Friday, February 5, 2016

Comments needed for Diablo Canyon

Diablo Canyon (from Wikipedia)
The California Energy Commission is asking for comments on its Integrated Energy Policy Report.   Somehow, this slipped by is the last day for comments.

I urge you to comment and to defend Diablo Canyon.

 The comment link:

Here's the link for comments:

Within the link, you can see the whole report.  Since this is the last day for comments, I will make your life easier by quoting relevant sections.

 On page 238 of this document, you can see the following few sentences: Diablo Canyon continues to generate power under the current licenses, which are set to expire in 2024 and 2025., even as Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) works is working to address several regulatory and policy issues at both the state and federal levels in preparation for a possible relicensing of the plant in the near future. At the state level, the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) and the California State Lands Commission will be making critical decisions regarding Diablo Canyon’s use of once- through cooling and its land leases, respectively.....

 And on page 248, this: In May 2015 CPUC President Michael Picker sent a letter to Christopher Johns, president of PG&E, reminding PG&E that “review and approval of PG&E’s request for ratepayer funding related to license extension of Diablo Canyon at the California Public Utilities Commission...will involve a thorough assessment of the cost-effectiveness of the license extension for Diablo Canyon considering the plant’s reliability and safety especially in light of the plant’s geographic location regarding seismic hazards and vulnerability assessments.”...

What to say?

Oddly, despite the usual endlessly-long-energy-planning report, you can say something simple:

If Diablo Canyon closes, there will be more greenhouse gases in California.

Shellenberger response:

Where to get information for your comment? Michael Shellenberger has submitted an excellent comment on this subject, and you can easily mine his work for information.

You can also see his material at this website, where it is easier to download.

In his section on Environmental Consequences of Diablo Canyon closure, Shellenberger notes that:

Closing Diablo Canyon would be the equivalent of putting two million more cars on the road.   From the Shellenberger presentation:

Ahem. Do not be intimidated by the depth and quality of this presentation.  Diablo Canyon needs voices in its favor, and short posts are also important!

There are other pro-nuclear comments out there.  I encourage you to find posts by Gene Nelson, for example. In a few minutes, my own post should be up. 

However, don't worry.

Just get your post out there.  Select "Nuclear Power Plants" in the select menu at the right, and go forward. Support Diablo Canyon!

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Smaller Faster Lighter Denser Cheaper: Book Review

Smaller Faster Lighter Denser Cheaper
How Innovation Keeps Proving the Catastrophists Wrong
by Robert Bryce
Public Affairs, 2014 (400 pgs.)

 Robert Bryce is optimistic about our energy future, and indeed, the future of humanity. His books and op-eds are carefully researched and clearly written. Bryce does not claim that every problem will have a technological fix, but our frequently-successful search for such fixes have led to a world in which more people are living longer and healthier lives.  For example, in 1970, the average life span in the least-developed countries was 43 years. In 2011, the average for those same countries was 59 years.  Almost everywhere in the world, literacy is up, mortality  and maternal mortality is down, and lives are longer and better.
 In this book, Bryce shows that this happy result is a direct consequence of our human quest to achieve more results while using less resources.  In other words, we seek to do our work in ways that are “Smaller Faster Lighter Denser Cheaper.”  His book covers some of the same ground as his earlier book, Power Hungry.  In this book, he expands the scope to fields beyond energy.

Some of the areas that he describes are familiar to all of us: the fact that computers are smaller is no surprise to anyone.  But other aspects of “smaller faster” were new to me.  For example, in poor countries, cell phones can encourage commerce. In Africa and Afghanistan, most people do not have bank accounts. The ability to buy goods by cell-phone has increased commerce and partially disabled corruption.  (The account is held by the cell phone company, and there are kiosks for people to deposit or withdraw cash.) In one case, Afghan policemen, paid through their cell phones, thought they had gotten a major raise.  Actually, the policemen were merely getting their full pay, without their superiors skimming about 30% of their cash payments before the policemen ever saw the money.

