renewable energy

For Arizona voters – Let’s Finish the Job and Repeal Arizona’s Existing Renewable Energy Mandate

In the November election, Arizona voters rightly and overwhelmingly rejected Proposition 127 which would have established an amendment to the Arizona Constitution requiring that 50 percent of electricity be generated from renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. We need to finish the job and get the Arizona legislature to repeal the existing 15 percent renewable energy mandate imposed upon us by the Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC) in 2006.

In 2013, I wrote an article outlining why this mandate is very bad policy, see:

Five reasons Arizona should repeal its renewable energy standards mandate.

Here is a brief summary of those reasons:

1) Electricity generated from solar and wind is much more expensive than conventional generation. That expense is reflected in higher electricity bills. My current bill from Tucson Electric Power shows “surcharges” directly attributable to the mandate totaling an extra $230 per year. I expect those charges to double as we transition from the current 7 percent renewables to the mandated 15 percent. The ACC itself estimated that, through 2025, the mandate would cost consumers $1.2 billion more than they would have paid for conventional energy sources.

2) Renewable energy sources such as wind and solar are intermittent, unpredictable, and unreliable. The electric grid is the lifeblood of modern civilization. Solar and wind generation can make the grid unstable and unreliable.

3) Because generation from renewable energy sources is intermittent and unpredictable, these sources require backup generation which is usually by burning fossil fuels. Experience in Europe shows that backup generators actually use more fuel and produce more carbon dioxide emissions and pollutants such as sulfur dioxide than they normally would if they were run efficiently for primary generation.

4) Use of renewable energy will not impact climate. If Arizona stopped all carbon dioxide emissions it could theoretically prevent a temperature rise of 0.0014°C by 2050. (source)

5) Finally, renewable energy is not as green as advertized.

The manufacturing and disposal processes for solar panels put several dangerous chemicals into the environment. Wind turbines chop up birds and bats. Wind turbines also have deleterious effects on human health, see: Health Hazards of Wind Turbines

Petition the Arizona legislature to end the mandate.

Article 15 of the Arizona Constitution deals with the ACC. Perhaps section 6 of that article provides a means for the legislature to rescind the mandate. It reads:

Section 6. The law-making power may enlarge the powers and extend the duties of the corporation commission, and may prescribe rules and regulations to govern proceedings instituted by and before it; but, until such rules and regulations are provided by law, the commission may make rules and regulations to govern such proceedings. [my emphasis]

Perhaps the legislature could pass a law that says: The ACC shall not mandate the method by which electricity is generated in Arizona. Any and all existing mandates are hereby rescinded and declared null and void.

 

Such a law does not mean that electric companies can’t use renewable energy. It just means that government bureaucrats can’t tell them they must.

The Arizona legislature reconvenes in mid January. Between now and then, please contact your state senator and two state representatives and urge them to repeal the ACC mandate.

To find contact information for your state legislators:

First find your Arizona legislative districthttps://azredistricting.org/districtlocator/

You will have to type in your address or zip code. This site will show both your federal congressional district number and your Arizona legislative district number.

Find an alphabetical list of members of the legislature (with phone numbers and email address):

https://www.azleg.gov/MemberRoster/

Scroll down the list until you find the legislators in your district.

To send a message from the roster:

You can click on the name in the 4th column to get to a message form. Or to send an email directly, use the name in the 4th column on the list and add: @azleg.gov

For regular mail, use this address: Legislator name, Arizona State Senate (or House of Representatives), 1700 W. Washington, Phoenix, AZ 85007.

We should rely upon the free market and let utility companies generate electricity by the method they see as most efficient, cost effective, and reliable. Most renewable energy sources are none of those things.

 

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Why You Should Vote NO on Arizona Proposition 127, the renewable energy mandate (Update)

Proposition 127 is very bad policy because: 1) wind and solar generation of electricity are both expensive and unreliable; 2) wind and solar generation can be dangerous to wildlife, human health, and the environment; and 3) the perceived need for more wind and solar generation is based on the false assumption that carbon dioxide emissions are a major cause of global warming.

The method of generating electricity should not be determined by one-size-fits-all government mandates, but rather by local market conditions and resources.

In the following summary I explain the problems with renewable energy. More background is available in the references at the end of this post.

Arizona proposition 127, dubbed “The Clean Energy for a Healthy Arizona Amendment” will amend the Arizona Constitution to require affected electric utilities generate at least 50% of their annual retail sales of electricity from renewable energy sources by 2030. The amendment defines renewable energy sources to include solar, wind, small-scale hydropower, and other sources that are replaced rapidly by a natural, ongoing process (excluding nuclear or fossil fuel). Distributed renewable energy sources, like rooftop solar, must comprise at least 10% of utilities’ annual retail sales of electricity by 2030. The Amendment allows electric utilities to earn and trade credits to meet these requirements. (Read full text)

Arizona currently produces half of its renewable energy from hydropower generated at the large dams on the Colorado River, but, according to the proposed amendment, this electricity is not to be counted toward the 50% mandated goal. According to the Energy Information Administration, power plants in Arizona generate more electricity than the state consumes, and Arizona generating stations supply electricity to consumers throughout the southwest.

 

Expensive:

Promoters of proposition 127 claim that (based on computer modeling) more renewable energy generation will decrease the price of electricity. The computer model claims that “average electricity bills in 2030 would be three dollars a month lower if Arizona pursues a high-renewables future, and five dollars a month lower in 2040.”

Contrary to claims of proposition promoters, real-world experience shows that the price of electricity can triple as the percentage of wind and solar generation increases. According to data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration, Arizona’s existing 7 percent renewable power mandate (on its way up to 15%) cost the average Arizona household $304 in higher electricity charges in 2017. At 50 percent renewables, as required by prop. 127, that could rise to an additional $2,179 per year compared to present electricity costs. (Source: The Heartland Institute) Higher electricity rates disproportionally impact the poor. (See this story)

My own electric bill from Tucson Electric Power is running at the rate of an extra charge of $230 per year due to the renewable energy mandate. A curious thing: These charges used to be listed on the bill as “Green Energy Charges” but since March, 2017, they are listed merely as “Surcharges.”

Electricity produced by wind and solar turns out to be much more expensive than electricity produced from coal and natural gas. That is mainly because wind and solar are unreliable, they can’t respond to demand. Therefore they need nuclear or fossil fuel generated electricity as backup which causes the fossil fuel plants to run inefficiently which is more expensive (and produces more carbon dioxide).

