some of the current issues with the OLD Indian Point reactor.

              Okay, the Government says you MUST abort your child. NOW do you get it?

              by Catskill Julie on Thu Apr 08, 2010 at 04:31:56 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Same thing for Seabrook in NH. (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Calamity Jean

                We in NH all know that if those sirens go off by mistake on a hot summer afternoon it could cost dozens if not hundreds of lives as people panic to get the hell out. The roads are overloaded in the off season. In the summer, it can take 30 minutes to just traverse a 2 mile stretch of the beachfront by car.

                Seabrook is right next door to Hampton Beach, NH - if a rainstorm pops up on a summer afternoon, it can take you hours to go 5 miles as the traffic is so congested as people want to bug out.

                Been there, done that.

                There's just no way in hell to get an estimated 150,000 people on summer day out of that area near the plant if the sirens go off. A false alarm could lead to disaster. There will be pandemonium and acts of violence and desperation.
                Even in the winter, the existing evacuation plan to get people out from the first ten mile zone is a joke, and inadequate. The larger zone

                It's criminal that they chose to put a nuke plant so damn close to a such a highly populated area with such poor roadways. But did it, they did.

        •  Watched TMI on the News (3+ / 0-)

          Even my Dad realized that American style management was a bad combo with nuclear power. They just lied their asses off rather than doing anything.

          We'd really need a Navy/France type approach before my reaction to nuclear will move past 'Meh.'

          •  TMI was a wild success story (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Calamity Jean, damfino

            compared to Chernobyl, though.

            But yeah. When you have the potential for a fuckup to kill tens of thousands of people, the last thing you want to introduce is the profit motive. Time and time again, we've seen that if a corporation can increase its short-term profits 1% by increasing the long-term risk of catastrophe by 1%, they'll do it. Again, and again, and again. People are strongly incentivized to take crazy risks and convince themselves and each other that the risks aren't there (see bubble, housing). That's well and good in a venture capital firm that only puts itself at risk that way, but a nuclear plant? Um, yeah. Not so good.

            “If I can't dance to it, it's not my revolution.” — Emma Goldman

            by Jyrinx on Thu Apr 08, 2010 at 04:32:27 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  Between ... (11+ / 0-)

      ...now and the time the Southern Company's first two new 1154 MWe nukes come on line - assuming they do so on time and on budget (a very foolish assumption) - we could install 75,000-100,000 MWe of wind power.

      If you want to imitate the French nuclear industry, fine. But only if we do it the way the French do. Built, owned and operated by the French government.

      I refuse to accept "no can do" as a proper slogan for progressives.

      by Meteor Blades on Thu Apr 08, 2010 at 04:16:35 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  why (0+ / 0-)

        should the government control the nuclear energy industry

        •  It ... (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          shpilk, pacplate, Calamity Jean, Egalitare

          ...wasn't I who brought up the French.

          When we have 20% wind-generated and 10% solar-generated electricity, get back to me about nukes. The nuclear industry has sucked off Uncle Sam's teat for three generations, and it still can't stand on its own two feet without government subsidies. Take those subsidies away and it collapses. So I really don't understand why anybody should be concerned about the government owning and operating the industry if they want to put all or most of our energy eggs in that basket.

          I refuse to accept "no can do" as a proper slogan for progressives.

          by Meteor Blades on Thu Apr 08, 2010 at 04:47:10 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Oh man (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Joffan

            First of all, per unit of energy production, wind and solar are the most subsidized.

            Second of all, the nuclear industry only needs those loan guarantees, not because of problems of profitability from actual market forces, but because of special-interest environmentalist groups that create a lot of red tape.

            •  Per unit costs means nothing, as MB said . (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Calamity Jean

              it's related to time.

              [which I think only partially cover the real costs of a gallon of gasoline]

              According to the National Defense Council Foundation, the economic penalties of America's oil dependence total $297.2 to $304.9 billion annually. If reflected at the gasoline pump, these "hidden costs" would raise the price of a gallon of gasoline to over $5.28. A fill-up would be over $105.

              That's just dollars being spent to prop up the oil companies to keep the price of gasoline low. It doesn't take into consideration the costs of pollution or the effects of AGW as we burn it, which probably triple or quadruple the total real costs of burning a single gallon of gasoline.

              The real costs of nuclear power can't be determined yet: no one has figured out who is going to keep watch of hundreds of thousands of tons of highly radioactive materials for tens of thousands of years. Of course, god forbid Indian Point should have a catastrophic failure, and doom metro NYC and thousands of sq miles around it to being a 'dead zone' for decades, it not longer.