In expected ways, and in surprising ways, the world of making things smaller, faster, lighter, denser and cheaper has led to unprecedented prosperity and health.  For the energy to power this world, Bryce recommends the N2N plan described in Power Hungry:  Use natural gas (N) while building advanced nuclear (N).  I would amend this slightly to be sure to Keep Existing Nuclear while building advanced nuclear, but his basics are correct.

Some parts of the book are painful to read.  The title of one section is pretty direct: “Biofuels are a crime against humanity.” Government and academic reports question both  the practicality and the morals of biofuel production. Using land for biofuels increases the cost of food, increases the volatility of food prices, decreases the ability of poor nations to import food, and indeed, decreases our ability to feed the poor and hungry.

With many examples, Bryce shows that moving to low-density “renewable” energy would be a step backwards for human health and happiness. His analysis of McKibben’s “Energy Starvation” plan is well-referenced and scathing.

I hate to say that anything is “required reading” for everyone, but I strongly recommend that people in Vermont read this book.  Why Vermont?  Well, right now, Vermont has an official state energy plan that claims we will reduce statewide energy use by more than  1/3 by 2050.  Further, the state of Vermont “plans” to have 90% of the remaining energy come from renewable sources by 2050.  The energy plan admits that renewable sources are not as dense as  conventional sources, and that the ridges planned for wind turbines are important wildlife and watershed resources.   The Vermont plan is the opposite of N2N.  The Vermont plan is not about making things smaller, faster, lighter, cheaper.

Will Vermonters allow this plan continue to be our state plan, in which everything is justified on the basis of “low greenhouse gases”? Are we going to use the “Energy Starvation” plan proposed by those who hate nuclear energy (which also produces no greenhouse gases) and who also don’t seem to care very much about wildlife habitat?  Or will we take some reasonable version of N2N, choosing dense, relatively low-emissions energy sources.

Will Vermont continue to move to Smaller, Faster, Lighter, Denser, Cheaper, as humanity has always aimed to do?  Or will we go backwards? It’s up to us, right here in Vermont, to choose a happy and prosperous future.  Let’s not mess it up.

- Review by Meredith Angwin


This review appeared in the February newsletter of the Ethan Allen Institute.

While you are looking at the newsletter, let me also recommend Willem Post's article Abandoning Low Cost Hydro for Costly Renewables.   Vermont is buying less power from Hydro Quebec, perhaps in the hope of building yet more instate renewables.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Nuclear Blogger Carnival 298, at Yes Vermont Yankee

Once again, we are proud to host the Carnival of Nuclear Energy Bloggers, right here at Yes Vermont Yankee. The Carnival is a compendium of nuclear blogs that rotates from blog site to blog site, and it is always a pleasure and an honor to host it.

Let's start with blog posts directly about nuclear energy.  Nuclear power is moving forward, world-wide, despite opposition.

Fukushima Updates--Leslie Corrice
Takahama unit #3  has restarted, and this has spurred  numerous FUD-based press reports. The main reason is the use of MOX fuel bundles in 15% of the core. The postings also focus on allegedly inadequate emergency planning, the lack of a national nuclear waste disposal option, the inference that the only benefit of nukes is making money, and citizens claiming a violation of their human rights.

Neutron Bytes - Dan Yurman
Leading developers and potential customers of small modular reactors (SMR) have formed a consortium, called SMR Smart, to advance the commercialization of the innovative light water reactor designs.
Also, developers of advanced nuclear reactors are pleased with their DC summit meeting held last week.

Next Big Future--Brian Wang

China plans on at least 110 Nuclear Reactors by 2030
Many will be 1400 MW or larger.  The Chinese supply chain is well in place.

Lightbridge is making progress on improved nuclear fuel
This fuel should increase energy production by 17% in existing reactors.

