It’s easy to be green, just wish it so and ignore the facts

If you thought the “green movement” was more about self-righteous politics than clear-headed science, here are two  tales that prove the point.

In Arizona a petition is being circulated in an effort get on the ballot an initiative called the Clean Energy for a Healthy Arizona Amendment. This would require 50 percent of the electricity generated in the state to come from renewable sources by 2030.

The petition states:

The Amendment defines renewable energy sources to include solar, wind, small-scale hydropower, and other sources that are replaced rapidly by a natural, ongoing process (excluding nuclear or fossil fuel). Distributed renewable energy sources, like rooftop solar, must comprise at least 10% of utilities’ annual retail sales of electricity by 2030.

If the measure passes it would necessitate the closure the Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station west of Phoenix, which currently provides about 35 percent of the state’s electricity, even though it produces no carbon emissions.

If the state were to achieve the goal of 50 percent of its power coming from mostly solar and wind, both of which are intermittent there would be no room on the grid for Palo Verde’s power, because reactors can’t be quickly turned off and on — it takes weeks of preparation.

“We would have to shut Palo Verde down during the day every day,” one plant official was quoted as saying. “But that’s not how nuclear plants really work. Nuclear plants can’t just be shut down and then started up again.”

Since battery technology is not yet available, the most likely source of rapid start-up generation would be natural gas, which produces carbon emissions, especially when frequently idling.

Adding wind and solar to the power grid could increase the carbon dioxide output.

Retired electrical engineer Kent Hawkins wrote in February 2010 that “the introduction of wind power into an electricity system increases the fossil fuel consumption and CO2 emissions beyond levels that would have occurred using efficient gas plants alone as the providers of electricity equivalent to the firmed wind.”

This is because every kilowatt-hour of intermittent electricity introduced into the grid must be backed up by a reliable fossil-fuel generator. When the wind don’t blow and the sun don’t shine, the demand for electricity remains.

Starting and stopping gas-fired generators is inefficient, comparable to operating a car in stop and go traffic instead of steady and efficient on the open highway. Just like the car, the fuel consumption can double, along with the carbon emissions, negating any presumed carbon savings by using solar or wind.

Meanwhile, in New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has announced plans to build $6 billion worth of offshore wind turbines while shutting down the nuclear-powered Indian Point Energy Center in Buchanan, N.Y.

Robert Bryce, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, explains in an op-ed in The Wall Street Journal that the wind turbines will produce only 60 percent as much power as the nuclear plant being closed.

How will this gap be covered? You guessed it, natural gas.

“The irony here is colossal. Mr. Cuomo, who banned hydraulic fracturing despite the economic boon it has created in neighboring Pennsylvania, and who has repeatedly blocked construction of pipelines, is making New York even more dependent on natural gas, which will increase its carbon emissions,” Bryce writes. “At the same time, he has mandated offshore wind projects that will force New Yorkers to pay more for their electricity, even though the state already has some of the nation’s highest electricity prices.”

Being green is a state of mind … or should we say mindlessness?

Indian Point Energy Center in Buchanan, N.Y., in 2017. (AP pix via WSJ)

Reid now says he is undecided about the Iran nuke deal

Harry Reid during Sun interview that was not worthy of being printed in the Sun section in the morning paper. (Sun photo)

Sen. Harry Reid took the opportunity Wednesday to sit down with both the Review-Journal and the Sun to discuss issues.

He told the R-J he is undecided about how to vote on the Iran nuclear deal crafted by the Obama administration, while the Sun simply quoted him as saying: “It’s a difficult deal.”

The Sun posted its interview online at 2:59 p.m. Wednesday and the R-J posted its story an hour later, along with a dozen videos from the interview. Today Reid’s interview was the banner in the R-J, but the Sun, as is typical, printed not a word of its interview.

Only July 14, Reid effusively stated:

“Today’s historic accord is the result of years of hard work by President Barack Obama and his administration. The world community agrees that a nuclear-armed Iran is unacceptable and a threat to our national security, the safety of Israel and the stability of the Middle East. Now it is incumbent on Congress to review this agreement with the thoughtful, level-headed process an agreement of this magnitude deserves.”

But now he tells the R-J, “I just have to work through some of my personal issues, because when it all boils down to it, it’s a question of conviction. It’s not a (Long pause as he appeared to search for the right word or struggled with the fact that he uttered the word “conviction.”) political calculus for me anymore,” adding, “If Israel weren’t involved, it would be much easier for me.” The printed version delved no deeper into the matter or any specifics, but in a video Reid said there were certain people he felt he needed to talk to about the deal.

Chuck Schumer, Reid’s expected leader of the Democrats in the Senate, has come out against the deal, and has been smeared by the political calculators on the left for doing so.

Reid’s new-found conviction comes on the heels of his blasting Republicans in February for daring to demand a vote on sanctions to pressure the Iranians to negotiate, accusing Republicans of injecting “partisan politics into the mix.”

In March, Reid called a letter — penned by 47 Republicans to Iranian leaders reminding them of Congress’ role in any deal — a “hard slap in the face” of the United States, as well as a “juvenile” attack and an attempt to undermine Obama “purely out of spite.”

“Before this compromise (on the Iran deal) even came to the floor, certain Senate Republicans were determined to destroy it,” Reid said on the Senate floor in May. “A number of Senate Republicans are prioritizing presidential politics over national security. Others are simply trying to undermine President Obama.”

This appears to be the first time, Reid has shown anything but partisan political calculus on this topic. That did not appear to warrant a mention in either newspaper.

For some reason the Sun, which usually trumpets anything to do with Israel and positively worships the ground on which Reid walks, gave the Iran deal short shrift toward the bottom on the story. The Sun’s lede as about Reid criticizing NV Energy for opposing additional rooftop solar panels in Nevada. The Sun online has numerous photos of Reid but no video.

The comments under the stories at both websites included a number questioning Reid’s integrity in pithy language.

Henry Payne cartoon