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Solar power incentives

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By Shannon Bell

Anyone who’s looked into installing solar panels for their home know that solar power for the entire home is very expensive. At minimum, most homeowners can expect to pay at least $15,000. At maximum, homeowners may pay as much as $45,000 or even $60,000 for a solar panel array that will power their entire home.

However, both federal and state tax credits aim to encourage homeowners to take on a solar project anyway. The federal government, according to the US Department of Energy, will kick in 30% of the cost for a solar project registered before December 31, 2016. A 30% tax break would bring the cost of a $15,000 solar project down to $10,500.

Feinstein says “No!” to solar panels in desert

Kent Bernhard Jr. has written a very well-thought opinion in Portfolio.com. He discusses the realities of creating energy to support our lifestyles and the inherent difficulty in doing so without disturbing the environment in some way. There are no easy answers and no secret formula to create fuel for our consumption. In fact, the only way that we can not affect the environment is to probably revert to the ways of the historical Native American Indians.

Mr. Bernhard goes into great detail on the subject.  He discusses natural gas, wind power, and nuclear.  Please click through and read the entire article but my version will only focus on the first part. In this sampling he discusses Sen. Diane Feinstein and her efforts to block solar energy from the desert.

Lord Turnbull’s comments

I thought that Lord Turnbull’s speach in front of the House of Lords on December 8, 2009 was very well done. It does an excellent job of praising many in the community for their efforts in addition to appropriately questioning the correct next action. As this is a public forum paid for by British taxpayers, I feel that I can include his complete comments here.

I especially like the realism in his comments about the exporting of carbon usage to China (or other less developed countries) and then blaming those countries for their dramatic increase. This is an issue that is often overlooked in the discussion of curtailing carbon output in any individual country.

Windmills Are Killing Our Birds

The subject of windmills killing birds has been discussed occasionally on the web for several years. Every time the subject gets popular, it suddenly seems to drop out of vogue to discuss. The argument is always that the bird fatalities are a fraction of other human activity and therefore not significant.

There is little doubt that windmills kill birds and bats. Their remains are found at the foot of windmills on a regular basis. Robert Bryce, the author of “Gusher of Lies: The Dangerous Delusions of ‘Energy Independence‘”, “Pipe Dreams: Greed, Ego, and the Death of Enron“, and “Cronies: How Texas Business Became American Policy– and Brought Bush to Power” recently wrote in the Wall Street Journal that the wind energy industry is being held to a different standard than other energy companies.

New Priorities For Our Energy Future

Boone Pickens and Ted Turner are well respected businessmen (the former a big  investor and the latter a media mogul and founder of CNN). Both have a history of speaking their mind on public issues and both have a history of making huge sums of money.

While I certainly do not begrudge this gentlemen the right to speak their mind, I wonder if this message (that may be good for America) also is good for their business interests. Mr. Pickens is renown in the energy sector and a large scale switch to natural gas would likely help his wallet. Mr. Turner is a very large landowner in the western States and my gut is that he has found large deposits of natural gas under some of his holdings.

The impression of doing good

Dilbert and his boss once again point out the hypocrisy of life.  In this case it is due to trying to be environmentally good.

Dilbert.com

It is hard to be good.  Sorry, Mr. Gore, but it is true.  Here are a few inconvenient facts:

  1. It is very dangerous to the health of you and your children to live in a home or enter a room where a CFL (compact fluorescent) bulb has broken.  That danger is minimized if you have had the room cleaned by a hazardous waste team.  What is the problem?  Mercury.  Check out this article.
  2. While Toyota and others are offering a bounty for the return of their hybrid batteries, the disposal of all those ecologically unsafe batteries is a real concern.

Global Wind Day

Today is Global Wind Day.

While there are some problems with relying on wind power for the bulk of our energy needs in the US, wind probably has a place to augment and help us meet our needs, especially if the US doesn’t quickly add more nuclear generation capability!

A short video from Wind Power Works

 

While I typically do not reproduce pages in whole, I am going to put the entire text of the Wind Day campaign here for your convenience. You should also go to the Global Wind Day site.

Geothermal Future

While I am a big proponent of nuclear energy to solve our energy needs as well as to allow us a green source of energy, geothermal also offers some advantages that may be worth considering.

Like nuclear, it takes years to implement a large geothermal plant (perhaps decades). It is imperative that the United States aggressively and quickly begins the construction of these alternative sources of energy rather than building more coal fired plants.

The NY Times ran an editorial on geothermal which I have reproduced, in part, below. Also, for those that don’t understand the technology, the following video will allow you to learn the basics.

In short, geothermal energy is:

  • safe to operate in very populated areas

9 Jobs Lost For Every 4 Created

I will repeat the title with the full quote:

“Spain’s experience reveals with high confidence, by two different methods, that the U.S. should expect a loss of at least 2.2 jobs on average, or about 9 jobs lost for every 4 created.”

Tony Blankley opines on RealClearPolitics (and elsewhere) that using government funding for creation of “green” jobs will reduce the net number of jobs in the US. If you are not familiar with Mr. Blankley, you can find his editorial work on The Washington Times, hear him occasionally on The MacLaughlin Group and he is the most intelligent voice on the nationally syndicated Left, Right and Center.

Renewable energy – our downfall?

There is a great post on the problems with all sorts of renewable energy on Watt’s Up With That.  He does a great job of explaining the various downsides of most power sources and their lack of compatibility with the modern needs of our society.

The article is a posting of an essay by Ralph Ellis but I couldn’t find the original essay to link to.

Check out the article here.

The article discusses

  • wind power
  • solar power
  • nuclear power
  • tidal power
  • hydrogen power
  • traditional coal and oil power

The conclusion is that most of the “alternatives” actually hurt our environment more or cost us dramatically more money.  The only realistic alternative is nuclear.