Monday, August 31, 2009

Vitali's Folly

Havertown's Adrian Ashfield has a very interesting guest column on developments in energy technology.

Contrast it with Rep. Greg Vitali's recent missive calling for support of House Bill 80.

At a time when energy costs are about to jump in this state, Vitali and his fellow eco-warriors want to impose new mandates for energy companies to use solar and wind power.

Vitali claims the legislation would "create thousands of good green jobs" but is being held up by "powerful special-interest groups" as if powerful special-interest environmental groups aren't pushing for the bill.

Vitali is surely exaggerating the number of jobs that would be created vs. the number of jobs that would be lost because of the expense of higher energy prices.

He goes on to make the absurd claim that his quota-requiring bill will actually lower prices.

He writes:
It is a basic principal (sic) of economics that price is a function of supply and demand, and that when supply is increased relative to demand there is a downward pressure on price. HB 80, by increasing the supply of electricity generated by renewable sources, will create a downward pressure on electricity prices.

Forget that he misspells "principle," government mandates never lower the prices or costs of anything. HB 80 doesn't increase the supply of electricty, it commands that a higher percentage of electricity from much more expensive sources be used. How can that NOT drive prices UP?

To say this bill will actually lower future energy costs is flat-out dishonest.

The same argument is being used in an attempt to sell healthcare reform. That we can cover 47 million more people and reduce overall healthcare spending, while maintaining the same level of care and without rationing. Who do these people think they're kidding?

If energy costs come down in the next 10 years it will only be because of technological breakthroughs of the sort Ashfield writes about.

Vitali's ambition for the state of Pennsylvania to be a "leader in the fight against global warming" is a fool's errand. What will the people of Pennsylvania get out of it? Higher energy prices. And that's it.


Blogger steve mcdonald said...

Per what I can find, the windfarms in the state are constructed and owned by companies that sell the energy to your Peco's, PPL's, Duquesne Light, FirstEnergy etc. I would assume that per typical investments, construction and costs of the new technology are factored into the unit rates we pay over a number of years, just as the fossil fuels base costs and maintenance of Peco's existing facilities factor into our present electric bills.

I previously made my arguements for nuclear, but I'm not opposed to wind and solar as long as they can meet capacity demands. If anything, bills should be introduced to make them a little more lax in the state - but not to the point where they overcrowd our skies.

Per, I count 99 turbines and 152.9 megawatts in the state with more sites planned.

August 31, 2009 at 9:32 AM 
Blogger Pro Christ Pro Gun said...

I hvae heard that you can pay 25% more in utility costs to get green (wind) energy in the Poconos. This global warming green energy nonsense is going to weaken the nation, not make it stronger. Also, perhaps Bob can answer why we give Brazil loan guarantees for oil exploration and we send money to the Middle East to construct nuclear power plants? What about us?

C. Scott Shields, Esquire

August 31, 2009 at 1:29 PM 
Blogger steve mcdonald said...

I know a guy in NJ who installed solar panels on his house in 2006 - single family home, heated in-ground pool. As he explained to me, the energy he's selling back to the power company is about to payoff the cost of furnishing and installing 2 years early (Based on a 5 year payoff). Thats incredible - I'm jealous, my roof doesn't get enough sun to justify doing the same.

Whats the difference in seeing the costs of construction of the new technologies reflected in our bills? Do we not pay for maintenance, operation now as well as new plants/boilers in our present bills?

August 31, 2009 at 2:53 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Any chance of hooking up Mr. Shields in front of a wind power machine?

August 31, 2009 at 7:10 PM 
Anonymous Bob said...

Scott - The Export-Import bank does not get appropriations from Congress and does not rely on American taxpayer dollars. It is not "sending" the estimated $2 billion to the Brazil, but offering lines of credit to U.S. firms so they can compete to land contracts as part of Petrobras' drilling operations.

August 31, 2009 at 8:50 PM 
Blogger Pro Christ Pro Gun said...


You can hook me up in front of one any time you want - that is of course, if you have the guts to reveal your name.


The Import Export Bank is an executive agency, which has a presidential appointed board. Are you for or against drilling here for our own oil?

C. Scott Shields, Esquire

September 1, 2009 at 11:06 AM 
Anonymous joe clark said...

When did the economics of supply and demand become irrelevant?