Bad air quality in Japan from lack of nuclear energy and air pollution in China
Hopefully, reactor restarts in Japan will ease the problem. But right now it is pretty bad, with 60% of monitoring sites in Japan above the particulate pollution standard. 

Neutron Bytes - Dan Yurman
French energy group EDF has postponed giving final approval for construction of the twin 1600 MW Areva EPRs in Somerset, UK. The current cost estimate, which is a work in progress, is pegged at between $18-20 billion.
The move to delay the final investment decision is said to have been made as a result of concerns within the French government and by investors about whether the financing was firmly in place for the huge project and whether costs could be contained over a decade long period of construction of the reactors.

Next:  Can renewables replace fossil fuel and nuclear?  Well, no. Here are some posts on that issue.

Forbes--James Conca
Exxon Believes That Global Use Of Oil And Gas Will Continue To Increase
The largest fossil fuel company in the world predicts our energy mix won’t change a whole lot over the next 25 years. In fact, Exxon Mobil projects that oil and gas will actually increase by 2040, even as coal decreases a bit. This unfortunate future stems from the age-old conundrum of trying not to eat sugar when your pockets are full of candy. The Earth has so much fossil fuel, and it has become so cheap to extract it, that it defies logic to think that humans will not keep burning it as their main source of energy.

Northwest Clean Energy--Meredith Angwin
Reality: Less nuclear means more natural gas
Vermont Yankee and San Onofre closed recently. Natural gas-fired plants took over and made the electricity that replaced the nuclear outputs.  Meanwhile, paper after paper, and study after study, trumpet the coming world of renewables.  These are just studies.  Though renewables maybe would'a, could'a, should'a replaced the closed plants, the reality is that less nuclear means more natural gas.

The National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES) jointly published a paper about a new model they've created to simulate using weather-dependent energy sources to reduce greenhouse gas production from the US electricity sector. 
Their scenarios include generous amounts of natural gas, a nationwide HVDC transmission network,  and other conditions. Some news outlets have published headlines citing  the large reduction without noting the required conditions. Shocking, isn't it?

The Atomic Show (podcast)---Rod Adams
Freeman has been actively doubting the value of nuclear energy since the mid 1970s. He's now in his 90s. Leah Y Parks is a writer who earned an MS in environmental engineering and has some experience in developing water infrastructure projects. She, like Freeman, believes that wind, solar and water can do it all, even if all energy now supplied by burning fossil fuels is converted to electricity.  The conversation is civil, even though the participants have unresolvable disagreements. 

Yes Vermont Yankee--Guest Post
In this case, strong-arm tactics are being used to promote renewable use, whether people want it or not. Recently, the Vermont Attorney general's office announced that they were investigating Annette Smith for possibly "practicing law without a license." Ms. Smith is a prominent anti-wind advocate.  In this guest post, Vermont lawyer Deborah Bucknam explains that the preposterous charge will likely be thrown out. Nevertheless, the charge will  hamper free speech and encourage wind developers. 

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Updated: Overreach at the Attorney General's Office: Guest Post by Deborah Bucknam

I need to update this post with a link:

As described in the blog for Vermonters for a Clean Environment, the complaint about Annette Smith originated with David Blittersdorf, a wind developer in Vermont.

Overreach at the Attorney General’s office 
By Deborah T. Bucknam, Esq.

Vermont’s Attorney General has filed a complaint against Annette Smith, the activist who helps Vermonters opposed to Industrial Wind, navigate the administrative jungle that best describes the Public Service Board proceedings. I have represented folks opposed to Industrial Wind at the Public Service Board, and the hearings are overrun by lawyers—most of whom favor the government’s and the developer’s positions on Industrial Wind. Neighbors opposed to an Industrial Wind project face a phalanx of government and industry lawyers in a proceeding that is costly, time consuming and often confusing. In other words, the fix is in.