          •  KO. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Joffan

            "For electricity generation, the EIA concludes that solar energy is subsidized to the tune of $24.34 per megawatt hour, wind $23.37 and 'clean coal' $29.81. By contrast, normal coal receives 44 cents, natural gas a mere quarter, hydroelectric about 67 cents and nuclear power $1.59."[38]  The impacts of prior subsidies, some of which may no longer be in effect, are not measured in the previous analysis. However, the Renewable Energy Policy Project[39]  stated that from 1947 to 1999, nuclear power was subsidized $145.4 billion, wind power $1.2 billion and solar $4.4 billion[40]. From a megawatt hour basis, this translate into $12.45 per MWh produced for nuclear power, $36.47 for wind power and $511.63 for solar (1999 dollars)[40].

            http://en.wikipedia.org/...

            Solar and wind are the most subsidized on a unit per production basis, even by the calculations of the Renewable Energy Policy Project.

            Huzzah.

        •  because (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          damfino

          private sector management will cut costs at the expense of safety. Every time.

          "Great is the guilt of an unnecessary war" - John Adams

          by esquimaux on Thu Apr 08, 2010 at 04:52:07 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  and of course the weapons externalities where (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        pacplate

        "Freedom" plant construction abroad facilitated loose nukes

        "...calling for a 5" deck gun is not parody. Not by a long shot." (gnaborretni)

        by annieli on Thu Apr 08, 2010 at 04:44:04 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Govt regulation is better than govt ownership, (0+ / 0-)

        I'd say. In principle it is better for the regulator and the operator to be as independent as possible, which is less easy to guarantee if both are government sectors.

        (Unless, of course, you are really suggesting that future US nuclear power should be "built, owned and operated by the French government" - which would be a novel solution I must admit)

        I frankly do not believe that most people using that argument ("do it the way the French do") would really drop their objections to nuclear if it were undertaken by government organizations. Indeed, discussions of power waste often veer off into the waste produced by weapons programs, which of course were government programs.

        This is not a sig-line.

        by Joffan on Thu Apr 08, 2010 at 05:53:21 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Long term we need to shut down coal (0+ / 0-)

        globally.  Do you REALLY believe that this can be done affordably, if at all, with wind power?  I'm so not convinced of that.  Brave New Climate blog has pretty much laid the case that renewables are NOT a viable solution to reverse global climate change.  The blog is extremely credible, one of the best I've seen on the subject of quantitative analysis of various mitigation options for AGW.  If wind can't do what needs to be done long term, then we shouldn't be selling it as such because it'll distract from doing the development work for what can do the job: next generation nuclear, especially with factory mass produced modular reactors and closed fuel cycles, e.g. IFR or molten salt reactors.  I have no problem with the idea of doing everything possible: conservation; reversing the suburban sprawl development model toward transit-oriented development / walkable communities / increasing density; smart architecture to exploit the sun wherever possible for heating; geothermal for heating and cooling; and wind power now while we get our nuclear act together.  But, longer term, we need to replace baseload with nonemitting sustainable sources on a HUGE scale - and that would be next gen nuclear power in small packages (<100MW) pumped out of assembly lines in the coming decades.</p>

        BTW, this also means a complete overhaul of the politics of nuclear, including the NRC approval model which does nothing but prevent innovation and prevent the nuclear industry from growing.  There is an obvious problem with the current model for nuclear power development in terms of time to market, licencing costs, and capital risk due to long lead times.  There are ways to fix that, but not if the politics prevents it from doing so.  That lies at the core of the problem, not because of the lack of potential offered by many, many innovative designs that are intrinsically safe, scalable and sustainable.  The trouble is the innovators can't innovate by government fiat.

        The intrinsic nature of Power is such that those who seek it most are least qualified to wield it.

        by mojo workin on Fri Apr 09, 2010 at 07:21:57 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Yes and no. (0+ / 0-)

        Between now and the time the Southern Company's first two new 1154 MWe nukes come on line - assuming they do so on time and on budget (a very foolish assumption) - we could install 75,000-100,000 MWe of wind power.

        The wind power wouldn't be in the Southeast, however.  Most of the former Confederate states have poor wind potential; Mississippi and Alabama are especially pathetic.  Getting overnight power to this region is going to be a tough nut to crack, and I suspect these states will be burning coal long after the rest of the nation has gone to 90%+ renewables.  

        If you want to imitate the French nuclear industry, fine. But only if we do it the way the French do. Built, owned and operated by the French government.

        France is not problem-free.  There's at least one river that the locals can't fish in anymore because it's been contaminated by radioactive spillage.

        Renewable energy brings national security.

        by Calamity Jean on Fri Apr 09, 2010 at 12:09:11 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  "Roll the dice" is far more appropriate to (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      shpilk, Jyrinx, Egalitare

      discussion of Nuclear: dirty, dangerous and with no solution for storage, than to wind at this point!

