John Hinderaker, POWERLINE blog: Minnesota is a poor place for solar power, so its renewable policies have focused on wind. Minnesota has gone whole hog for wind energy, to the tune of approximately $15 billion. It is noteworthy that demand for electricity in Minnesota has been flat for quite a few years, so that $15 billion wasn’t spent to meet demand. Rather, it replaced electricity that already was being produced by coal, nuclear and natural gas plants. Wind energy is intermittent and unreliable; it can only be produced when the wind is blowing within certain parameters, and cannot be stored at scale. It is expensive and inefficient, and therefore patently inferior to nuclear, coal and natural gas-powered electricity, except in one respect–its “greenness.”
Paul Driessen, senior policy analyst for the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow: It seems nearly everyone wants to advance sustainability principles. The problem is, no one really knows what they are. Real sustainability means responsible conservation and stewardship of natural resources. The public relations variety is mostly image-enhancing fluff.
Bloomberg, Weixin Zha, Brian Parkin: By 2030, the eastern German town of Poedelwitz will likely be razed to get at the rich veins of coal beneath its half-timbered houses. The reason: Chancellor Angela Merkel’s effort to steer Germany toward greener energy, which has unexpectedly meant booming demand for dirty coal. “This is unparalleled destruction of the environment,” says Jens Hausner, a farmer who has seen 17 of his 20 hectares consumed by digging equipment that looks like something out of a Mad Max movie. In a bit more than a decade, the hulking machines are expected to claw through the town’s 13th-century church and 40 or so remaining homes. None of this will lead to a significant reduction of atmospheric carbon dioxide. From a scientific point of view, none of this matters. Its all politics, pure politics.
U.S. Department of Energy: The evolution of wholesale electricity markets, including the extent to which Federal policy interventions and the changing nature of the electricity fuel mix are challenging the original policy assumptions that shaped the creation of those markets. Markets recognize and compensate reliability, and must evolve to continue to compensatereliability, but more work is needed to address resilience. The biggest contributor to coal and nuclear plant retirements has been the advantaged economics of natural gas-fired generation.