Now the Attorney General is siding with Vermont’s large law firms and big lobbyists to deprive opponents of Industrial Wind the advice of a person who knows the intricacies of the proceedings and can help those who cannot afford the high priced lawyers the developers can. And make no mistake: even though this is a preposterous charge, and will likely be thrown out, its purpose will be fulfilled: to chill anyone’s free speech rights who dares to question the powerful in Montpelier.

“Practicing law without a license” is a hoary concept left over from the medieval guilds where skilled tradesmen (including lawyers) sought to keep out competition. It was revived in the early 20th century when the newly organized Bar attempted to persuade legislatures to define the practice of law and regulate it—to the Bar’s advantage. Legislators were wary of such a regulatory scheme, so the effort waned until the Great Depression, when lawyers’ incomes plummeted, and the organized Bar launched a new effort to keep out those who were in competition for their services. This time the Bar sought the help of the Judiciary, which took up the cause. That is where it stands today: the unauthorized practice of law is regulated in large part by the Judiciary. Over the years, lawyers targeted different groups: realtors, bankers, and investment advisors, with varying success. The reason for this effort was supposedly to protect consumers from service providers who did not adhere to the strict professional conduct rules of the Bar. However, with the advent of strong consumer protection statutes and competition among providers, this “protection” is mostly a red herring.

The concept of unauthorized practice of law is so vague as to call into question its constitutionality. The practice of law is, according to the Vermont Supreme Court, "the rendering of services for another involving the use of legal knowledge or skill on his behalf -- where legal advice is required and is availed of or rendered in connection with such services.” Under that standard, hundreds of public servants in Vermont provide “legal advice”—providing information about relevant statutes, procedures and regulations---to the public and to Vermont attorneys smart enough to get the information directly from those in the know at state agencies. Yet these public servants will not –and certainly should not--be prosecuted. Only Ms. Smith, who provides similar information to those who cannot pay for those high priced lawyers is prosecuted by the Attorney General. This is precisely the constitutional issue: a rule violates the Due Process clause of the constitution because it is too vague to put the public on adequate notice as to when a violation occurs, and it opens the door for selective prosecution—exactly what has happened here. The Attorney General’s action appears to be an effort to silence opposition to Industrial Wind, and to help the large Burlington law firms and their clients to keep from having to deal with pesky Vermonters who oppose their clients’ projects.

Vermonters are being strangled by government overreach. The Attorney General’s action is a disgraceful example. If you don’t agree with the powerful and well-connected in this state, then just shut up, or you may be the target of the Government and its unlimited resources.

About the Author

Deborah Bucknam, Esq. has practiced law for 37 years, and has a private practice in St. Johnsbury, Vermont

About the post

In the last two weeks, opponents of industrial wind have rallied in Vermont, and the Vermont administration is beginning to "investigate" them.   Below is a brief summary and history.

A bill against industrial wind

Two Vermont legislators introduced a bill to ban industrial wind on our ridge lines.  They held a press conference in Montpelier on January 21: the press conference was attended by many supporters.  The supporters wore green vests and cheered for banning industrial wind.  

The Ethan Allen Institute (my Energy Education Project is part of the Institute) made made a three-minute video of the highlights of the press conference.  Ethan Allen Institute posted a blog post with the video, and Rod Adams posted about the conference at his blog: Vermonters Say They Want Industrial Wind to Go the Way of the Billboard. Both posts have lively comment streams.  I have also posted the video at the bottom of this post.

The Administration strikes back

 The press conference and the Ethan Allen Institute post took place on January 21, 2016. Perhaps purely by chance, on January 22, the Vermont Attorney General opened an investigation into whether Annette Smith, the highest-profile anti-wind advocate in Vermont, is "practicing law without a license."  This was reported in a VtDigger article by Mike Polhamus on January 23: AG's office investigating complaints against Annette Smith, anti-wind advocate.  As Polhamus points out: this is a charge with penalties left entirely to the court's discretion.  He also quotes Ms. Smith: "I believe this has the potential to shut down my organization of 16 years. It clearly falls under the definition of harassment.”

