Sunday, July 12, 2009
What We Continue To Get...The Same Old, Tired, GM Mentality,
Failed Energy Projects and Polices Of The Past.
What We Need And Want...
Solar, Wind, Bio, Energy News And Commentary By_Green Earl, 30 year Pioneer In Conservation & Solar Energy
This Opinion Piece Was Published in Today's Record Searchlight
Newspaper and Website located at http://redding.com For an
active link to the piece please click on the heading above.
Our view: A study on the prospects for renewable-energy jobs in the north state shows promise - and high hurdles.
As the economy struggles, both the Obama administration and California's renewable-energy boosters tout the potential for "green jobs" that will put Americans to work and improve the environment at the same time.
But will any job be green enough for the Golden State? A recent report from Chico State University's Center for Economic Development, all the more relevant in light of the recent dispute over new power lines, attempts to tally the potential benefits of renewable energy in rural "Upstate California" and calls it an important source of new jobs for the region.
At the same time, the report notes that the challenges - largely environmental - of developing supposedly green energy are severe. Indeed, the hurdles are high enough to render the payoff from these resources all but illusory and leave California's ambitious renewable-energy goals looking more distant than ever.
First, the good news: The 20 rural Northern California counties are rich with potential sources of renewable energy - streams for small hydro, volcanic formations for geothermal, forests for biomass, and windy ridges. Indeed, we could meet our entire electricity demand using already-identified resources in the region. And developing them, Chico State's economists estimate, would eventually generate thousands of jobs and nearly $1 billion a year in spending in the region.
The reality, though, is trickier, as the report elaborates.
Take small hydroelectric facilities. (Big dams, by state law, are not considered renewable, though they generate no carbon dioxide.) A 2005 California Energy Commission study identified nearly 1,000 megawatts of potential small hydro projects in the rural north - enough to meet Redding's peak use with plenty to spare for Shasta Lake and Anderson - but the Chico State report dryly notes, "The development of much of this capacity is constrained by environmental considerations."
In English, we'd say the rivers will run uphill before the fish and water-quality cops would allow anyone to build those projects. Indeed, the momentum is all toward tearing dams out, not building new hydroelectric turbines.
The challenges are similar for other resources.
Burn waste wood in biomass boilers? You've got air pollution and the hang-ups of doing anything in the woods.
Wind? We have a few nice breezy belts, but the report notes that cost-effective deployment requires a site "near transmission lines of adequate capacity and appropriate voltage." Power lines - say no more.
Tapping the earth's heat for power? The report says the best site is eastern Siskiyou County, but Indian groups and environmentalists fought the development of a geothermal plant there, at Medicine Lake, for years - and won. Another good site is near Lassen Volcanic National Park, which has a snowball's chance in a sulphur pot of seeing any industrial development.
The report is clear-eyed about the difficulties, and it concludes that any strategy for developing renewable power must identify the constraints and how to get around them. Now would be a good time to start up that steep hill.
In any case, the paradox is powerful. One barrier to green power is the sheer cost, but perhaps the biggest snag in the path of more environmentally friendly energy is our own concern for and laws protecting the environment
Comments » 1
During 30 years of conservation and solar generation (both kinds) Solar domestic hot water and solar electric. My study involving actually creating renewable energy jobs, has a much more positive result than it sounds like the Chico State study does.
Without fail, every time the educated, experts study renewable energy generation they usually completely leave out or fail to include the effects a comprehensive conservation program would have on the actual electric generation need.
It can be substantial. My study suggest 30% reduction or more. Want to increase the result to 50% or more? Add solar domestic hot water heating, for showers, dishes, house heating, spa heating and pool heating. Now even solar air-conditioning is viable.
A solar DHW heating system is 85% effective compared to a PV collector (speaking in terms of collector area verses energy produced) at about 20% of the cost.
So I'm wondering if the Chico study conducted, addresses these two important facts. I know, REU has not been as aggressive in this area as it could. Nor has PG&E and most of the rest. You have to ask yourself why these experts continue to attempt to take our communities down the TANC path to the same old GM mentality, failed and polluting policies of the past?
Their idea of what's Green and mine, are two different things. Hope you get my point.
Think Globally...But act Locally._Green Earl, Founder
American Energy Conservation Group
Creating Negawatts......Since 1981
Thanks for the visit_Green Earl