Wednesday, August 5, 2020
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Tuesday News: “Saudi Arabia’s Khashoggi verdict is a mockery of justice”;...

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by Lowell Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Tuesday, December 24. India’s protests should be regarded as a...

Sen. Mark Warner, Rep. Don Beyer (D-VA08) React to Trump’s “Completely...

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How batshit crazy, embarrassingly ignorant, and virulently anti-environment is Donald Trump? Check out the following video, with reactions by Sen. Mark Warner and Rep....

200 activists gather to help bring offshore wind energy to Virginia

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From our good friends at the Chesapeake Climate Action Network:
Hundreds Gather at First Grassroots Offshore Wind Energy Conference in Virginia; Call on Dominion & Governor McDonnell to Bring Offshore Wind Energy to the Commonwealth

Participants include business leaders, environmentalists and political leaders

RICHMOND - Nearly two hundred notable leaders and grassroots activists from across Virginia gathered in Richmond Saturday to promote new jobs and clean energy at the commonwealth's first citizens' conference on offshore wind power-Energize Virginia. Political leaders and environmentalists sat next to investment partners with Google Inc. to make the case for offshore wind energy, ending with a colorful march to the steps of the State Capitol.

"In a stalled economy, few industries have the potential to bring more jobs to the commonwealth than the renewable offshore wind industry," said Terry McAuliffe, clean energy advocate and Chairman of GreenTech Automotive Corp. "Offshore wind relies on American ingenuity and innovation to provide the clean, domestically-produced energy we need, while offering an opportunity to provide thousands of quality jobs for Virginians."


 

Atlantic Wind Connection: Energy Playing Field Tilting Towards Windmills?

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Thanet Wind Farm David Roberts writes in Popular Science about the Atlantic Wind Connection (AWC), a proposed $5 billion undersea power grid. The plan by Maryland-based Trans-Elect would provide the infrastructure for wind farms stretching hundreds of miles down the Mid-Atlantic coast, from northern New Jersey to southern Virginia. David walks through the technical aspects in easy to understand way and talks about how the AWC would ease strain on our existing power grid, concluding its biggest advantage would be its scale:
It would tie together wind farms distributed over hundreds of miles of coastline, and because the wind will usually be blowing somewhere, its breadth would compensate for the unpredictability of wind at any individual site. Together, the steadier flow of power, combined with the money that wind-farm developers will save by feeding electricity into an existing network, could make wind power cheaper than electricity generated by natural gas or, in some cases, even coal.

Obviously, there is a long way to go. Multiple regulatory authorities will have to sign off before the AWC becomes reality. But the large-scale, holistic approach to offshore wind power that it represents is already echoed by at least two undersea power-transmission proposals being considered in Europe. And if the AWC succeeds in delivering predictable, low-cost, low-carbon power to the mid-Atlantic, expect the number of imitative projects to grow.

That $5 billion price tag may sound like a lot at first, but let's put it in context. The AWC would support wind power equivalent to 10 coal-fired power plants, which cost $1-2 billion each, if not more. (Cost overruns have just pushed the price tag of a new coal-fired plant in Wisconsin up 9% to $2.4 billion.)

Japan Disaster Proves Wind Power’s Sustainability

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28 windmills along Hokkaido road No.106In the wake of the Japanese earthquake and tsunami, Japan's food supply is being poisoned by nuclear radiation. That's after oil refineries and natural gas storage tanks exploded and burned. But wind power - whose reliability is constantly questioned by advocates of our energy status quo - survived the disaster without a scratch:
While Japan's water-dependent nuclear power plants suck and wheeze and spew radioactive steam, "there has been no wind facility damage reported by any [Japan Wind Energy Association] members, from either the earthquake or the tsunami," says association head Yoshinori Ueda.

Even the country's totally badass Kamisu offshore wind farm, with its giant 2 MW turbines with blades big as the wings on a jumbo jet, and only 186 miles from the epicenter of the largest quake ever recorded in Japan, survived without a hiccup thanks to its "battle proof design." As a result, the nation's electric companies have asked all of its wind farms to increase power production to maximum, in order to make up for the shortfalls brought about by the failure of certain other aging, non-resilient 20th-century technologies.

Wind's clutch performance is especially notable in light of how much Japanese power companies have resisted it.

Here in the United States, when we're making our energy choices we ignore things like how well they'll survive a disaster, or how vulnerable they'll leave us to global price shocks, or how many cases of asthma they'll cause. Instead, we pick our energy sources almost solely on how cheaply they can produce a unit of electricity. We get low prices in the short term, but like Japan's shaky nuclear construction, what long-term bills may come due?

Possibility of Wind Farm to Ruin Christmas

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The concerns of nearby residents are one of many things that need to be considered when deciding where to put a wind farm. But fears in Virginia's Tazewell County seem to be getting a little ... well, exaggerated. Here's a recent column from the local paper:
While Christmas stories fill the season with hope and love, there is always a story about the Grinch who stole Christmas. With Dominion Resources recent announcement that it is acquiring 100 percent ownership of a 2,600-acre tract of land on East River Mountain for the purpose of developing the proposed Bluestone River Wind Farm, the Grinch is back — at least in the opinion of area people who oppose the windmills for many reasons.
Yeah, you remember the Grinch? And that Dr. Seuss story about how he tried to build a $200 million project in Whoville that would deliver $10 million in local tax revenue & $10 million in related development? THE NERVE.

"Many reasons" looks more like reason being supplanted by the fear of something new. Residents say they worry about property value, but even the National Association of Realtors says wind farm impact on property values is minimal (if existent at all). Residents express concern about unsightliness, but take a look at how the windmills would look in these Dominion projections:

Tell Bob McDonnell: “Wind Not Oil!”

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If you care about the environment and don't want to see Virginia's coastline trashed by oil companies, lease sign the "Wind Not Oil" petition by Chesapeake Climate Action Network (CCAN).  As CCAN writes, offshore oil drilling "can never be made entirely safe, and the consequences - as we now know - can be catastrophic." Also, it's important to point out that "Virginia could easily get 10 percent of its electricity from offshore windmills, creating 10,000 jobs."  Finally, of course, there's no such thing as a "wind spill." :)

For all of those reasons, we need to tell Bob McDonnell that offshore wind power, not offshore oil drilling, is  "the right direction for Virginia and the nation."  Thanks.