Europe has been a world leader in using wind and solar energy. The price, however, is high. Real operational data show that the more installed solar and wind capacity per capita a country has, the higher the price people pay for electricity. (Source) In some European countries electricity prices are triple the average cost in the U.S. Ironically, carbon dioxide emissions in those countries are rising while in the U.S. emissions are decreasing. Also ironically, according to the New York Times, renewables are helping to push nuclear power, the main source of zero-emissions electricity in the United States, into bankruptcy.

Australia has been flirting with replacing coal generation with renewables. Australian engineers warn 55% renewables will add $1400 to electricity bills, an 84% increase in electricity rates. (Source) The state of South Australian generates about 50 percent of its electricity from wind and solar power. South Australia’s consumer electricity prices are the highest in the world and electric reliability is one of the worst in the developed world. (Source)

California: According to Environmental Progress, a pro-nuclear advocacy group:

Between 2011 and 2017, California’s electricity prices rose five times faster than they did nationally. Today, Californians pay 60 percent more, on average, than the rest of the nation, for residential, commercial, and industrial electricity. California’s high penetration of intermittent renewables such as solar and wind are likely a key factor in higher prices. (LinkHad California spent an estimated $100 billion on nuclear instead of on wind and solar, it would already have had enough energy to replace all fossil fuels in its in-state electricity mix according to a new analysis by Environmental Progress.

study by the left-of-center Brookings Institution found replacing conventional power with wind power raises electricity prices 50 percent, and replacing conventional power with solar power triples electricity costs.

From the Brookings report:

Costs are much higher for three reasons. First, the cost per MW [megawatt] of capacity to build a wind or solar plant is quite high (and much greater than that of a gas-fired plant). The cost per MW of solar capacity is especially high. Reductions in the cost of solar-voltaic panels have reduced the cost of building a solar plant by 22 percent between 2010 and 2012, but further reductions are likely to have a lesser effect because the cost of solar panels is only a fraction of the total cost of a utility-scale solar plant.

Second, a wind or solar plant operates at full capacity only a fraction of the time, when the wind is blowing or the sun is shining. For example, a typical solar plant in the United States operates at only about 15 percent of full capacity and a wind plant only about 25 percent of full capacity, while a coal plant can operate 90 percent of full capacity on a year-round basis.

Third, the output of wind and solar plants is highly variable—year by year, month by month, day by day and hour by hour—compared to a coal-fired plant… Thus more than six solar plants and four wind plants are required to produce the same output with the same degree of reliability as a coal-fired plant of the same capacity.

The Institute for Energy Research (IER) is a not-for-profit organization that conducts intensive research and analysis on the functions, operations, and government regulation of global energy markets. They conclude: “As a means of producing useful electrical power, wind and solar are very expensive generating technologies because of their low capacity factors and because of their non-dispatchability and intermittency.” (Source)

It has been proposed that the intermittency problem with wind and solar can be solved by battery storage. But an MIT Technology Review article says that would be too expensive: “The $2.5 trillion reason we can’t rely on batteries to clean up the grid: Fluctuating solar and wind power require lots of energy storage, and lithium-ion batteries seem like the obvious choice—but they are far too expensive to play a major role.” The $2.5 trillion battery system would provide just 12 hours of storage for the entire U.S. (Link)

Dangerous:

Utility scale wind and solar installations require vast expanses of land that affect local habitats. Wind turbines chop up birds and bats, including endangered species. Solar installations burn up birds and other flying animals. Low frequency sound from wind turbines causes a variety of human ailments. The manufacturing and disposal of solar panels put dangerous chemicals into the environment. For example, many PV solar panels rely on polysilicon being manufactured in large quantities and at high quality. A byproduct of polysilicon production is silicon tetrachloride, a highly toxic substance that poses a major environmental hazard. Wherever silicon tetrachloride is dumped, the land becomes totally infertile. A major environmental cost of photovoltaic solar energy is toxic chemical pollution (arsenic, gallium, and cadmium) and energy consumption associated with the large-scale manufacture of photovoltaic panels. Does that sound like “clean energy”?

recent study shows that solar modules cause more greenhouse gas emissions than modern coal power plants. It turns out that because of the emissions of extraordinarily potent greenhouse gases nitrogen trifluoride and sulfur hexafluoride and energy requirements of manufacturing solar modules, solar energy ends up being worse for the climate than burning coal.

(See references 5 & 6)

Another danger is that proposition 127 is intended to be an amendment to the Arizona Constitution rather than a statute. It will therefore be much harder to repeal once its utter folly is realized.

The false assumption:

The push for renewable energy, especially wind and solar generation, is based on the contention that carbon dioxide emissions from burning fossil fuels are a significant cause of global warming.

This claim is not based on physical evidence but only upon garbage-in, garbage-out computer models, the results of which diverge widely from observations. The U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is the major promoter of the human-caused global warming scare. Yet, in five major reports, the IPCC does not provide any physical evidence that carbon dioxide emissions play a significant role in global warming. I have asked several university climate scientists who support the claim to cite supporting physical evidence. Although they are alleged experts in the field, they could not cite any physical evidence. They devolve to computer modeling. On the other hand, there are several lines of physical evidence that show carbon dioxide emissions do not enhance the dread greenhouse effect. (See references 1, 2, 3, 4, 8 & 9) Many scientific studies present physical evidence showing that carbon dioxide is but a bit player among the many factors influencing climate change. (See these references: link)

A report from the Science and Public Policy Institute estimates the temperature savings theoretically obtained by stopping all carbon dioxide emissions for each state and for the U.S. as a whole. According to SPPI, if Arizona stopped all carbon dioxide emissions, it would theoretically prevent a temperature rise of 0.0014°C by 2050 and 0.0029°C by 2100. If the U.S. stopped all carbon dioxide emissions, it would theoretically prevent a temperature rise of 0.172°C by 2100. (Link to report) Do you think that’s worth the higher electricity prices and disruption of the electric grid?

In the entire geological history of the planet, there has been no known linkage between CO2 and temperatures other than that temperature controls the solubility of CO2 in the oceans. (See reference 8) The war on carbon dioxide tries to cure a problem that does not exist.

Generating more electricity from solar and wind is just a very expensive exercise in political correctness that will have little impact on carbon dioxide emissions, but a big impact on your wallet, and an adverse impact on electric grid stability and the environment. (See reference 7) If you really want low/no emissions generation of electricity, we should invest in more nuclear generation which is always there when you need it.

“The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed and hence clamorous to be led to safety by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.” – H. L. Mencken

Note: This article is based upon my own observations and research. I have had no dealings with any of the several PACs organized for or against the proposition. This article may be reprinted provided credit is given to the author and link back to the original.

