'Renewable Energy, It’s Not for You': A Critique of Public Utilities' Approach to Renewables

| 3/15/2019 7:24:00 AM

RENEW Wisconsin Conference Plenary

Governor Evers addresses the Summit. Photo by Toby Grotz

The RENEW 2019 Renewable Energy Summit was held at the Monona Terrace conference center in Madison, Wisconsin. The building is on the shores of Lake Monona and was was inspired by the Frank Lloyd Wright 1955 Night Rooftop Rendering and design of a gathering space as shown in the drawing below. This futuristic vision and space was the ideal location for a conference on renewable energy.

At the Summit, a strange and distorted message emanated from some of the invited speakers. It seems that the current approach of the utilities is “Hey! We got this!” We’re building solar and wind because — why? The so called “public utilities,” a term in code meaning not public, but rather investor-owned, want to keep a centralized and controlled energy system without rooftop solar on your house so they can pay, in the case of Excel Energy, their CEO $12 million a year and the next four white men under him $2 million each a year and pay stock dividends to greedy “infestors” on Wall Street.

And, by the way, even though they don’t have the technology to do it, and have no clue what technology they need to do it, Excel’s Mark Stoering, president of Xcel Energy of Wisconsin and Michigan, announced during the RENEW conference that Xcel will be fossil free by 2050.

Utility Zero Carbon Emissions Graph

4/6/2019 7:52:55 PM

My father worked for a power company. He told me they were fighting scrubbers. They were spending equivalent of one scrubber per year to advertise against scrubbers. It was 1960. Little changes. By the way, safe nuclear may be our short term solution. It is not the same as "clean coal" Conservation may be a huge help if only people are willing to conserve.

4/5/2019 1:22:51 PM

Instead of going into an increasingly sickening and boring political rant, the author should explain in detail just how the intended goal of being carbon free can be achieved in a cost effective sustainable way by his proposed 2030 deadline. Irregardless of whether government takes the reins or private industry implements the change, there is no plausible technology available to us in the allotted time frame. When the Dept. of Energy was created during the Carter administration, it's primary mandate was to get the U.S. completely energy independent. Since it's inception, the DOE has done everything but meet that goal. Yes, there are some things that Government can do that private industry cannot. No private industry has the resources of Government. (Examples of past projects by our Government are many large dams throughout the country.) That said, if the Government put it's resources into developing technology, holding patents to avoid exorbitant costs, price gouging, or monopolies, (Such as is the case of prescription drugs which can cost up to 500 MILLION dollars to develop) and then releasing the technology to the world (free of charge) to be put into use, the future would look a lot brighter. Until the entire world does away with a monitory economic foundation, there are very few work around options. The technological leap is possibly the largest mankind would ever make. The costs are astronomical in our present economic basis. And, we all need to take a whole new approach to obtaining the goals demanded by the author. We have technology available (hydrogen) to convert all internal combustion engines to a non-polluting status. The hurdle is 2-fold; infrastructure (costs) and safety concerns. (Containment of an extraordinarily explosive gas is quite problematic when used in a transportation situation.) Until the safety concerns are met, I wouldn't foresee infrastructure being put into place. (Think terrorism and dumb human mistakes here...) It may take beyond 2030 to develop a viable alternative that covers all aspects of the transition to a new energy source, but at least the world might begin to see the light at the end of the tunnel. (And it not be an oncoming train.) Political rants will not accomplish the goal. A change in the approach to attaining the goals, the author (and millions more) is asking for, may be the only way to truly get to the ultimate objective. I suggest we expend our efforts towards convincing our government that there is a plausible and workable proposition, that most likely will produce a much needed solution, that won't bankrupt the world in the process of healing our planet. Just some thoughts from an old guy. :-)

4/5/2019 1:04:21 PM

a little racist how you say "the next four white men under him ", so if they were women or African American or Asian or something other than white it would be ok ?

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