Basin Electric ran a print and radio ad campaign in North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota and Montana beginning in May that asked the public to question whether or not federal climate change legislation makes economic sense.
“The U.S. Senate will soon be considering The Lieberman-Warner Climate Bill,” said Ron Harper, Basin Electric CEO and general manager. “This single piece of legislation could have detrimental effects on not only our electric consumers, but to the economy as whole.”
So he asked customers to consider whether average Americans can afford “thousands of dollars more in electric bills and in goods and services when we’re facing the possibility of $5 gasoline?” He said Basin Electric supports “reasonable climate change legislation,” but Congress must find solutions that “keep costs down and electricity available and reliable.”
Basin Electric wants its customers to ask their representatives in Congress three questions related to climate change legislation:
- Experts say that our nation’s growing electricity needs will soon go well beyond what renewables, conservation and efficiency can provide. What is your plan to make sure we have the electricity we’ll need in the future?
- What are you doing to fully fund the research required to make emissions-free electric plants an affordable reality?
- Balancing electricity needs and environmental goals will be difficult. How much is all this going to increase my electric bill and what will you do to make it affordable?
“Is it possible to deal with climate change and have a healthy economy?” Harper said. “We need to tell Congress it has to be.”
Wind: A 20-State Resource
The American Wind Energy Association held a conference and exhibition in Houston in June. Associate Editor Steve Blankinship was there and offers these highlights from his reporter’s notebook.
Vic Abate, vice president of renewable energy, GE Energy: For every percentage point of additional renewable energy that the world adds, you will be required to add 40,000 additional wind turbines (1.5 MW each). To do the same with solar requires 500 million solar panels.
Cost are rising due to metals and other construction materials. Wind is leveraged more toward materials costs that other power sources (since there is no fuel costs). As warranties expire, O&M work cannot be handled solely by OEMs.
In the United States, wind is a 20 state business. You can’t build it in Florida or New England, for example.
Michael Sullivan, senior vice president of development, FPL Energy: Wind and all renewables are energy displacement sources, not energy replacement sources. Rising natural gas prices will keep wind competitive.
Ditlev Engle, president and CEO, Vestas: Supply chain issues are big issues in the wind sector. This will require a long term approach. There still appears to be many of the same doubts and uncertainties and indecisiveness that have plagued the industry since the beginning.
Hunter Armstead, vice president, Babcock & Brown: Wind turbine pricing has gone up 80 percent compared with several years ago. New generation turbines that went into service in 2003-2004 are now coming to the end of their warranties. Can costs continue to rise and still have wind “competitive”?
For every 1 person who bikes to work:
- – 5 people walk
- – 9 people take public transit
- – 21 people car pool
- – 154 people drive alone
(Source: Josh Margolis, CantorCO2e quoting U.S. Bureau of Census)