September 2, 2009 at 3:32 PM 
Anonymous Bob said...

Scott - I don't care where or when they drill. My real concern is our dependence on the middle east for our energy. Lets face it Scott. If Iraq didn't have oil, we wouldn't be there. If Iran didn't have oil, the 1953 overthrow of their democratically elected government would never have taken place. But instead of pissing money away on fossil fuels, I would prefer to see money being spent on the research and developement of home based power sources, and fuel efficient houses. Carter pushed for this technology thirty years ago, but Reagan reversed direction.

September 2, 2009 at 8:31 PM 
Anonymous jake said...

I'm beginning to worry about you.
On another blog topic, you're attempting to make the argument that President Bush is less moral than that disgusting Ted Kennedy.
Now, on this blog topic, you go off the deep end with the ridiculous assertion that President Reagan undermined some great environmental initiative of Jimmy Carter.
Please stop. Jimmy Carter was a decent man, but totally overwhelmed by the Oval Office. His weakness in the hostage crisis was an embarrassment that profoundly damaged our security and standing in the world. To borrow a sports analogy -- Jimmy Carter couldn't hold Ronald Reagan's jock.

September 3, 2009 at 2:01 PM 
Anonymous Bob said...

Jake- I have to admit that you were right about one thing. Carter was a decent man. And had he been successful with the hostage rescue, he would have been a hero.

After the oil crisis, Carter installed solar panels on the White House in a show of support for alternative energy. Here's a quote - “a generation from now, this solar heater can either be a curiosity, a museum piece, an example of a road not taken, or it can be a small part of one of the greatest and most exciting adventures ever undertaken by the American people; harnessing the power of the Sun to enrich our
lives as we move away from our crippling dependence on foreign oil.” If I remember right, wasn't it Reagan who had them removed? That Reagan! What a visionary.
The Fossil and his fuel. Do your homework Jake.

September 3, 2009 at 4:38 PM 
Anonymous jake said...

Forgive me if I choose not to relive those pitiful years of the Carter administration. It's still embarrassing to think about his impotent leadership.
And try not to go off the deep end on the solar panels at the White House. A little bit of liberal showboating is not a meaningful policy.

September 4, 2009 at 8:21 AM 
Anonymous Bob said...

Jake - You are absolutely right. Who can forget W's famous "Mission Accomplished"

But are you telling me that we are better off today for not having followed Carters lead on the development and use of alternative energy sources? To quote Barney Frank "On what planet do you spend most of yout time?"

September 4, 2009 at 10:16 AM 
Blogger steve mcdonald said...

the governor had set a goal of having 18% of electricity sold in PA to come from renewable and advanced energy sources. If we can develop it in the state to keep work and tax revenue here, whats wrong with that? The trade off is that the volume of solar and wind would have to increase as they're no as efficient as traditional methods of generation - you'll have more NIMBY situations.

September 4, 2009 at 10:18 AM 
Anonymous Bob said...

Steve - We agree on this. Would I want it in my back yard? Yes! And on my roof. I was in Greece in May. You wouldn't believe the number of houses that have solar hot water systems on the roof. We can put a man on the moon. We can communicate globaly by cell phone and internet. Why can't we develop independant power sources for homes? I think the focus should be on "off the grid" technology. There's a fortune to be made if someone can figure this one out.

September 4, 2009 at 11:54 AM 
Blogger steve mcdonald said...

Bob, I do agree on this as well. I would be happy to have solar panels on my house as well if I had a more favorable position for sun. I also wouldn't have issues with wind turbines in the area, however, per wind maps of the state, Delaware County isn't a favorable candidate due to low windspeed - the closest areas would be Lancaster and Luzerne Counties - Luzerne already has a couple farms including the newest one that's comprised of around 51turbines and 102 MW.
I would guess Solar would be a more feasible option.

You're always going to have opponents via NIMBY, there's no getting around it. Hell, there were NIMBY's opposing Citizens Bank Park in 2001-2002 despite being the home to the Vet for 30 years!

September 4, 2009 at 12:15 PM 
Anonymous jake said...

You are quoting Barney Frank. Please seek help immediately. This is not a drill.

September 4, 2009 at 12:30 PM 
Anonymous Bob said...

Jake - I knew you'd appreciate that.

September 4, 2009 at 2:12 PM 

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