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Costly Credits

Energy subsidies costly for residents

March 10, 2013

State officials should not be in the business of picking winners and losers in the private sector, particularly when they use West Virginians’ hard-earned money to do so....

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(27)

AaronS

Mar-13-13 4:15 PM

"A quick search didn't yield enough of Mr. Boone's argument to fully answer your objection. For a preliminary answer, though:

Mr. Boone is certainly "noted". Some would question "expert".

Mr. Boone doesn't object to wind turbines on the Great Plains."

If you get nothing else from this conversation, I would suggest you do some research on Dan Boone and the National Wind Watch. If you do, you will find that statements like “Coal will in the long run kill more bats & birds than windmills” are at the very least debatable. If you read the complete studies with an open mind, you’ll understand why they are ignorant.

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AaronS

Mar-13-13 2:44 PM

I agree Neo as I still have very little idea what you champion here. You move the target about as much as our President.

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neocurmudgeon74

Mar-13-13 1:30 PM

I agree that we've gone about as far as we can here.

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AaronS

Mar-13-13 6:41 AM

There's a couple of topics that I find it useless to debate neo, global warming is one of them. It's not that I don't doubt Earth is undergoing climate change, I just don't see enough evidence to convince me that it's all due to man other than our existence.

Dan Boone was part of a study about 15 years ago that evidenced wind turbines were more harmful to interiors forest than MTR mining. I don't know his feelings about wind or mining, I just know what the study concluded.

I'm all for each energy source bearing their true cost but let's at least admit the truth and not ignore the facts. If you're going to do that you might as well work for the coal association.

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neocurmudgeon74

Mar-12-13 3:12 PM

"Dan Boone, a noted interior forest expert who testified before Congress that construction and operation of windmills is far more harmful to interior forest than mountain top mining."

A quick search didn't yield enough of Mr. Boone's argument to fully answer your objection. For a preliminary answer, though:

Mr. Boone is certainly "noted". Some would question "expert".

Mr. Boone doesn't object to wind turbines on the Great Plains.

Mr. Boone's objection to wind turbines in the Allegheny highlands has been compared to Robert F. Kennedy Jr.'s opposition to the Cape Wind energy facility proposed off Nantucket Sound. (I'm not a great fan of Bobby Jr. either.)

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neocurmudgeon74

Mar-12-13 2:51 PM

"I’ve read the Constitution and I’m not sure what article that falls under."

Considering how much legislation has been shoved through under the Interstate Commerce clause, atmospheric pollution fits more easily than most of them.

But if it doesn't fit there, it's worth amending the Constitution to permit a carbon tax (as the 16th Amendment allowed the income tax.) But let us start solving the carbon problem, while you comb through most of the laws in the U.S. Code to see which of them need a Constitutional Amendment to continue in force.

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neocurmudgeon74

Mar-12-13 2:40 PM

btw you mixed 2 topics. Subsidizing alternative energy doesn't force anyone to pay their true cost; carbon tax does that.

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neocurmudgeon74

Mar-12-13 2:37 PM

"How are subsidizing alternative energy sources forcing companies to pay their true cost?"

Suppose I open a slaughterhouse next to your place. I'm barely breaking even. I notice I'm paying a lot to have waste hauled off, so I cancel the contract & dump the waste next to your place -- where every time it rains hard, all that stuff washes over onto your land. Now I'm making enough money that I can open another slaughterhouse somewhere else.

The law probably will grant you relief, will take months to years.

But if I own a powerplant & dump carbon dioxide into the air, there's no law against that. Every time you join those trying to stop such laws, think of those hog guts washing onto your property b/c the slaughterhouse owner doesn't have to pay the true cost of his business.

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AaronS

Mar-12-13 12:09 PM

“Coal will in the long run kill more bats & birds than windmills. What else?”

Not according to Dan Boone, a noted interior forest expert who testified before Congress that construction and operation of windmills is far more harmful to interior forest than mountain top mining.

“American business is ready to gear up -- as soon as they have to pay the true cost of pollution directly, instead of indirectly. Carbon tax, cap&trade, cap&lease -- there are several ways to approach that.”

How are subsidizing alternative energy sources forcing companies to pay their true cost?

“…but government has a smaller but very important role in funding basic research.”

Why? I’ve read the Constitution and I’m not sure what article that falls under.

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neocurmudgeon74

Mar-12-13 11:06 AM

I'm saying that government should not "pick winners" by subsidizing startup businesses -- but government has a smaller but very important role in funding basic research. (Including finding those harms from new technologies that you talk so much about -- which the companies deploying new technologies have little interest in discovering or publicizing.)

Private industry can fund development: anything they can patent, or anything that can be kept a trade secret. But they're understandably reluctant to pour a lot of money into basic research that can't be applied w/o escaping into the public domain.

Government also has, as always, a role in keeping competition open by seeing that big companies don't protect everything, that small companies have a large space in which to compete & innovate.

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neocurmudgeon74

Mar-12-13 10:53 AM

I'm saying if there is a problem, the free market can solve most of it. American business is ready to gear up -- as soon as they have to pay the true cost of pollution directly, instead of indirectly. Carbon tax, cap&trade, cap&lease -- there are several ways to approach that.

Companies will pass these costs along to the ratepayer, which will be a bit of a shock. But in the long run, our OTHER costs won't rise as fast, offsetting those higher rates. Storm insurance, crop failures, border control, etc.

