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March 23, 2009

Renewable energy requirements

In the Kansas Comprehensive Energy Plan sent to the governor, there is a requirement for a set amount of renewable energy. That’s not a great idea, as it only serves to increase the cost of power to the consumer — pretty much of an indirect tax to support operations that are not necessarily competitive.

The situation in Texas illustrates the problem. Wind is generally at a maximum when electrical demand is at a minimum (late at night) with no clear evidence that the consumer’s bills are lower from all the mandated wind capacity. If the turbines are located in the right spot, they can be economical, but government dictates badly distort the market and lead to unintended consequences.

The ethanol debacle with corn prices is a pretty good example of what can happen.

A better approach: some form of relief to build the facilities, but no ongoing direct or indirect subsidies to support day-to-day operations. That would ease the burden of paying off the debt associated with building a new plant while keeping in play the competitive forces of the marketplace.

Quotas on renewable energy are a bad idea.

Michael F. Keller
Overland Park

Comments

NoMoreMrNiceGuy

I agree with Michael, we must work with all energy technologies. One thing to note however, many of the companies I also work in alliance with in the energy sector can not find enough staffing for their projects as it is. The other component that comes to the front is whether consumers are willing to pay market prices for energy? Who determines what the prices are for given energy products? Government? Maybe whites could be forced to pay higher rates than minorities and married parents could pay more than single parents, that would make it "fair" just like our "progressive" tax system is fair. Maybe we could hand out $1,000 in free energy checks to thsoe that do not already pay for their energy needs and we could bail out energy companies that fail.

Michael

I don't know where people are getting their data but wind is not more predominant in the evening hours...it is more predominant during the peak energy afternoon hours.

Also, in the projects I've worked on, the communities/Counties are receiving anywhere from $10-30 million over the next 30 years from local taxes. It's fulfilling their needs for improving the school district, roads, etc. in communities that are hard hit by the economy.

Sure we will always need some power that can be generated on demand, so let's work together with both wind and non-renewables for the time being...

Engineer

Two things. 1. We have coal reserves that will last for 400 or 500 years or so. 2. Steam turbines are the most efficient fossil fuel drivers for generators, but they must be kept on line. It takes 6 to 8 hours to put one in operation and it is actually a somewhat dangerous procedure.

Stifled Freedom

So what do we do Mr. Keller, continue to exploit fossil fuels which we also know is a dead end? We must have some goals to strive for. We cannot just throw in the towel because a few plans did not work. Nothing worthwhile ever got done that way.

Kee

Well stated Mr. Keller, what the green weenies cannot seem to understand is that oil and coal are the second and third most efficient sources of energy, falling behind only nuclear.

They have contrived the phony baloney global warming issure to cripple our energy capabiliities. Cap and trade favored by the current first moron will raise our utility prices by a minimum of thirty percent. Thanks for my $8.00 per week tax cut, but that won't cover next years electric bills....

Keep on crying out in the wilderness of logic Mr. Keller, maybe one day the fools will listen.

rjr


Where do the parts and labor to build those multi $100 Million wind plants in Kansas come from ? Not Kansas.
Where do the parts and labor for houses, buildings and roads in Kansas come from ? Kansas. Which one of those sentences seems wrong to you? Better question - which one sounds wrong to our legislators ?

Power generated at anytime from renewables reduces the use of fossil fuels - which of course you know are of finite lifespan, perhaps not yours but maybe mine or my children. I expect in a year or two I will want that low demand/low cost nighttime power to charge my electric car - I only drive about 20 miles a day and a plug-in would be great for me and the 90% of the rest of the US who drive short distances. Nighttime produced power will be great for us. Saves oil and no smog/CO2. You do know Kansas City does violate EPA clean air standards EVERY year, right ? Wonder how that happens ?

Are renewables perfect ? Or course not but without the help of people such as yourself who are happily moving into future power sources and conservation techniques we will continue down paths that are known to be harmful to ourselves and our environment.

If we could generate 100% of the demand for nightime power from wind and only have to burn coal during the day - wouldn't you think that was a good thing ? That might be a 25% savings which doesn't sound bad to me. Might keep a power plant or two from being built and our legislators from selling themselves out to Sunflower Electric ( check the contributions to those who vote "YES" on coal, interesting correlation ).

The ethanol "debacle" was the result of unrestricted speculation on oil which drove up the price of anything vaguely related to a fuel of any sort including grains and biodiesel as well. These have all plummeted in many cases by 60% or more - ask your local farmer - funny, the prices we pay for bread/milk/cereal or anything else dependent on grain hasn't dropped .. hmmm. 60 Minutes reported last month that the business owning the largest amount of oil was a trading company (I don't recall name). Not a producer or refiner or supplier. Great show on why we paid $4.25/gallon for gas and oil was at $140/gallon. Today it is $53 and it has even hit as low as $35.
Got nothing to do with Government mandates, in fact you can easily argue it was related to the absence of Government mandates. Free Trade and all that.

rjr

Posted in two parts:

Mr. Keller,

Let me guess - you own stock in Exxon or coal or natural gas companies - right ?

Every one of those received public subsidies to initially bring their products to market and many still do. OK, they all still do. Do you see an extra fuel tax at the gas pump for the cost of the military to support/defend countries that produce oil ? Currently that subsidy has cost us 5,000 lives and some Trillion dollars or so. Who paid for the Alaskan oil tanker spill ?
How about the medical costs associated with the dirty burning of coal ? You don't see that on your KCPL/KPL bill do you ?

My house has a expected life span of 50-100 years. Solar generated electricity and heat could have a payback of between 7 and 10 years and then be relatively free for the next 40 to 90 years - you do expect those rates to go up, right ? Why do California and other states subsidize solar electric panels ? Because they know it saves money / reduces requirements for more power plants.

Do you know what happens when wind/solar plants are built ? They pay taxes and employ people. Do you know what happens when companies and employees pay taxes ? We get reduced tax rates, better services, more roads. Do you know what happens when no plants are built ? We don't get those jobs and the educated employees (these are high tech/smart jobs) and taxes - they go somewhere else that is smarter than us and don't ever come back to Kansas. Do you think Iowa or Colorado are better places to live and work ?
Windmill companies sure think so - they are located there and not here.

 
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