Thursday, May 17, 2007

Today's roundup:

  • Nice story from Denver's Channel 9 on the benefits that a single large wind farm is bringing to a rural Colorado county:

    - Up to 350 people hired for construction;
    - 20 full-time permanent jobs;
    - $70 million in property taxes over 30 years;
    - $65 million in land rental payments to landowners over the same period;
    - As much electricity as 120,000 Colorado households consume.

    It isn't mentioned in the press release from FPL Energy, the project developer, but I'll add my rough guesstimate of water savings: 30 billion gallons (~94,000 acre-feet) of water annually. Not too shabby.

  • Peak oil and the effects of globalization get a brief but thoughtful post at Candleblog. I'm with Candleboy in being optimistic about alternative energy sources: the global energy potential of wind power is enormous, and schemes like plug-in hybrids and Vehicle-to-Grid (V2G) could allow it and other renewable energy sources to displace a big chunk of our fossil fuel consumption. If we get moving. Now.

  • features Nature Air, which bills itself as the "world's first zero-emissions airline," having used carbon offsets to, um, offset its fuel emissions. Easy to poke holes in, as a few commenters have already done, but if everyone does the same and if the carbon offsets are properly quantified, then global warming ends. It's the ifs we should be focusing on.

  • Oregon publication Willamette Week provides a fascinating look into the role of a major utility in shaping alternative energy legislation in the state. One item that caught my eye: a lobbyist for Intel claims that his company will have to pay an extra $2 million annually in electricity costs. This is a little surprising, because it implies God-like knowledge of where energy prices are going, when in fact they have been extremely volatile since 2001 and remain so today. One of wind energy's big pluses is that once it is installed, the cost of electricity generated is predictable and stable, because no fuel is used and there are no fuel price gyrations to contend with. By contrast, the market price of natural gas today hovers at 3-4 times what it was in 2001.

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