      Okay, the Government says you MUST abort your child. NOW do you get it?

      by Catskill Julie on Thu Apr 08, 2010 at 04:28:37 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I'd say Yucca mountain is a pretty good solution (0+ / 0-)

        for waste storage.  Better than leaving it where it is certainly.  Better yet would be western Utah.  If it leaks, it drains through barren desert to a lake inhabited mainly by seamonkeys.  

        They see me trollin'. They hatin' Don't make my high school civics teacher out to be a liar and expect me to like it.

        by obnoxiotheclown on Thu Apr 08, 2010 at 06:30:43 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  The next renewal MUST be 5 years minimum (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Calamity Jean, geomoo, DawnN

    I'd like longer, but I bet the manufacturing and installations from 5 secure years of consistent underwriting would be mind-boggling.

    "Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will." -- Frederick Douglass

    by Egalitare on Thu Apr 08, 2010 at 03:43:21 PM PDT

  •  Puerto Rico OKs wind farm (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    geomoo, Egalitare, Eric Nelson

    http://www.rechargenews.com/...

    This was discussed frequently on the news when I was there last week.

    "If you're in a coalition and you're comfortable, you know it's not a broad enough coalition" Bernice Johnson Reagon

    by Denise Oliver Velez on Thu Apr 08, 2010 at 03:43:26 PM PDT

  •  Wind turbine farms got off to bad start in 1980s (3+ / 0-)

    when they were more known for being tax shelter write-offs.  Then the 1986 Tax Act put the damper on passive activity losses.
     If there had been better coordination of tax and energy policy/regulation back then, maybe we wouldn't be so far behind now in implementing and benefitting from wind energy.

    My Karma just ran over your Dogma

    by FoundingFatherDAR on Thu Apr 08, 2010 at 03:46:16 PM PDT

  •  Yes (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    shpilk, Calamity Jean, Egalitare

    'Is it too much to hope that the Senate shows it's learned something since then?'

    I think they are worse today than they were then.  After all, back then it didn't take 60 votes to wipe your ass.

  •  How much money does the Federal go'vt (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MeToo, pacplate, geomoo, annieli, Eric Nelson

    give to nuclear, oil, gas, and coal producers in the way of government funded insurance guarantees, loan guarantees, tax write offs, favorable depreciation deals, and tax shelters for the rich to invest their money in?

    How many tens of billions a year does it total to?

    How much money has been allocated to wind, solar, biofuels, conservation efforts?

    •  Well We Spend $2 Billion a Day Protecting Sources (6+ / 0-)

      We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

      by Gooserock on Thu Apr 08, 2010 at 03:58:12 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  More than an off-handed remark. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Egalitare, Eric Nelson

        This goes to the heart of the issue.  Imagine what we could do.

        Legal chicanery and pitch darkness were the banker's stoutest allies. -1939

        by geomoo on Thu Apr 08, 2010 at 04:07:26 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  ding, ding .. ding (0+ / 0-)

        $3 trillion so far in Iraq, probably another $1T in Afghanistan.

        Four trillion dollars defending oil wells and pipelines.

        •  Nitpick. Not $3 trillion "so far" ... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Calamity Jean

          ...That's what Stiglitz and Bilmes say the war will eventually cost, including indirect costs like taking care of veterans who were wounded there and need continuing assistance.

          Still, a very good point. When candidate Obama said in 2008 he wanted $150 billion over 10 years for renewables, I thought, wait-a-minute, we are spending $150 billion each year on two wars. How about some symmetry?

          I refuse to accept "no can do" as a proper slogan for progressives.

          by Meteor Blades on Thu Apr 08, 2010 at 04:53:52 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  It's close enough to $3T already. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Calamity Jean

            Those costs are already burned into the future books: as those veterans aren't disappearing tomorrow.

            But more significant might be the continuing costs
            of not doing something to correct our energy path is probably even higher than $4 trillion at this point. We've wasted critical time to shift away from all the pollution we're causing.

            The trade deficit costs alone from purchase of oil http://www.iags.org/... says it's been $7 trillion for the last 30 years. That's JUST oil. About $400B a year, if one simply divides through.

            also from the article ..

            "The Department of Energy estimates that each $1 billion of trade deficit costs America 27,000 jobs."

            So extrapolating roughly 10 million US jobs were lost each year, just from the oil trade deficit alone. I'd say that's quite a high cost to pay.

  •  Every story about wind farms being built.... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    NYFM, geomoo, Eric Nelson

    ...mention the use of turbines built by Seimens of Germany.  Are there any American companies building these things?