References:

1. A Simple Question for Climate Alarmists

2. Evidence that CO2 emissions do not intensify the greenhouse effect

3. Failure of climate models shows that carbon dioxide does not drive global temperature

4. Health Effects of global warming on humans

5. Avian mortality from solar farms

6. Health Hazards of Wind Turbines

7. The high cost of electricity from wind and solar generation

8. An examination of the relationship between temperature and carbon dioxide

9. What keeps Earth warm – the greenhouse effect or something else?

10. Audit of main temperature database used by IPCC finds multiple errors

 

Vote NO on Arizona proposition 127 the renewable energy mandate

Arizona proposition 127, dubbed “The Clean Energy for a Healthy Arizona Amendment” has qualified for inclusion on the November ballot although it is still being challenged in court. If this amendment to the Arizona Constitution actually reaches the ballot it would, if passed, require affected electric utilities to provide at least 50% of their annual retail sales of electricity from renewable energy sources by 2030. The amendment defines renewable energy sources to include solar, wind, small-scale hydropower, and other sources that are replaced rapidly by a natural, ongoing process (excluding nuclear or fossil fuel). Distributed renewable energy sources, like rooftop solar, must comprise at least 10% of utilities’ annual retail sales of electricity by 2030. The Amendment allows electric utilities to earn and trade credits to meet these requirements. (Read full text)

Arizona currently produces half of its renewable energy from hydropower created by the large dams on the Colorado River, but, according to the proposed amendment, this electricity is not counted in the 50% mandate. According to the Energy Information Administration, power plants in Arizona generate more electricity than the state consumes, and Arizona generating stations supply electricity to consumers throughout the southwest.

In my opinion, this amendment is very bad policy. It is stupid, dangerous, and expensive. In the following summary I explain. More background is available in the references at the end of this post.

Stupid:

The push toward renewable energy, especially wind and solar generation, is based on a false premise: the contention that carbon dioxide emissions from burning fossil fuels are a significant cause of global warming, and that global warming is dangerous. Utility scale wind and solar installations would not exist were it not based on this false assumption, mandates, and subsidies.

This claim is not based on physical evidence but only upon garbage-in, garbage-out computer models, the results of which diverge widely from observations. I have asked several university climate scientists who support the claim to cite supporting physical evidence. Although they are alleged experts in the field, they could not cite any physical evidence. On the other hand there are several lines of physical evidence that show carbon dioxide emissions do not enhance the dread greenhouse effect. (See references 1, 2, 3 & 4)

Dangerous:

Utility scale wind and solar installations require vast expanses of land that affect local habitats. Wind turbines chop up birds and bats, including endangered species. Solar installations burn up birds and other flying animals. Low frequency sound from wind turbines causes a variety of human ailments. The manufacturing and disposal of solar panels put dangerous chemicals into the environment. For example, many PV solar panels rely on polysilicon being manufactured in large quantities and at high quality. A byproduct of polysilicon production is silicon tetrachloride, a highly toxic substance that poses a major environmental hazard. Wherever silicon tetrachloride is dumped, the land becomes totally infertile. A major environmental cost of photovoltaic solar energy is toxic chemical pollution (arsenic, gallium, and cadmium) and energy consumption associated with the large-scale manufacture of photovoltaic panels.

new study shows that solar modules cause more greenhouse gas emissions than modern coal power plants. It turns out that because of the emissions of extraordinarily potent greenhouse gases nitrogen trifluoride and sulfur hexafluoride and energy requirements of manufacturing solar modules, solar energy ends up being worse for the climate than burning coal (assuming the greenhouse global warming hypothesis is valid). (See references 5 & 6)

Expensive:

Electricity produce by wind and solar turns out to be much more expensive than electricity produced from coal and natural gas. That is mainly because wind and solar are unreliable, they can’t respond to demand. Therefore they need nuclear or fossil fuel generated electricity as backup which causes the fossil fuel plants to run inefficiently which produces more carbon dioxide.

Europe has been a world leader in using wind and solar energy. The price, however, is high. The more installed solar and wind capacity per capita a country has, the higher the price people pay for electricity. In some European countries electricity prices are triple the average cost in the U.S. Ironically, carbon dioxide emissions in those countries are rising while in the U.S. emissions are decreasing. Also ironically, according to the New York Times, renewables are helping to push nuclear power, the main source of zero-carbon electricity in the United States, into bankruptcy.

 

Generating more electricity from solar and wind is just a very expensive exercise in political correctness that will have little impact on carbon dioxide emissions, but a big impact on your wallet and an adverse impact on electric grid stability and the environment.

 

References:

1. A Simple Question for Climate Alarmists

2. Evidence that CO2 emissions do not intensify the greenhouse effect

3. Failure of climate models shows that carbon dioxide does not drive global temperature

4. Health Effects of global warming on humans

5. Avian mortality from solar farms

6. Health Hazards of Wind Turbines

7. The high cost of wind and solar generation of electricity

 

Vegan energy – greener than green

Only in England. A British energy company, Ecotricity, is promoting “vegan energy.”

So called “green energy” is that produced by harnessing power from solar, wind, wave and tidal sources. Ecotricity claims that some green energy companies, mostly those that burn biomass, also burn animal byproducts. The horror. The Ecotricity website lists those offending British companies.

Ecotricity claims, “We’re the only energy supplier in the UK that’s registered with The Vegan Society for our green electricity. We’ve verified all of the energy sources that go into making our electricity to ensure we aren’t inadvertently using animals in our energy production.” Read more

See more madness here:

Climate Madness 1

Climate Madness 2

Climate Madness 3

Climate Madness 4  

Climate Madness 5

Climate Madness 6

Climate Madness 7

Climate Madness 8

Climate Madness 9

Climate Madness 10

Why replacing fossil-fuel generation of electricity with solar or wind is dangerous

Renewable energy for generation of electricity (solar and wind) is the politically correct panacea to fight the bogeyman of global warming. However, experience has shown that replacing electrical generation by fossil fuels with wind or solar generation makes the power supply unreliable and leads to electrical grid instability, much higher electricity costs, environmental problems, and very little decrease in carbon dioxide emissions. The renewable energy industry would probably not exist without mandates and subsidies. Fossil-fuel generated electricity responds to demand and is available 24/7; solar or wind generated electricity is not.

There is currently a campaign by the Arizona Corporation Commission to mandate that 50 percent of electricity be generated from renewable sources. This is very dangerous as noted below.

