Environment (page 142)

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    Repeal Senate Bill 3

    Recent newspaper articles have discussed the John Locke Foundation's  view that the state legislature should repeal the 2007 state renewable energy mandate bill (SB 3). Here's a bit more information on why SB 3 should be repealed, along with some thoughts about the views expressed in those articles. The SB 3 Mandate SB 3 mandates that utility companies generate at least 7.5% of their electricity from renewable energy sources (such as biomass, solar, and wind). If a bill mandated coal or nuclear power, this also would be a problem.  Utility companies should be generating electricity from the most reliable and inexpensive sources of electricity, whatever those sources may be.  If those sources are wind and solar, so be it. Costs: Due to this mandate, North Carolina electricity customers have to pay far more for electricity.  Utility companies don't bear the costs--they pass on the costs to customers.
    Daren Bakst, March 27, 2011
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    This weekend on Carolina Journal Radio

    High-profile political battles in Wisconsin and Ohio have generated attention for the issue of public-sector collective bargaining. John Hood discusses the implications for North Carolina in the next edition of Carolina Journal Radio. Roy Cordato will explain why “market-based environmentalism” has little to do with free markets, and…
    Mitch Kokai, March 25, 2011
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    Wind energy takes another blow

    I wish I could claim credit for the headline, but it paraphrases the lede of a new Human Events article from Brian Sussman: Wind One is the 400-foot-tall wind turbine owned by the town of Falmouth, on the southwestern tip of Cape Cod.  The residents of Falmouth initially welcomed Wind One as a symbol of green energy and a handy way to keep local taxes down.  Electricity generated by the turbine would be used to power the municipality’s infrastructure, thus shaving about $400,000 a year off its utility costs. Installed in the spring of 2010 at a cost of $5.1 million (with some $3 million derived through grants, government kickbacks, and credits), the huge turbine cranks out 1.65 megawatts of electricity during optimum conditions. The topography of Falmouth is stunningly beautiful. Small ponds, creeks, pines, and oaks rest adjacent to the rocky beachfront. What’s totally out of place is a monstrous pillar of white steel rising from the countryside, topped with its whirling three-bladed rotor. However, proving that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, one local told a Public Radio reporter the turbine is “quite majestic.” But as soon as her majesty was switched on, residents began to complain—Wind One was as loud as an old Soviet helicopter. ...
    Mitch Kokai, March 24, 2011
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    Human Events documents an ‘energy choke’

    Regular readers of this forum have seen plenty of discussion of the harmful economic impacts linked to government policies proposed to promote "green jobs." Now Human Events weighs in with an editorial on the topic: Our economy is just beginning to feel the choking grasp of soaring fuel prices around its throat. Growth requires motion and motion requires energy. The cost of energy is tied into the cost of virtually everything else… and our dependence on foreign energy sources puts us at the mercy of long, oily tentacles that reach back into the most unstable parts of the world. This dependence is the predictable result of deliberate policies, from locking private industry out of Alaskan oil fields, to hounding oil rigs away from the Gulf of Mexico. Some of these policies have been pursued in defiance of court orders, so they cannot be dismissed as momentary lapses in judgment.
    Mitch Kokai, March 24, 2011
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    Government consolidation: If it’s good enough for the Tar Heel State …

    We don’t know whether the talk of consolidating North Carolina government departments played any role, but U.S. Sen. Richard Burr has announced his support for similar moves at the federal level, according to U.S. News & World Report: For years, Republicans have talked about dismantling the…
    Mitch Kokai, March 23, 2011
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    Hugo Chavez confuses Mars with James Cameron’s blue planet

    Other than that, he just recited the plot. Per Reuters: Capitalism may be to blame for the lack of life on the planet Mars, Venezuela’s socialist President Hugo Chavez said on Tuesday. “I have always said, heard, that it would not be strange that there had been…
    Jon Sanders, March 22, 2011
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    Guess who likes higher gas prices?

    People who want a larger role for the “green” economy, that’s who. The latest Bloomberg Businessweek offers details: [T]here's a silver lining in higher oil prices—or, rather, a green lining—for Obama, who has made clean energy one of his paramount causes. Rising fuel costs could go a long way toward advancing Obama's "Win the Future" vision of an economy remade by green technologies, including electric vehicles, advanced batteries, wind and solar power, and high-speed trains. "If you want to make people switch toward cleaner energy sources," says Nigel J. Gault, chief U.S. economist for IHS Global Insight, "you need to change the price incentives people are facing. One way to do that would be to make traditional energy much more expensive." … … Truth be told, higher prices are what it takes to change the energy consumption habits of large numbers of Americans. "Somehow we have to figure out how to boost the price of gasoline to the levels in Europe," Energy Secretary Steven Chu told The Wall Street Journal in 2008 when he was director of the University of California's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. Chu has backed away from that view since taking office.
    Mitch Kokai, March 22, 2011
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    Rogers addresses the nuclear ‘renaissance’

    What will Japan’s recent experience with nuclear plants mean for the future of nuclear power generation in the United States? Duke Energy CEO Jim Rogers discusses the topic in the latest Bloomberg Businessweek. What impact will Japan have on the global nuclear renaissance? I…
    Mitch Kokai, March 22, 2011