  •  I'm Seeing Turbines Around N Ohio (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    shpilk, NYFM, Calamity Jean, Eric Nelson

    But I need rooftop solar for my garage. Nobody has to string wires or smarten up the grid. Just set up the financing and we'll all do it ourselves.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Thu Apr 08, 2010 at 03:57:35 PM PDT

  •  H2 solution for transmission line lack? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DawnN, Eric Nelson

    I am not so negative as many on the future of H2 & fuel cells.
    I know that making H2 solves the problem of peak wind
    production of electricity.

    I THINK that Germany and Denmark and Japan are ahead of the U.S. in H2 storage planning.

    I KNOW that Oakland's Children's Hospital has recorded epidemic levels of childhood asthma along the 880 corridor.

  •  Y'know, I'm getting to like Iowa. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DawnN

    Maybe it's my Norwegian heritage speaking, but there's something to be said for good old reasonableness :-)

    “If I can't dance to it, it's not my revolution.” — Emma Goldman

    by Jyrinx on Thu Apr 08, 2010 at 04:06:44 PM PDT

  •  This goes back to Hamilton (7+ / 0-)

    and his Report on Manufactures to congress, never itself adopted during his life, but incorporating concepts and recommendations that would later form the basis of the US economy, and consisting of tariffs to protect domestic industries (necessary back then since they were all in their infancy and unable to compete with British goods) as well as raise revenue (income and capital gains taxes not yet sufficient to fund government operations), subsidies to encourage and assist fledgling industries, regulation of trade to protect US industry from unfair trade practices by more established commercial powers, and the promotion of science and technology to further help US industries. In much the same form that Hamilton articulated it, these ideas ended up being adopted several decades after his death by Whigs and Republicans and enabled the US economy to eventually become the world's largest, richest and most productive.

    The only thing missing was regulation of domestic economic activity, to prevent or minimize unfair and unsafe industrial, commercial and financial practices. All together, though, such industrial and economic policies is how we can take green industry to the next level. Government absolutely must be involved at all levels of this, or else it'll never happen. The "free market' is a fantasy. There's no such thing, at least one that's consistent with positive and healthy economic activity and growth. A "free market" is a sick, parasitic, inefficient, wasteful and destructive market. Only well-regulated, managed and subsidized markets can ever work and be healthy and sustainable. We need to jettison this crazy free market fetishism and get back to what works, with whatever modern adjustments experience has shown to be necessary or useful.

    "Those who stand for nothing fall for anything...Mankind are forever destined to be the dupes of bold & cunning imposture" --Alexander Hamilton

    by kovie on Thu Apr 08, 2010 at 04:08:46 PM PDT

    •  One quibble. (5+ / 0-)

      The U.S. vaulted to being an economic powerhouse not primarily because of our political system, or our ingenuity, or our economic system.  We would have had to be complete idiots not to do so with the spoils of a vast, rich landmass at our greedy disposal.  This is a pet peeve of mine.

      As to the free market, it is invoked when it suits one's purpose.  We would see no nuclear today if we had left that to the free market.

      We need institutions to bring our focused will into actualization, which means, yes, government.  good comment.

      Legal chicanery and pitch darkness were the banker's stoutest allies. -1939

      by geomoo on Thu Apr 08, 2010 at 04:16:33 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  The Soviet Union and now Russia (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Calamity Jean, geomoo

        have had vastly more natural resources than the US and yet they've always lagged far behind us. So I don't necessarily agree that it's this. Our political, legal and economic system, smart policies and a public able to pursue their ambitions are what allowed us to exploit these resources so successfully (in both good and bad ways, of course).

        I think that you underestimate the uniqueness and genius of our political, legal and economic systems, COMBINED with various other advantages that the US had over other countries, that allowed us to become so successful. And people like Hamilton (Madison, Adams, Franklin, etc.), for all their many faults, are who created it. They essentially invented modern capitalism and constitutional democracy.

        Of course, they did not, and probably could not, anticipate its many problems, some of which we're still saddled with and trying to solve.

        "Those who stand for nothing fall for anything...Mankind are forever destined to be the dupes of bold & cunning imposture" --Alexander Hamilton

        by kovie on Thu Apr 08, 2010 at 06:20:52 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Okay, I accept a corrective. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Calamity Jean

          Let's say the truth is in the middle, okay?  Your argument is supported by a study from many years ago that found the biggest correlation with national wealth came not from geography nor resources not climate nor form of government nor economic systems nor religion but rather from the lack of corruption.  Uh oh!

          So, I do take a giant step back.  The more I see of the world, the more awed I am at the genius of the founding fathers, applying enlightenment principles.  Still, I believe it is over-stated.  Russia was spread out over a vast area with much more challenging weather, for example, and more entrenched regionalisms.  Our position was unique, so comparisons are difficult.  I do believe one factor was that enterprising people self-selected to come here.