Experience from Europe shows that the more installed solar and wind capacity per capita a country has, the higher the price people pay for electricity. In some European countries, electricity prices are three times higher than the average price in the U.S., see:

https://wryheat.wordpress.com/2018/02/27/the-high-cost-of-electricity-from-wind-and-solar-generation/ 

Also, there is no physical evidence that carbon dioxide emissions from burning fossil fuels intensifies the greenhouse effect. On the other hand , there are several lines of physical evidence that such emissions do not enhance the greenhouse effect, the alleged cause of global warming:

https://wryheat.wordpress.com/2014/11/19/evidence-that-co2-emissions-do-not-intensify-the-greenhouse-effect/

Following are some articles on this issue. Perhaps these stories will convince Arizona voters and Arizona legislators of the foolishness of renewable energy mandates.

AZ Clean Energy Constitutional Amendment Would Shut down Nuclear Power in State

By H. Sterling Burnett, Heartland Institute

California hedge fund billionaire Tom Steyer is pushing a ballot measure in Arizona to amend the state’s constitution requiring utilities to get 50 percent of their electricity from favored renewable energy sources, such as wind and solar power, by 2030.

The Clean Energy for a Healthy Arizona, HCR 2017 increases the current renewable power mandate from its present requirement of 15 percent by 2025, in an attempt to reduce the carbon dioxide generated from electric power production in the state to fight climate change.

Effect on Nuclear Power

Arizona Public Service Company (APS), the owner of the Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station (Palo Verde), warns if voters approve this constitutional amendment, its nuclear plant would have to close in six years instead of continuing to generate electricity for 27 years as its current operating license permits.

Palo Verde is the largest source of electric power in Arizona, providing 36 percent of the state’s electricity. By comparison, non-hydro renewables in Arizona, dominated by solar power, generate about 4 percent of the state’s electricity. Coal produces about 25 percent and natural gas about 30 percent of the state’s electric power.

Palo Verde just received a 20-year extension from the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission to operate the plant until 2045. Attempting to build sufficient renewable power to take the place Palo Verde, as well as also replacing the electricity from coal-fired power plants in the state, which will also have to be closed prematurely, will require almost 30 times the amount of electricity from renewable sources as they produce now, to be online in less than 12 years.

APS officials say under the measure solar and wind development would produce more electric power than is needed during half the year when Arizonans are not using their air conditioners, with the oversupply forcing the closure of baseload nuclear and coal-fired power plants, which provide a constant flow of electricity. APS also says the cost of electricity would rise significantly if this measure passes. Read more ☼

Why Proposed Wind and Solar Power Projects Should Be Rejected Nationwide

by Alan Carlin

While USEPA is trying to reduce the number of regulations it has, the climate industrial complex (CIC) is busy making use of Federal and other subsidies to promote their inefficient, unreliable, and expensive “renewable” sources of electric power. America, however, is more and more dependent on reliable and inexpensive electric power for almost everything it does. One problem is that each proposed new “renewable” site has its own environmental problems such as killing birds or offensive sounds bombarding humans. They are also all very high cost when the costs of turning intermittent, unreliable electric power into useful, continuous, reliable energy are taken into account.

And now that it has been rigorously shown that higher levels of carbon dioxide (CO2) have no significant effect on global temperatures in the real world it is long past time to bring a halt to the use of taxpayer and ratepayer money to build additional wind and solar generating plants in addition to removing all regulations which have the effect of killing existing “non-renewable” power plants without a solid environmental justification. The case that the CIC has long made that CO2 has a significant effect on temperatures has always been shaky at best and has never been proved. Now we know that it is simply wrong. Yet the CIC is continuing to try to spend other people’s money–that of ratepayers and taxpayers–to build ever more wind and solar power plants. If this is allowed to continue, it will hobble America’s future just as it already has Germany’s and other Western European nations who have bought into the climate alarmist scam. Read more ☼

All-Renewable Energy Is a Prescription for Disaster

by Robert Bryce, Manhattan Institute

Last year, an all-star group of scientists thoroughly debunked the work of Mark Jacobson, the Stanford engineering professor who for years has been claiming the US can run solely on renewables.

In a paper last June in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the scientists — including Ken Caldeira of the Carnegie Institution, Dan Kammen of the University of California, Berkeley, former EPA Science Advisory Board chairman Granger Morgan and Jane Long of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory — concluded that Jacobson’s all-renewable scheme used “invalid modeling tools, contained modeling errors, and made implausible and inadequately supported assumptions.”

Those errors “render it unreliable as a guide about the likely cost, technical reliability, or feasibility of a 100-percent wind, solar and hydroelectric power system.”

The scientists also concluded that Jacobson’s all-renewable proposal would require covering about 500,000 square kilometers — a land area larger than the state of California — with nothing but wind turbines.

The idea of covering that much land with wind turbines is preposterous on its face, particularly given that rural residents from New York and numerous other states are already rejecting the encroachment of Big Wind.

The high cost of renewables can also be seen in California, which has mandated 50 percent of the state’s electricity be sourced from renewables by 2030. In February, Mark Nelson and Michael Shellenberger of the Berkeley-based think tank Environmental Progress reported California’s electricity rates rose at more than five times the rate of electricity prices in the rest of the US between 2011 and 2017. Californians now pay about 60 percent more for their electricity than residents of other states. Read more ☼

30-years later, James Hansen blasts renewables

The liberal news media lauded James Hansen, former head of NASA’s Goddard Institute, on the 30-year anniversary of his U.S. Senate testimony bringing global warming into the American political consciousness. Conveniently, however, most of the media failed to note Hansen’s criticisms of the environmental impacts of wind and solar power, while also failing to note his strong support for nuclear power. If not for Hansen taking matters into his own hands by writing multiple editorials on the topic, Hansen’s criticisms of wind and solar power may have never been known to anybody other than his close personal associates.

In a column this Wednesday in the Boston Globe, Hansen savaged the Paris climate accord and its predecessor the Kyoto Protocol as “wishful thinking” that allowed most countries to continue business-as-usual energy and environment policies. Sounds a little like President Trump, doesn’t it?