There are (at this writing) 147 comments on the Digger post. The vast majority are in support of Annette Smith. An early comment was written by Peter Galbraith, a former Senator in Vermont (and a Democrat). A short quote: "Annette Smith is a person of integrity who has helped the weaker party in what would otherwise be a very uneven contest. This investigation will have a chilling effect on all citizen advocates."

This post:

I wanted to write something really powerful about this issue: about the environment, about freedom of speech, about government harassment of dissenting views, about crony capitalism.  Then, to my great relief, I received this press release from Deborah Bucknam in my email inbox.  I have never met Ms. Bucknam, but she said it all, much better than I could.  Thank you, Ms. Bucknam. 

 Video by Ethan Allen Institute

Monday, January 25, 2016

Podcast and my book

Podcast and my book

Rod Adams
Last night I was on the Atomic Show podcast, hosted by Rod Adams.  Here's the link: Atomic Show #250---Being nice nukes.   My fellow guests were Steve Aplin of Canadian Energy Issues, Gwyneth Cravens, author of Power to Save the World, and Bob Apthorpe, a nuclear safety professional who is most well known as @arclight on twitter. We had a fine conversation on the nuclear energy outlook worldwide.  

For me, some of the conversation was very special.  I have written a book Campaigning for clean air: secrets of pro-nuclear advocacy and community.  The draft is complete, but the book is still being reviewed by various people.  

Two of those people happened to be on the podcast with me:  Adams and Cravens.  At the beginning of the podcast, Adams asked me why I mentioned my blogs but not my book.  Good question indeed!  I don't know the answer to that one!

Meanwhile, people commented on the book (with praise) and asked me questions about it.   Adams and Cravens said very nice things. I was blushing.  Luckily, you couldn't see me.

I hope you will listen to the podcast.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Renewables at 90% only IF grid-level storage comes first

Renewables can't be a 90% unless we have grid-level storage

Renewable installations are growing fast, but we can't have huge percentages of wind and solar on the grid unless we first have grid-level storage.  With the exception of pumped storage, grid-level storage does not exist at this time.  (No, I don't count an occasional 2 MW project as "the answer.")

We can't grow wind and solar to a higher percentage on the grid than their capacity factor implies, unless we have storage. Moving to 50% wind on the grid is not possible, without utility level storage.  

The explanation follows, based on the New England grid.

A year on the New England grid (2008)
Shows the necessity of being able to dispatch electricity
Note rise in gas usage while nuclear plants refuel
Click to enlarge
Five million down and five million up (natural gas takes the lead)

In a guest post on January 7, Michael Twomey of Entergy used grid operator (ISO-NE) data to show that between 2014 (when Vermont Yankee was running) and 2015 (when Vermont Yankee was closed), nuclear kilowatt-hours decreased by about five million MWh and gas-fired generators increased their output by almost exactly the same amount.  Natural gas went from 46,200,000 MWh to nearly 51,900,000 MWh.  Nuclear kWh nuclear went down by almost the same amount of MWh.
Click to enlarge table

Wind and solar growing fast: Jeff Schmidt's comment

Looking at the table above, you can see that wind went from 1,892,000 MWh to 2,135,00 MWh, growing by approximately 243,00 MWh, and solar grew from 327,500 to 436,200 MWh, approximately 108,700 MWh.

This rapid rate of growth (though still only adding up to 2.4% of the power on the grid), prompted Jeff Schmidt to write this comment on the Twomey article:

"This article seems to dismiss the growth of wind and solar. While I am pro-nuclear, and think that nuclear needs to play a vital role in our future energy mix, I think the author of the article is neglecting something important - growth of wind and solar.