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neocurmudgeon74

Mar-12-13 10:47 AM

I'm saying that you have to show a lot of harm from the alternatives to outweigh the harm caused by fossil fuels. Coal will in the long run kill more bats & birds than windmills. What else?

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AaronS

Mar-12-13 9:25 AM

I'm sorry Neo, but it's not well said because I have no idea what you're talking about. Are you saying we should throw good money after bad on unproven technologies that harm the environment because of climate change?

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denver

Mar-11-13 6:12 PM

Well said "neocurmudgeon74"

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neocurmudgeon74

Mar-11-13 4:33 PM

No one can predict yet what changes will occur where. The Yukon may be a corn belt, WV a banana republic, pineapples will come from Ohio, & Florida will be the size Connecticut is now -- we just don't know yet what to plan for. What we can predict w/ some confidence is that the RATE OF CHANGE will be disruptive.

Although it doesn't appear to be that fast yet, it's like you're running under a high fly ball, yelling, "I got it! I got it! I got it! I got it! I don't got it!"

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neocurmudgeon74

Mar-11-13 4:32 PM

AaronS, it's a good thing we have all that fossil fuel, b/c when Iowa gets so hot & dry they have to grow corn in air-conditioned greenhouses, we'll need a lot of electricity.

& what causes so much need for fossil fuels? Fossil fuels! It's as good a business model as giving out free samples of crystal meth.

Of course, w/ enough research in genetic engineering we may be able to raise the heat tolerance of plants considerably. & we know how to grow food if the climate gets wetter. But if the drying rate goes so high that all the irrigation water evaporates, we may only be able to grow food indoors. & what will all that water vapor in the atmosphere do? As clouds, reduce the sunlight available for photosynthesis. As vapor, raise the greenhouse effect.

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AaronS

Mar-11-13 8:11 AM

How much oil do we have left? According to the United States Geological Survey's (USGS) latest report, published in 2000, the planet had 3 tn barrels of oil and gas before we started using it up. It calculates we have used some 700 bn, leaving 2.3 tn barrels underground. A simple calculation using data from the Centre for Global Energy Studies (CGES) shows that with 28.8 bn barrels currently being used a year (79 mm a day), there is some 80 years of supply left in the ground.

-------

That is from the USGS and doesn't take into consideration what role conservation, natural gas or unproven reserves play. When that was released, it was thought that the tar sands that encompass most of North America would never be usable.

I understand that mankind cannot rely on gas, oil and coal forever but we don’t have to believe the sky is falling and waste taxpayer dollars on unproven energy sources that damage the environment, especially when there is a proven alternative.

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denver

Mar-11-13 5:35 AM

Oil and gas are non-renewable: they will not last forever. New sources of oil and gas are constantly being sought. It is thought that the current resources under the North Sea will last about another 20 years and the world resources will last for about 70 years.

Google, Science Online: Non-renewable Energy Resources.

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AaronS

Mar-10-13 11:06 PM

“Can a West Virginian who installs solar panels sell excess electricity into the grid?”

Yes but the money required to provide enough energy to sell back will cost you far more than you’ll recoup. All you have to do is look at all the local sanitary treatment plants that spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to off-set electric bills 1/20th of the investment. As for alternative energy sources, there is one but Americans don’t want to invest in nuclear. They would rather spend billions on methods that are proven NOT to work instead of investing in the future. They tout ‘green’ fuels but ignore the facts regarding damage by alternatives and instead try to spin lies.

They tell us were running out of oil, coal and gas even though 100’s of years are discovered every year and instead tell us we have to convert to “alternative” fuels that cost as much as 10 times fossil fuels. Perhaps oil will run out in a century or 2 but that doesn’t mean we have to jump ship today.

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denver

Mar-10-13 7:53 PM

All of the oil will be gone someday. It is important that we have energy available. It is an national security issue that we need to develop alternative energy such as Geothermal, Solar and Wind power for our electricity. Any oil supplies developed within our country only wind up being sold to other countries on the world market along with the natural gas we have. We have known this for many years yet every time the price of oil drops a little we abandon our push towards alternative energy. You see a republican representatives expressing discontent over the fact that the Navy is paying higher prices for Bio fuels, yet if we don't do this, we will be held hostage and be fighting wars for what small portions of oil remain. It is not only a save our planet moment, but one that is a save our nation moment. Things don't have to be profitable to the few to be what is right for us as a whole.

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neocurmudgeon74

Mar-10-13 5:34 PM

Mandates aside, can a West Virginian who installs solar panels sell excess electricity into the grid? I don't know, I'm asking. At reasonable rates, adjustable for peak or off-peak hours, it hurts no one & should be available. All the power company has to do is install a "smart meter".

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neocurmudgeon74

Mar-10-13 5:27 PM

Editorial ignores the fact that WV produces natural gas, propane & butane. We're not just Coal 'R' Us anymore.

We need a choice of what to fuel up with. Made a start on CNG several years ago, but now the time may be right.

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denver

Mar-10-13 1:16 PM

Just ask our fine Congressmen Mckinley how much Big Coal give to him!

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AaronS

Mar-10-13 11:53 AM

This opinion piece is spot on. Government has no business wasting our tax dollars on unproven products the public simply doesn't want. That's not the role of government.

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gorilla

Mar-10-13 10:26 AM

Federal energy research should be phased-out as an unneeded cost in an era of massive government budget deficits.

The private sector is capable of researching coal, nuclear, solar, oil, gas and alternative energy sources.

The competiveness in the private market has always produced results at less expense than any government sponsored program(s).

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