Hansen adds, “The notion that renewable energies and batteries alone will provide all needed energy is fantastical. It is also a grotesque idea, because of the staggering environmental pollution from mining and material disposal, if all energy was derived from renewables and batteries.” He follows that up by referring to the notion of an economy powered entirely by renewable energy a “fantasy.” (Source) ☼

A Trove Of New Research Documents The Folly Of Renewable Energy Promotion

By Kenneth Richard

The advocacy for widespread growth in renewable energy (especially wind, solar, and biomass) usage has increasingly become the clarion call of the anthropogenic global warming (AGW) movement. And yet more and more published research documents the adverse effects of relying on renewables. Over the course of the last year, at least 30 papers have been published in the peer-reviewed scientific literature detailing the fatuity of promoting renewable energy as a long-term “fix” for climate change mitigation. (This article gives summaries and links to the research, read more) ☼

UK Study Debunks Efficiency of Rooftop Solar Battery Backup Power

by Bonner R. Cohen

A new study from Great Britain refutes claims backup battery storage systems can cost-effectively offset the intermittency of residential rooftop solar power.

In assessing the cost-effectiveness of backup battery systems for rooftop solar panel arrays, the study concludes “such an installation is unlikely to provide any financial benefit.”

“Battery Wastage: Why Battery Storage for Rooftop Solar Doesn’t Pay,” was written by Capell Aris, a fellow at the Institute for Engineering and Technology in the UK, and published by the London-based Global Warming Policy Foundation. Read more Read full study ☼

If Renewables Are So Great for the Environment, Why Do They Keep Destroying It?

By Michael Shellenberger, Forbes

If solar and wind farms are needed to protect the natural environment, why do they so often destroy it?

Consider that:

New offshore wind turbines in Germany could “lead to the extinction of individual species” including the rare, intelligent, and highly-threatened harbor porpoise, according to Friends of the Earth-Germany (BUND).

Migratory bat populations, including the hoary bat, could could go extinct, say scientists, if the expansion of wind energy in North America continues.

A single California solar farm, Ivanpah, required the killing of hundreds of desert tortoises, the state’s threatened reptile, and annually kills six thousand birds by lighting them on fire. Wind turbines on California’s Altamont Pass killed an estimated 4,700 bird kills annually including Golden Eagles. “Some lose their wings,” says the Audubon Society, “others are decapitated, and still others are cut in half.” Read more ☼

A Crisis In Electric Power Everyone Is Ignoring

by Stephen Moore

Is anyone paying attention to the crisis that is going on in our electric power markets?

Over the past six months, at least four major nuclear power plants have been slated for shutdown, including the last one in operation in California. Meanwhile, dozens of coal plants have been shuttered as well — despite low prices and cleaner coal. Some of our major coal companies may go into bankruptcy.

But this is not a free-market story of Schumpeterian creative destruction. If it were, then wind and solar power would have been shut down years ago. They can’t possibly compete on a level playing field with $3 natural gas.

In most markets, solar and wind power survive purely because the states mandate that as much as 30% of residential and commercial power come from these sources. The utilities have to buy it regardless of price. The California state legislature just mandated solar panels for homes built after 2020 (an added construction cost of about $10,000 per home).

Over $100 billion in subsidies have been doled out to big wind and big solar over the last decade. Even with the avalanche of taxpayer subsidies and bailout funds, many of these companies, such as Solyndra (which received $500 million in handouts), failed.

These industries are not anywhere close to self-sufficiency. Without a continuation of a multibillion-dollar tax credit, the wind turbines would stop turning. Read more ☼

Junk generators: 2 million expensive solar panels cut Australian total CO2 emissions by 1% Read story ☼

Renewable energy mandates and politics versus science

Competing renewable energy mandate legislation will appear on the Arizona this fall. You can read about them in two Arizona Daily Star stories:

Arizona utility APS crafts renewable-energy initiative with escape clause

Arizona Senate puts utility-written renewable energy plan on ballot

Neither addresses the real issue: electricity produced from utility-scale solar and wind is unreliable, expensive, plays havoc with electrical grid stability, and is not as green as advertized. Rather than play with tricky fixes, the Arizona legislature should repeal the Arizona Corporation Commission’s renewable energy mandate and forbid the ACC from mandating how electricity is generated. I can find no place in the Arizona Constitution nor in the Arizona Revised Statutes that gives the ACC authority to impose such mandates.

For background of ACC action, read a report from the Goldwater Institute: “Rediscovering the ACC’s Roots: Returning to the Original Purpose of the Arizona Corporation Commission” (link)

Here is the executive summary of the 26-page report:

The Arizona Corporation Commission was established through the state constitution to regulate corporations, public utilities, securities, and other investments. But in an unprecedented move, the Arizona Corporation Commission sought to single-handedly determine alternative energy policy in Arizona with a bold and unconstitutional energy mandate in 2006.1 This mandate forced energy producers to embrace state-favored alternatives instead of deciding for themselves which options are most attractive in Arizona.

Arizonans now face the real threat that the Arizona Corporation Commission will continue to seize power meant to be held by the state’s legislative branch. Important decisions about energy policy, corporate governance, and other areas have been removed from the legislative process which, for all its faults, offers more transparency, citizen input, and accountability than the opaque and bureaucratic proceedings of the Arizona Corporation Commission.

The framers of the Arizona Constitution had serious concerns about the Commission’s potential to abuse its authority. Records of the state constitutional debate show the constitution’s authors intentionally limited the Commission’s powers to prevent interference with internal business decisions. The framers’ fears have been borne out.

The Commission’s attempt to act as the state’s de facto energy czar clearly oversteps its original role.

Arizona courts should re-establish a proper balance between the Commission and legislative power. Courts in other states with similar utility regulatory commissions already have concluded such agencies don’t have constitutional authority to mandate statewide policy. The Legislature also can reassert its authority by ordering an audit of the Commission that would recommend ways to streamline the agency and to restore it to its proper role. Finally, the state constitution could be amended to transfer necessary functions to other agencies and decommission the ACC to stop its policymaking power grabs, which Arizona’s founders specifically aimed to prevent.

See these articles for more detail on the consequences of the ACC mandate:

Six reasons Arizona should repeal its renewable energy standards mandate

The economic impact of Arizona’s renewable energy mandate

The high cost of electricity from wind and solar generation

The more installed solar and wind capacity per capita a country has, the higher the price people pay for electricity.

Political correctness versus science:

The alleged rationale for these mandates is that we must reduce carbon dioxide emissions to forestall dread global warming. But, there is no physical evidence that emissions from fossil fuels play a significant role in driving global temperature. See these ADI posts for more detail:

A Simple Question for Climate Alarmists

“What physical evidence supports the contention that carbon dioxide emissions from burning fossil fuels are the principal cause of global warming since 1970?” I posed that question to five “climate scientist” professors at the University of Arizona who claim that our carbon dioxide emissions are the principal cause of dangerous global warming. Yet, none could cite any supporting physical evidence.