It's true that they are still small. But, if you look at the year-over-year growth rate, as shown by the statistics provided by the ISO and called out by Mr. Twomey, we see that Solar grew 33% in a year, and Wind grew 41%. Of course, one can't predict future growth rates based on one year, but IF wind and solar can keep up strong growth like that, they could conceivably become a very large proportion of the New England energy mix inside of 10 years.

It's true that it's likely an overly optimistic and simplistic projection, but just for the sake of argument, if they can keep up that growth rate, then 9 years from now, Wind could produce about 50% of the energy, and solar about 5%. If you projected it to 10 years instead of 9, that would account for more than 100% of current grid generation.

However, at the same time, it's very likely that at some point, Wind and Solar's growth must slow. Still, it's a valid point to concede that Wind and Solar, while currently small in absolute terms, are actually growing at a pretty fast rate."

Why renewables can't keep growing--unless we have storage

I wrote the following response to Schmidt.  I oversimplified, but I am also worried that "we can't grow wind and solar" arguments are often based on cost, or on complex technical issues that are hard to explain.  So, here's my oversimplification.  Basically correct, but oversimplified.

Basically, we can't grow wind and solar to a higher percentage on the grid than their capacity factor implies, unless we have storage. Moving to 50% wind on the grid is not possible, without utility level storage.

I wrote about Vermont's plans to be 90% renewables in today's blog post. Of course, renewable growth from 1 to 3 to 5% is possible and looks great. However, it simply does not scale. Let's oversimplify a little, though not a lot.

Most of Vermont is one weather pattern, with some exceptions. Hot, dry and sunny...all over Vermont. Windy at night...all over Vermont. Cold and windless....all over Vermont. Now, obviously, the mountains are different from the river valleys and so forth, but the statement "weather is the same all over Vermont" is far closer to true than its opposite would be.

Okay. We cannot turn wind on and off. Let's say that wind has a 30% capacity factor. For wind to grow to 30% of the electricity supply overall, that means when wind is on the grid (the wind is blowing in Vermont)...the grid has to be 100% wind. Without this high percentage when wind is available, wind is not going to be able to be 30% of the electricity, overall. So we have to build a lot of wind to get wind to 30% of the electricity supply, and we have to turn everything else off if the wind is blowing.

Well, what if we build more wind? If we do that, when the wind is blowing....what then? We have to curtail some of the wind, because the grid can't take more than 100% of wind. So, without grid level storage, wind reaches a VERY hard stop at 30%.

Well, it is windier in the mountains, and the southern part of the state gets less wind and so forth and this is an oversimplification. And the grid requires more power in the day, and less in the night (when the wind usually blows). So it is quite complicated in reality. But the basics remain.

IF you can turn things on and off, you don't reach this sort of hard stop. 100% of the electricity from natural gas...this could work. No "hard stop" involved. 100% from nuclear...well, current nuclear doesn't follow load well, but there is no "hard stop" involved, where you have more nuclear than you can use on the grid. You don't need grid level storage for nuclear, just plants that follow load a little better. And so forth.

This is why I am so cynical about the Vermont energy plan. The plan is kind of "We don't just hope for miracles, we expect them."

Jeff Schmidt has two guest posts at this blog:

The Nuclear Safety Paradox, which describes how experience (such as building new nuclear plants) increases safety.

Flawed Analogies, which describes the analogies nuclear opponents made in a debate against nuclear energy.


The illustration showing the need for dispatchable power
From Sustainability presentation by David Lamont
Vermont Department of Public Service
October 18, 2010
Presentation is no longer on the web, but I had saved it to my computer.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

The New New New! Vermont Energy Plan

The grid is all about gas

The last two posts at this blog (here and here) showed that Vermont Yankee electricity on the grid has been replaced, kWh for kWh, by power electricity produced by gas-fired plants.  Two comments (that I published) asked about the growing use of renewables. Two other comments (that I did not publish) asked the same thing, but in a truculent and accusatory tone.

So. What about renewables? Vermont has a plan.

Comes the Revolution!