          Legal chicanery and pitch darkness were the banker's stoutest allies. -1939

          by geomoo on Thu Apr 08, 2010 at 07:01:31 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I've no problem with that (0+ / 0-)

            Obviously many factors went into this. But it's hard to argue that the financial system that Hamilton and a few others effectively invented in the late 18th century didn't make possible the tremendous economic growth (as well as, of course, economic privation and exploitation) of the 19th century. It wasn't until the progressive movement of the late 19th century finally began to force regulatory reform onto this system that it began to be as fair as it was successful (and we're still nowhere near there yet). But that it was successful, in terms of economic growth and productivity, is undeniable.

            The challenges of the 21st century are to make it actually fair, as well as sustainable, neither of which it even begins to be at present. What represented a massive step forward for its time is woefully inadequate for ours, even taking into account all the reforms and improvements made to it over the years.

            "Those who stand for nothing fall for anything...Mankind are forever destined to be the dupes of bold & cunning imposture" --Alexander Hamilton

            by kovie on Thu Apr 08, 2010 at 07:35:32 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  I would just take caution with the term NIMBYism, (8+ / 0-)

    a favorite shibboleth of "developers," often nothing more than land speculators, who seek to put their private proft ahead of the public interest.

    NIMBY can only fairly be used when a proven public good, hospital, group home, or clean, green energy produced without environmental harm, is opposed for frivolous reasons by private interests.

    Too often those crying NIMBY are actually planning to despoil a community, or public land, for private profit at taxpayers' expense. All the while attempting to wrap their speculative proposal in greenwashing, like Pickens, or cries of jobs jobs jobs, like so many "developers" who plan in fact to use cheap, imported labor to do the (shoddy) construction. Very often, these days, only to leave local taxpayers holding the bag for a half-built white elephant scarring the land, while they take their grants, PILOTS and profits and run.

    Check out one example here:     Save the Mountain

    Okay, the Government says you MUST abort your child. NOW do you get it?

    by Catskill Julie on Thu Apr 08, 2010 at 04:10:28 PM PDT

    •  An eye-opening film documenting one example (4+ / 0-)

      of precisely the process you describe.  Megamall follows the lying, manipulation, and ultimately the betrayal of a community in the building of the mega-mall in Nyack, New York.  The economics of the scam are staggering, with millions being made simply from construction.  See the corruption of local politicians, the astro-turfing, the worship of short-term profits, and the long-term unforeseen consequences to the local community.  Perhaps OT a bit, but the same forces are at work everywhere, employing the same strategies.

      Legal chicanery and pitch darkness were the banker's stoutest allies. -1939

      by geomoo on Thu Apr 08, 2010 at 04:23:20 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Sure. I agree. It can be used. But ... (0+ / 0-)

      ...I've also seen frivolous local concerns used to trump projects that really were for the greater community good. Determining what is for the greater good is, of course, a complex, inherently political process that favors rich over poor, greedheads over rank-and-file Americans (just like all the rest of life).

      I refuse to accept "no can do" as a proper slogan for progressives.

      by Meteor Blades on Thu Apr 08, 2010 at 04:50:11 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Sounds good to me...I just (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    geomoo, Jyrinx, Egalitare

    spoke with a dude today who called me to tell me about his commercial dock and how he's already gotten calls  from manufacturers interested in using his port just on the PROSPECT of having a 1000 MW wind farm built nearby.

    Month by month. (Hope to see you on Twitter)

    by Muskegon Critic on Thu Apr 08, 2010 at 04:10:34 PM PDT

  •  RE policy replicates HIR corporatist problems (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    SW, badger

    These all have the disorganized features of service markets in healthcare and telecommunication; For example: "smart" distribution infrastructure, regional cross-border utility ownership including land-use/access rights, complex (re-)payment for use, cross-subsidies for rural/urban/suburban/exurban/industrial demands, overlapping service areas, inefficient and uneven development of service areas. property rights disputes for all of the above and not even addressing the reliance on non-domestic manufacturers of hardware, and finally inefficient arrays of fuel/technologies not to mention the short-run claims of "clean coal" and "safe nukes". It will take significant federal leadership and intervention to make so-called public utilities actual public utilities. Market solutions cannot co-exist with so-called "natural monopolies".

    Oh gosh, collective ownership of the means of energy production, anyone?  

    "...calling for a 5" deck gun is not parody. Not by a long shot." (gnaborretni)

    by annieli on Thu Apr 08, 2010 at 04:13:45 PM PDT

    •  Not only that (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      badger, Jyrinx, annieli

      But the Bush administration gutted the federal R&D infrastructure in favor of contracts to their cronies in business.  This hasn't been rectified by the new administration which has obviously had other things on its plate.  So most of the new money appropriated has just gone into the dysfunctional system that the bushies created and are in the main still running.