Evidence that CO2 emissions do not intensify the greenhouse effect

The “greenhouse” hypothesis of global warming makes four major predictions of what we should see if the “greenhouse effect” is intensified by adding carbon dioxide to the atmosphere. All four predictions are shown by physical evidence to be wrong.

What keeps Earth warm – the greenhouse effect or something else?

An alternative hypothesis with observable evidence.

Failure of climate models shows that carbon dioxide does not drive global temperature

Results from climate models based on the assumption that carbon dioxide controls global temperature diverge widely from reality.

Climate change in perspective

An overview of climate history

The 97 percent consensus of human caused climate change debunked again

The fake climate consensus

The cost and consequences of “green” energy

Solar and wind generation are not practical alternatives to fossil fuel-generated electricity. Biofuel is not practical for transportation. We are now seeing the consequences of politically correct green policies on energy.

Here are some recent stories in the news:

What Happens to an Economy When Forced to Use Renewable Energy?
By Robert Bryce

Some of America’s most prominent politicians want national mandates for renewable electricity. Had these politicians considered the surge in electricity costs that have occurred in Europe in recent years, they might have been less eager to push such mandates.

Between 2005, when the EU adopted its Emissions Trading Scheme, and 2014, residential electricity rates in the EU increased by 63 percent, on average; over the same period, residential rates in the U.S. rose by 32 percent.
EU countries that have intervened the most in their energy markets—Germany, Spain, and the U.K.—have seen their electricity costs increase the fastest: during 2008–12, Germany’s residential electricity rates increased by 78 percent, Spain’s rose by 111 percent, and the U.K.’s soared by 133 percent.

While European countries have succeeded in creating jobs in the solar and wind industries, their energy policies have also resulted in significant job losses elsewhere. Read full report

States Which Support Green Energy Have Higher Electric Bills
by Andrew Follett, Daily Caller

States which offered substantial taxpayer support for green energy pay a lot more for electricity, according to a Daily Caller News Foundation analysis.

The most notable examples of this trend were California and West Virginia. California had some of the nation’s highest power prices, paying 14.3 cents per kilowatt-hour, and had a whopping 183 policies offering support to green energy. In contrast, West Virginia had some of the nation’s cheapest power at 7.91 cents per kilowatt-hour and a mere 11 policies.

Statistical analysis run by TheDCNF found a positive and statistically significant correlation existed between high electricity bills and states with numerous policies supporting green energy. States which offered rebates, buy-back programs, tax exemptions and direct cash subsidies to green energy were 64 percent more likely to have higher than average electric bills. For every additional pro-green energy policy in a state, the average price of electricity rose by about .01 cents per kilowatt-hour. Read more

More US Taxpayer Cash Giveaways for Clean Energy
by Eric Worrall

The US Government is concerned that huge taxpayer underwritten loan guarantees for renewable energy projects aren’t producing the results they want, so they have decided to step up the effort to give away money, by offering free cash and work space to projects which are too “high risk” to attract investment from venture capitalists, or qualify for other green funding schemes. Read story

European Union Scraps Biofuel Targets
EU laws requiring member states to use “at least 10%” renewable energy in transport will be scrapped after 2020, the European Commission confirmed, hoping to set aside a protracted controversy surrounding the environmental damage caused by biofuels. Read more

New administration rule would permit thousands of eagle deaths at wind farms
Fox News
The Obama administration is revising a federal rule that allows wind-energy companies to operate high-speed turbines for up to 30 years, even if means killing or injuring thousands of federally protected bald and golden eagles. Under the plan, companies could kill or injure up to 4,200 bald eagles a year without penalty — nearly four times the current limit. Golden eagles could only be killed if companies take steps to minimize the losses, for instance, by retrofitting power poles to reduce the risk of electrocution. Read more

Devastating Finding: New Study Deems Solar PV Systems In Europe “A Non-Sustainable Energy Sink”!
By P Gosselin
Despite hyped claims, much doubt has emerged over the years on whether or not renewable energies such as wind and sun would able to substitute fossil and nuclear energy.

Getting a sound answer to that question naturally would have been a reasonable step to take long before countries rushed to invest tens of billions of euros.

A brand new paper by Swiss researchers Ferruccio Ferroni and Robert J. Hopkirk published by the Journal of Energy Policy now further intensifies that doubt, finding that solar power remains an inefficient way to produce energy in most cases. It’s beginning to appear that Europe has wasted tens of billions of euros in a mass energy folly.

Thus it should not surprise anyone that Germany’s fossil fuel consumption has not been falling over the past years.

So is solar energy a worthwhile alternative in places like Europe? The authors conclude that it is not. They write in the conclusion that “an electrical supply system based on today’s PV technologies cannot be termed an energy source, but rather a non-sustainable energy sink” and that “it has become clear that photovoltaic energy at least will not help in any way to replace the fossil fuel“.

The authors add that “photovoltaic technology would not be a wise choice for helping to deliver affordable, environmentally favorable and reliable electricity regions of low, or even moderate insolation.“ (Source)

Germany’s Green Energy Fiasco
Wind Farms Paid €500 Million A Year To Stand Idle
Because of the boom of renewable energy, more and more wind turbines have to be switched off. The reason is power overloading. The network operators must turn down electricity generated from windmills when their power threatens to clog the network. For the grid operator Tennet alone, these costs added 329 million euros in 2015 – two and a half times as much as in the previous year. The other network operators 50Hertz, Amprion and EnBW had a combined cost of 150 million euros, according to a survey of Wirtschaftswoche among the four network operators in Germany. –Christian Schlesiger, Wirtschaftswoche, 28 April 2016 (Source)
“Consumers are now paying more for their power than ever before” — some 30.27 euro cents per kilowatt hour. Families today are paying 21% more for electricity than they did 5 years ago. (Source)

Renewable energy causes electricity cost to skyrocket

President Obama recently said that he wanted 28% of America’s electricity to come from renewable energy by 2030, mainly by increasing the use of wind and solar power. Currently about 10% of US energy is produced by renewable energy sources.

But, of that 10%, half comes from burning biomass, 26% comes from hydroelectric generation, and 22% comes from solar and wind power combined which means just 2.2% of total energy generation comes from wind and solar according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA). Differentiating between total energy and electricity production, the EIA says that in 2014, solar produced 0.4% of the nation’s electricity while wind power produced 4.4% of the nation’s electricity for a combined total of 4.8% of electrical generation. (EIA)

energy_consumption_by_source_2014-large

Current average electricity cost in the U.S. is 12.95 cents per kilowatt-hour (kwh), according to the EIA. See EIA reported costs by state and region here.

