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NIMBY Opposition Threatens Renewables

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A recent poll said 63 percent of Americans support renewable energy investment… in theory. But, in practice, Not-In-My-Backyard (NIMBY) opposition to new energy infrastructure prevents about 45 percent of renewable energy proposals from being built across the country, according to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

For instance, the Michigan chapter of the Raging Grannies, a national band of senior citizen environmentalists, wants to see the completion of a wind farm off the shores of Grosse Pointe, MI, right outside Detroit. But local residents are opposing the proposed farm. Sailboat owners claim the turbines create dead air, making it harder to sail. They also say and the turbines will be unsightly.

There is similar opposition to renewable projects all over the country. The permit process for the Cape Wind offshore wind project in Massachusetts took nine years, over the opposition of locals, including the late Sen. Edward Kennedy.

Off the coast of Virginia, the military is opposed to offshore wind, claiming turbines will interfere with their training. And in the Mojave Desert, a rare tortoise protected by the Endangered Species Act has slowed development of a massive solar farm.

And in Maryland, engineer and inventor Robert Bruninga, wanted to turn his unused boat dock into a solar field to provide electricity for his home. But the state denied his permit because, according to Maryland law, nothing is allowed on a pier unless it’s of aquatic nature.

Bruninga has been appealing to the state for a year and a half to make some sort of ordinance for solar panels on boat piers. Until then, he has to set up his panels on the ground in the back of his house, moving them every month because of the shade from the trees.

Patrick Earle of Takoma Park, MD, a science teacher, wanted to put solar panels on his roof, but needed to remove an old silver maple tree. But the Takoma Park arborist told Earle he would have to replant 23 trees in its place, or pay $4,000 into the city’s tree fund.

Earle learned the trees didn’t have to be planted on his own property and was able to get the city to reduce the number of trees to 15 if he planted bigger ones, so he went around town giving out free trees to his neighbors. Total cost: About $600. And now Earle and his family are proud owners of a rooftop solar array, providing about 75 percent of his home’s electricity needs.

by Silvio Marcacci (reuters)

Original Article

Solar Power on the Taxpayers’ Dime

Posted April 20th, 2011

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Someone should really tell the Department of Energy (DOE) about the federal government’s spending crisis.

On Monday, it granted a $2.1 billion loan guarantee to a German developer to help finance a 1,000 megawatt solar thermal power plant in Southern California. But wait, there’s more.

Add to that a $1.6 billion loan guarantee for another plant in California’s Mojave Desert, a $1.2 billion loan guarantee for one in San Luis Obispo County, Calif., and $967 million for a location in Arizona, all since February, according to a Forbes.com report. That’s nearly $6 billion in taxpayer dollars to back up private industry’s green energy ventures.

But that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

According to The Heritage Foundation’s Nicolas Loris, the DOE is one of the fastest growing federal agencies with a budget that grew from $15 billion in FY 2000 to $26.4 billion in FY 2010—a staggering 76 percent increase in only one decade.

Loris has identified $6 billion in possible cuts, among them, $3.2 billion for the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, which is tasked with funding the research and development of “clean energy technologies” — commercializing technologies, not promoting research. Loris writes:

It is neither the DOE’s responsibility nor the role of government to make projects cost-competitive. The company that can make biofuels or any of these other alternative technologies cost-effective and environmentally efficient will reap the rewards for doing so with high profits. Increased competition will directly benefit the consumer, and the DOE should not artificially prop up these technologies and energy sources.

It’s not news that the White House is dedicated to promoting alternative sources of energy as part of its green agenda. But government has a role, and its job is not to undertake tasks better left to the private sector. And that’s especially true in a time when government spending must be contracted, not expanded.

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Author: Mike Brownfield

Original Article

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