    •  "Market solutions" while propping up (0+ / 0-)

      the oil, gas, coal and nuke markets means more of the same.

      It is taxpayer funds that prop up these low energy costs, so these companies can sell their wares to us at records profits. They have bribed Congress for many decades into passing all sorts of sweet deals to make socializing risk and privatizing their profits become absolute reality.

      Alternative energy will never move forward in any big way as long as we can buy gas, oil and electricity at artificially reduced rates which do not carry the full loaded costs of what using these polluting fuels cost us.  

      •  adsf (0+ / 0-)

        socializing risk and privatizing their profits

        should read:

        socializing their profits and privatizing their risk

        it's not about prices, it's about values

        "...calling for a 5" deck gun is not parody. Not by a long shot." (gnaborretni)

        by annieli on Thu Apr 08, 2010 at 06:20:08 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  It's simply amazing that we act as if (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    shpilk, annieli, Wolf10, damfino, Eric Nelson

    we can solve problems as complex as climate change, or even reducing our dependence on foreign oil, strictly through a political process, particularly one where half of the participants choose to only obstruct, and some of the other half are more interested in serving their donors than their constituents.

    We simply have no agreed on set of national goals for what we want to accomplish, much less how we're going to accomplish the nebulous goals we have (what to do, and especially what not to continue doing).

    In addition, we only look at partial solutions and ignore the unintended consequences of those. For example, if we could stop coal mining tomorrow, many of us would favor that, but we give no thought to what will happen to all of the employees whose livelihood comes from coal. We just mumble something about "green jobs", ignore the fact that it's unlikely they'll be available for ex-coal miners in W VA or WY, and have no plan for even insuring that the green jobs created will be in this country.

    A coherent industrial plan would tell us that we're going to stop using coal, would help choose the alternatives that will replace it, would foster employment and profits domestically, and would include substantive plans for ameliorating the negative consequences for those on the losing end of policy choices.

    And some of us continue to believe in the fairy tale of an invisible hand that will magically solve all of our problems.

    Sometimes I want to scream.

    For every problem there is one solution which is simple, neat, and wrong. -- H. L. Mencken

    by badger on Thu Apr 08, 2010 at 04:24:57 PM PDT

    •  We have an Industrial Policy (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      badger

      We're just not allowed to see it.

    •  A coherent industrial plan (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      badger

      would force all coal companies to install scrubbers or be shut down immediately, for one. It's killing tens of thousands a year in this country.

      It would force all nuclear plant operators to testify under oath and penalty of perjury as to the actual status of their plant operations.

      A coherent industrial plan would stop providing subsidies, tax breaks, insurance deals and guaranteed loans and price protections to nuclear, coal, oil and gas and put all the incentives into decentralizing the grid which is a national security weak point, and shifting jobs and consumption towards alternative American made resources and goods.

      Without this type of plan, we're inviting disaster to strike again and again, from nature, from terrorists, and from sheer fate. Decentralizing and reducing our dependency on a national grid system will strengthen our national economic and physical security, encourage an increase in American jobs, reduce pollution and reduce our trade deficit. It will also make us less likely to engage in armed conflicts to protect energy interests overseas.

    •  Well ... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Calamity Jean

      wind at Coal River Mountain in WVA would produce more jobs, indefinitely, than the MTR underway there that will have zero jobs in a decade.

      And, don't forget that the wind industry already employs more people in the United States (directly -- not counting things like steel / value of tax payments) than the coal-mining industry.

      Lets spend real money to foster creation of viable economic futures in the mountains rather than take them down to burn coal ...

  •  Here's an idea: Offer to pay farmers in the... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    shpilk, DawnN

    Midwest, or anywhere there is a great expanse of land with decent winds a rental fee per month to set up on a piece of land (2 acres of whatever it takes for a Turbine footprint) with a right of way to service them.  If a farmer wants to take in another 10K or more a year depending on the pricing structure for farming around the turbine plots, let them make the decision to do so.  I bet many would as they could still farm around them, and would probably make more money in the long run in both good and bad years of their harvests:  It would be a guaranteed fixed paycheck per month.  The NIMBY aspect may not be a factor if it is the wide-open expanse of farmland that doesn't impact those high dollar views that many want (or the farmer's views as well).

    Traveling through Germany, France and other parts of Europe, I was impressed to see the wind turbines either in single or multiple configurations in quite a few places in open country, and in urban areas too.  Nobody I asked thought they ruined the view, as their take was that they were needed due to costs and other important impacts energy has in their quality of life...Very pragmatic.

    The logistics downside to this idea might be getting the power to the grids that could transport that power to usable areas, but that could be an opportunity to add jobs in creating/repairing those grid lines as well.

    Just an idea...