So what happens as a country increases the amount of electricity generated by renewal sources (mainly wind and solar) as the European Union has been doing? As renewable energy becomes a larger percent of electricity generation, costs per kwh rise from about 12 cents per kwh to 32 cents per kwh.

EU electricity cost vs renewables

Here are the costs of electricity by country in the European Union. The highest costs are in the countries with the most renewable energy capacity.

EU electricty prices

Under Obama’s plan, if the U.S. follows the European Union example, electricity costs will nearly triple in the next 15 years. Obama is keeping a campaign promise. Remember he said that under his plan electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket. That is the reality of the war on coal and other fossil fuels.

And that’s not our only expense. According to the EIA, for just the period 2010-2013, we taxpayers have subsidized wind power to the tune of $5.5 billion together with $4.5 billion for solar installations.

Julian Morris of the Reason Foundation opines: “The Clean Power Plan is a centralized plan for electricity generation in the United States that is likely to harm public health, increase energy bills for households and businesses, destroy American jobs, and cause blackouts in communities across the country.” (Read article)

The proposed reductions in CO2 emissions will have the grand effect of preventing warming of about 0.02 C. (Source)

In my opinion, Obama’s power plan is a foolish, even criminal, waste of resources.

(H/T to Paul Homewood of Not A Lot of People Know That for the graphs.)

See also:

Capitalism is not a zero sum game

Climate and Communism

Environmental Sophistry

The Collectivist Mind

How NEPA crushes productivity

Sandy Scam and cliff notes

The proposed aid package to help people mitigate damage from hurricane Sandy is a good illustration of why the government can’t decrease spending. Instead of just dealing with storm damage, Obama’s $60.4 billion request for hurricane Sandy relief, which was passed by the 112th Senate but not the House, has morphed into a pork-laden give-away to special interests. The 113th Congress has passed an interim $9.7 billion aid bill leaving the remainder in limbo.

According to the New York Post, the hurricane Sandy aide package included: $8 million to buy cars and equipment for the Homeland Security and Justice departments; $150 million for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to dole out to fisheries in Alaska; $2 million for the Smithsonian Institution to repair museum roofs in DC; $13 billion for”mitigation” projects to prepare for future storms; $207 million for the VA Manhattan Medical Center; $41 million to fix up eight military bases along the storm’s path, including Guantanamo Bay, Cuba; $4 million for repairs at Kennedy Space Center in Florida; $3.3 million for the Plum Island Animal Disease Center and $1.1 million to repair national cemeteries.

The legislation dealing with the “fiscal cliff” was also laden with pork, mainly to help crony capitalists in the renewable energy sector. According to the Heritage Foundation:

“The fiscal cliff deal is not only preventing certain politically motivated energy tax policies from falling off the cliff, but it’s also resurrecting ones that have been dead and buried for a year.

“Lumped into the 157-page fiscal cliff bill are extensions of energy handouts that were originally scheduled to retire, as well as retroactively rewarded tax breaks for renewable energy that expired at the end of 2011. The inclusion of these targeted tax breaks is a clear indication that Congress is not serious about (1) reducing spending, (2) ending the government’s meddling in the energy sector, or (3) standing up against political interests.

“The extension and resurrection of the targeted tax credits will reduce revenue by $18 billion over 10 years. Production tax credits for wind (totaling $12 billion) were renewed for another year and made even more generous. Thanks to the new bill, wind and other renewable energy projects can receive the tax credit simply by starting construction by 2013, rather than once they begin generating electricity, as the law originally specified.

“Further, the fiscal cliff deal retroactively rewards a production tax credit for biofuel and biodiesel production, which expired in 2011, and extends it through 2013. Tax credit extensions also go out to electric motorcycles, alternative fueling stations, coal facilities on Indian lands, cellulosic ethanol, and energy efficient windows, appliances, and new homes.”

This situation reminds me of a quote attributed to former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher: “The problem with socialism is that eventually you run out of other people’s money.” Congress has yet to acknowledge that caveat. Apparently, nothing in Washington, D.C. can be straight forward.  Instead, almost everything is laden with pork-packed proposals for pet projects.

Petition to Arizona legislature – Dump Renewable Energy Mandates

In 2006, the Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC) imposed the Renewable Energy Standard and Tariff (REST) on non-government owned electric utilities. I request that the Arizona legislature repeal this mandate and let utility companies generate electricity by the method they see as most efficient, cost effective, and reliable. Most renewable energy sources are none of these things.

REST requires that electric utilities generate an ever increasing amount of electricity from renewable sources such as wind and solar. The mandated goal is to reach a total of 15% renewable generation by the year 2025. The commissioners wanted “to capitalize on Arizona’s sunshine and other ‘green energy’ opportunities” according to an ACC press release. Currently, Arizona produces about 7% of its electricity from renewable resources but that figure counts the 6% from hydroelectric generation. We currently get less than 1% from so-called green energy sources. The integrity of our electrical grid will be in danger when 15% of our electricity is generated by unreliable sources such as wind and solar.

In addition to utility-owned projects, REST requires the utilities to produce a growing percentage of the total electricity from “distributed generation,” i.e., residential or non-utility owned installations. That means, for instance, solar panels on your roof or on the roof of your business or on shopping malls. The distributed energy requirement started at 5% of the total portfolio in 2007 and grew to 30% of the total renewable mix this year. We all pay for the subsidies associated with this requirement.

The rationale for REST is essentially political correctness embraced by some gullible Corporation Commissioners. The stated rationale is two -fold.

First, the commissioners want to reduce our dependence on foreign oil. But in the entire U.S., only about 1% of electricity is generated by burning petroleum. In Arizona, petroleum generates less than 0.1% of our electricity. Besides, America has abundant domestic sources of petroleum if only the feds would let us exploit it.

The other rationale is to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide and thus forestall dread global warming.

Six reasons why we should lay REST to rest:

1. Electricity generated from renewable sources is much more expensive than conventional generation. That expense is reflected in higher electricity bills. For instance, my bill from Tucson Electric Power itemizes an expense for “Renewable Energy Standard Tariff” and another charge for “DSM Surcharge.” (DSM is demand side management, more on that later). In 2011, TEP raised about $35 million from these charges. The ACC estimates that from 2010 to 2025, the surcharges for electricity from REST will cost consumers $1.2 billion more than they would have paid for conventional energy sources.