Here's the answer about renewables.  Vermont has a new improved energy plan for the future!  We are going to cut our energy use by 1/3 by 2050, and use renewables for 90% of our remaining energy needs.  Here are two graphs (for the years 2015 and 2050) which I have abstracted from the executive summary of the plan.

 2015 energy use

2050 energy use
Look how much less energy we will use!  Look at how much less waste there will be!  And fossil fuels will be almost completely eliminated!

You can double-click to see larger versions of the charts, and you can read the ten page summary. For this blog post,  I simply took screen shots of the charts, but you can find numbers in the summary document, or in the complete plan document, which is over 400 pages long.

My Russian grandmother had a rather cynical saying: "Sure, comes the revolution..."  I guess she heard that phrase once too often, growing up in Czarist Russia.

Comes the Revolution, indeed.

What's new this time? Less energy.

Still, the new part of the plan is clear:  we are not only switching to renewables, we will use significantly less energy in the future.  The earlier plan was about switching to 90% renewables: this plan is also about lowering energy use to use only 2/3 of the energy that we use now.  On page 2 of the Executive Summary (which is the first real page of the plan) we read:

 Expanding upon the statutory goal of 25% renewable by 2025 (10 V.S.A. § 580(a)), this CEP establishes the following set of goals:
• Reduce total energy consumption per capita by 15% by 2025, and by more than one third by 2050.
• Meet 25% of the remaining energy need from renewable sources by 2025, 40% by 2035, and 90% by 2050.
• Three end-use sector goals for 2025: 10% renewable transportation, 30% renewable buildings, and 67% renewable electric power.

(Bold type is in the original.)

More news: lip service to the environment

The other new thing is a certain level of lip service to the environment, including some realization that there are conflicting goals on land use, and that our ridge lines are part of our ecosystem and landscape.  The article about the plan in Vermont Business Magazine quotes extensively from these pages among the 400 pages of the plan document. The quotes are from Chapter 5 on land use planning, a chapter that is about six pages long (page 58 to 63). The chapter includes references to Vermont's land use laws (for most of the chapter).  It acknowledges competing land uses in paragraphs such as this:

As we move toward generating more of our energy renewably and closer to home, it’s no surprise that tensions between competing land uses will arise. For one thing, the power density — the amount of energy per given unit of volume, area, or mass — of existing renewables is orders of magnitude less than it is for fossil fuels. As a result, renewables require much more space on the landscape than do traditional, centralized generators....

Our hilltops and mountaintops allow access to the strong, steady winds necessary for the scale of wind energy production that can make a significant contribution to our energy supply. Those same peaks capture rainfall and store snowpack that feeds our headwaters, which descend into the rivers that nurture fish and plants. Mountain ridgelines and peaks tend to sit in the center of our most significant blocks of wildlife habitat; .....

 However, the report certainly stops short of promising to protect these ridges. Instead, chapter five ends with a ringing endorsement of planning. Some quotes:
1. Energy and non energy land use planning should be integrated as much as possible at the local, regional, and state levels.
2. Energy (30 V.S.A. 248) and non energy (Act 250) land use regulatory processes should be complement each other to the extent practicable.

Comes the Revolution! Redux

In other words, we can hope that the bureaucrats will successfully plan our future land use in Vermont. They will apply themselves to this job, despite the welter of competing interests and confusing laws.  The bureaucrats will certainly be busy.

As everybody who studied Russian history may note: Came the Revolution, that is exactly what happened.


End note: My tax money paid for writing this elaborate state plan, but nobody is paying me to read it.  So I won't.  I read the earlier version, a few years ago. Also, the state set up a way to comment on the plan which was basically impossible to use. (Here's my blog post on the near-impossibility of commenting.)  I have put in my time on this plan, in all honesty.

And as George said to me: "Comes the Revolution, Meredith, you will be surely be one of the first to be executed."  (Not that it will come to that. He was just kidding.)