    "Try not to become a man of success, but rather to become a man of value." ~ Albert Einstein

    by LamontCranston on Thu Apr 08, 2010 at 04:34:18 PM PDT

  •  WIth the tragedy of the WV coal mine accident (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    esquimaux, Egalitare

    still fresh in the news, the imperatives for American renewable energy generation should be front and center.

  •  As we drove through the wind farms on I-10 near (0+ / 0-)

    Palm Springs Tuesday, it occurred to me that not only is wind power much less polluting, it is no where near as dangerous as energy produced through coal.  I have never heard of a fatality due directly, or indirectly, to wind farms.

  •  Just got back from 2 weeks in Spain. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MeToo

    We rode trains throughout Andalucia, and to Valencia, and couldn't help but notice solar panels everywhere, rural, on rooftops, small ones, big fields of solar panels...Also, many many wind turbines.  In the Gibraltar/Tarifa area, the mountains are covered with them, definitely changing the view...I wondered how the locals felt about this, and found an interesting blog about it, quite a good conversation about the pros and cons of wind turbines in your backyard...

     http://www.notesfromspain.com/...

  •  10,000 megawatts installed just in '09 (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    badger, MeToo

    (equivalent to 1.5 nuke reactors)

    Still, Obama wants to throw $8.3 billion at nuke power.

    "I reject the... claim that the President has plenary authority to detain U.S. citizens without charges..."--B. Obama, missing since 2008

    by just some lurker guy on Thu Apr 08, 2010 at 04:52:28 PM PDT

  •  Nice Article (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    A Siegel, Billdbq

    Meteor,

    Thanks for bring this one up. But, there is another item worth mentioning that would cost taxpayers NOTHING and yet drastically stimulate wind turbine installations in this country - Feed-In Laws. Here is a quick description: http://www.allianceforrenewableenerg...

    They are the secret to the success of Germany, Denmark and Spain, and now MOST of the civilized world. They put the cost of electricity back on a "cost + reasonable profit" basis, and disconnect the price renewables get from whatever the speculation and related activities has done to arrive at a price for fossil fuels. The Feed-In Laws are the GROWN-UP way to get wind energy installed in the U.S. Subsidies like the Production Tax Credit (PTC) and the much more important rapid depreciation (MACRS) result in pretty much only rich people owning and profiting from wind turbines in he U.S. - another drawback.

    Feed-In Laws are a central part of Ontario's Green Energy Act. It is the reason why Ontario will soon be the center of renewable energy action around the Great Lakes. They will leave the no-Feed-In Law states nearby in the dust, renewable energy speaking. Oh yes, LOTS of job creation too. Actually, Feed-In Laws are ALL about job creation - the pollution free energy installed/pollution avoided is just the icing on the cake.

    I also noticed that a lot of people are still not up to speed (and in some cases pretty ignorant - although it is easy be that way in the USA - for wind info, you have to go out and search for it/become self taught) of what wind can do in the U.S. We have an awesome fast wind resource offshore and in the Great Plains, (about 9 times what was used by the U.S. for all of its electricity), or about 4000 GW on average. And when "Low Wind Speed Turbines" - LWST - are considered, we also have an awesome capacity there too (our low wind speed is pretty fast by most European (especially inland) standards, BTW). Here is a link to that summary: http://www.awea.org/...

    Anyway, here are some pictures of a "real" wind turbine - in this case, the biggest in the world (presently) - installed with NO govt subsidies - though the crane was funded by gov't research (it's also the biggest crawler crane in the world):
    http://www.7mw-wec-by-11.eu/...

    It is amazing what can happen when the value-less added gambling and speculation is taken out of the wind business. We could do similar things, too.

    Nb41

  •  A minor observation about "nimbyism" (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    NYFM
    One person's "nimbyism" is another person's unacceptable environmental destruction and/or community aesthetic blight.

    I'm all for renewable energy, but I intensely dislike the dismissive term "nimbyism," having first been introduced to it by people who were very cavalier in their attitude toward ripping down 30 miles of trees to build a connector highway that accessed and thereby enhanced the value of their real estate holdings; locating construction landfills in exurban areas, killing the livability and value of nearby residential properties; dumping environmental cleanup wastes from one state in economically poor areas of other states; locating a nuclear power plant on a site historically celebrated for its scenic beauty; and cetera.

  •  52,000 Billion Reasons (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Billdbq
    In the fourth quarter of 09 there was over 52,000 billion dollars of debt outstanding in the U.S.  

    One way to look at debt is that it is a claim on future growth.  "I will gladly pay you tomorrow for a hamburger today'.  It assumes that there will be more tomorrow than there is today.  It is a measure of optimism.

    Historically, there is a tight correlation between GDP and fossil fuel consumption.  It takes energy to fuel the growth required to pay back the debt.  The debt that has already been issued.  Not to mention the credit, tomorrow's debt that is required for the economy to function.