The cost of being politically correct is essentially a regressive tax which will cause low income households to shoulder a greater burden than higher income households because the energy costs make up a larger portion of their budget.

electricity by source and cost

2. Renewable energy sources such as wind and solar are intermittent, unpredictable, and unreliable. Increased generation from unreliable sources will make our electric grid more susceptible to blackouts and brownouts. Solar and wind generation typically produce at only about 20% of rated generation capacity. Tucson Electric Power operates one of the largest solar PV arrays in the United States, a 5-MW system. But during five years of operation it has produced at only 19% of it rated capacity. Even in Arizona, clouds cause rapid fluctuation in the array’s power output.

3. Because generation from renewable energy sources is intermittent and unpredictable, these sources require backup generation which is usually by burning fossil fuels. Because the time and duration for backup generation need is unpredictable, the fossil-fuel fired backup generators cannot be run efficiently. Experience in Europe shows that backup generators actually use more fuel and produce more carbon dioxide emissions and pollutants such as sulfur dioxide than they normally would if they were run efficiently for primary generation.

A new report from the European Nuclear Energy Agency analyzed the effects erratic intermittent source generation on the electric grid: The report considers “six technologies in detail: nuclear, coal, gas, onshore wind, offshore wind and solar. It finds that the so-called dispatchable technologies – coal, gas and nuclear – have system costs of less than $3 per MWh, while the system costs for renewables can reach up to $40 per MWh for onshore wind, $45 per MWh for offshore wind and $80 per MWh for solar. The costs for renewables vary depending on the country, technology and penetration levels, with higher system costs for greater penetration of renewables.”

4. Use of renewable energy will not impact climate. By using data from the Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center, NOAA, and the IPCC, it is possible to estimate the temperature impact of carbon dioxide emissions. For instance, if we stopped all U.S. carbon dioxide emissions it could theoretically prevent a temperature rise of 0.08ºC by 2050. If Arizona stopped all carbon dioxide emissions it could theoretically prevent a temperature rise of 0.0015ºC by 2050. Will you notice? (Data from Science & Public Policy Institute report “Analysis of US and State-by-State Carbon Dioxide Emissions & Potential ‘Savings’ in Future Global Temperature & Global Sea Level Rise

Besides, the increasing emissions from other countries such as China will completely wipe out any imagined savings from REST.

5. Wind turbines cause health problems due to low frequency vibrations. (See here)

In the United Kingdom a new study “claims thousands of people are falling sick because they live near” wind farms. Wind turbine syndrome is alleged to cause dizziness; increased blood pressure, sleeplessness, and depression among other things. All due to low-frequency vibrations. In December 2011, in a peer-reviewed report in the Bulletin of Science, Technology & Society, Dr. Carl Phillips, one of the U.S.’s most distinguished epidemiologists, concluded that there is “overwhelming evidence that wind turbines cause serious health problems in nearby residents, usually stress-disorder type diseases, at a nontrivial rate.”

6. Political philosophy: Who is in charge of public policy, state legislators as representatives of the people, or the Arizona Corporation Commission?

Rationing electricity:

Above, I mentioned DSM – demand side management. The REST program requires electric utilities reduce the amount they produce, i.e., ration electricity. “Arizona’s public utilities will be required to achieve annual energy savings of at least 22%, measured in kWh, by 2020, with the savings to increase incrementally as a percent of retail energy sales in each prior calendar year to reach that goal.” ( ACC Source).

One of the ways to achieve DSM is through use of the so-called “smart grid” and “smart meters.” Smart meters placed on your house or business will allow the electric company to monitor and control your electricity use via radio-controlled commands to your meter. If you use too much air-conditioning, for instance, the electric company will be able to turn it off.

Because these systems are radio controlled they are vulnerable to mischief by hackers who may decide to turn off the A/C in a shopping mall or neighborhood.

Renewable energy is not as green as advertized.

For example, many PV solar panels rely on polysilicon being manufactured in large quantities and at high quality. A byproduct of polysilicon production is silicon tetrachloride, a highly toxic substance that poses a major environmental hazard. Wherever silicon tetrachloride is dumped, the land becomes totally infertile. A major environmental cost of photovoltaic solar energy is toxic chemical pollution (arsenic, gallium, and cadmium) and energy consumption associated with the large-scale manufacture of photovoltaic panels.

A Cato report found that the materials required for thermal-solar projects were 1,000 times greater than for a similarly sized fossil-fuel facility, creating substantial incremental energy consumption and industrial pollution.

A wind farm uses about 85 times the area required by a gas-fired plant, about 10 to 80 acres per megawatt capacity. Solar requires about 10 acres per megawatt, still much larger than fossil fuel plants. This large footprint may impact wildlife.

Besides chopping up birds, a study from M.I.T. says wind turbines cause a rise in local temperatures of up to 1.8ºF because the turbines disrupt local air flow that can transport heat away from the land surface.

Conclusion:

My argument here is not against any use of renewable energy because there may be circumstances where such use is appropriate. My argument is against government mandated use which raises our electricity rates unnecessarily, distorts the market, and makes our electric grid less reliable.

Renewable energy mandates are bad for ratepayers, bad for the environment, and even bad for the state’s economy because of the increased electrical costs on business and the expense of government subsidies required by the mandate. The mandate fails to accomplish the stated rationale and is essentially just a politically correct eco-fad (with a little crony capitalism thrown in) that increases our electricity costs but provides no benefit. When the new Arizona legislature convenes in January, tell them to lay REST to rest. Dump the mandates.

UPDATE:

There is a new paper from the University of Delaware that claims “Renewable energy could fully power a large electric grid 99.9 percent of the time by 2030 at costs comparable to today’s electricity expenses…” The claim is based on computer modeling: garbage in, garbage out. Anthony Watts injects some reality to this nonsense: http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/12/10/a-lol-press-release-on-renewable-energy-from-wishful-thinkers-at-the-university-of-delaware/#more-75558

UPDATE 2: Privacy concerns with smart meters, from National Geographic.
In theory, the information collected by smart meters could reveal how many people live in a home, their daily routines, changes in those routines, what types of electronic equipment are in the home, and other details. “It’s not hard to imagine a divorce lawyer subpoenaing this information, an insurance company interpreting the data in a way that allows it to penalize customers, or criminals intercepting the information to plan a burglary.

UPDATE 3: An executive of a solar company argues against mandates and subsidies for renewable energy. Read the whole article here.

“In reality, it [solar] is hopelessly inefficient from an economic sense to be a fix for our CO2 concerns.” “Subsidies are much worse that just wasteful, they’re diabolical. They lull us into thinking we have almost solved the problem and they hinder us from seeking the real solutions.”