    Ideally, it would be nice if we could get ourselves out of the growth trap.  Nothing can grow forever.  But all of that outstanding debt requires growth to service it and to prevent the current economy from crashing, even if we were to somehow accomplish this transformation to a steady state economy.  Good luck with that.

    Barring this, what is urgently needed is a crash program to break not just the real but also the perceived link between fossil fuel consumption and GDP growth.  Otherwise, in an era of resource constraints there is no realistic source for the growth required to service the debt that has already been issued and the whole thing collapses.

    This is the heart of the climate change deniers motivation.  It isn't just the fossil fuel industry and their immediate beneficiaries.  It is everyone who buys into the link between fossil fuel consumption and gdp growth.  Because without gdp growth the whole house of cards collapses.  So, it boils down to self preservation.  They refuse to believe in anything that will cut into growth because they feel that the consequences will be worse than whatever climate change might bring.

    The task therefore is to demonstrate that it is possible technologically to sustain growth in the face of declining fossil fuel consumption.  Whether that decline is geologically imposed or imposed for ecological considerations.  This is why the same groups deny peak oil that deny global warming.  What they really need to deny is any limitations on the burning of fossil fuels.

    This is the challenge that the President faces.  He has to balance the need to move us away from fossil fuels without undercutting the bond market's confidence that the energy to fuel the growth to service the debt will be there in the future.  Economically, we are not out of the woods yet and the whole thing can still implode.  It is a close run thing.  A balancing act.  We can all demand that he do the right thing and we all know what the right thing is.  But at the end of the day, things look a little different when you're steering the ship.

  •  Exxon meet Citizens United. (0+ / 0-)

    Try it and see the money flow to your opponent.  We need to fix (as much as possible without a constitutional amendment, which Rethugs would kill) that monstrousity if we are to ever have again a policy that encourages new industries which compete with old.

  •  Nice comments on Iowa wind energy, MB! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    A Siegel, Calamity Jean

    And the state's first big wind farm installed in Storm Lake in 1999.

    Yes, it's windy there!  There is a good natural wind tunnel that moves along the Plains landscape of Buffalo Ridge.  I grew up in Storm Lake, and two brothers and their families live there and operate The Storm Lake Times, one of the country's few independent newspapers.

    Wind and solar energy production will continue to surprise us.

    Strength through Peace.

    by Billdbq on Thu Apr 08, 2010 at 06:41:23 PM PDT

  •  You're exactly right, but.... (0+ / 0-)

    an RES that includes nuclear power, as many Senators seem to want to do, would skew the entire concept and provide taxpayer funds for an electricity source that is neither clean nor renewable...

    We need to be sure that a federal RES includes only genuinely renewable energy sources.....

    •  You are right about that because (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Geotpf, Billdbq

      it confuses two different objectives.  I would argue however, even though I am anti-nuclear at heart, I think we are basically fucked.  I wouldn't fund nuclear out of this mechanism, but nuclear is going to have to be in the mix.  Simply because the real enemy is coal.  Coal is way more dangerous than nuclear.  Coal will destroy the planet as we know it.  Incrementally.  Like that frog in a slowly heated pot of water.  It is the only carbon source that is plentiful enough to do that.  Focusing on coal as the enemy and making a deal with the nuclear devil is the only pragmatic chance we have of heading off the worst consequences of climate change.  I wish it wasn't true, but I believe that it is.

      The problem is that if you look at all the outstanding debt you have to postulate the energy source, the fuel in the future to service that debt.  The dollar might be the legal tender, but energy is natural tender.  Energy is the source of economic growth.  Unless you can identify the source of energy going forward that is necessary to fuel the growth required to service the debt the economy will implode.

      You can calculate roughly how much energy will be required going forward to generate the growth required to service the debt.  You want as much of that to be non CO2 emitting as possible.  That is you choose wind or solar over coal or gas.  And of course nuclear in non-CO2 emitting as well.  The problem is that wind is intermittent.  The utilities will insist on a baseline source to augment the wind.  Lately that is gas which is less emitting than coal, but there is a lot of coal.  Nuclear is a baseline source that is non emitting.  

      The point is that you have to be able to cobble together a scenario where the future energy requirements to fuel the growth required to service the debt are met.  Otherwise, the bond market will collapse in the near-term.  It is part psychology, part economics and part engineering.  That is why you have to keep the nuclear option open.  You have to keep all options open.  While curtailing the use of coal unless we figure out how to sequester the carbon emitted from it.  

    •  Well ... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sustainable

      what if that RES with nuclear were 50% by 2020 and 70% by 2030?  With nuclear right now roughly 20% of electricity and existing renewable roughly 10%, where do you think that additional 20% and 40% would come from?

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