Letters to the Editor

Coal vs. wind

October 27, 2010

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To the editor:

Kansas needs far more economic stimulation from our vast wind power resources and less coal heat in our atmosphere.

The proposed Kansas coal power plant would import many tons of coal from Wyoming (instead of using our nontoxic and vast Kansas wind power resources), would send power to Colorado (not to Kansas), would pollute our air and water with yet more mercury, dioxins and CO2. (“Clean-coal technology” is a myth perpetuated by the big coal monopolies.)

The Ogalala Aquifer has already been unwisely badly depleted, and the proposed coal plant would use many millions of gallons a year of water in an area that has serious water issues already. Our globe is on the verge of “clean water wars,” and Kansas wants to waste it on one of the most toxic, global warming, least job-producing forms of energy?

Most coal plant union members who wrote KDHE are simply not aware that wind power and solar power will produce four to five times as many good-paying jobs that are not in the hands of old-guard dirty energy monopolists who are greedily fighting the global shift to renewables, decentralized clean energy production and lowered heat indexes.

Sunflower Power Company has unwisely invested in Wyoming coal mines, and has rationalized its greed-induced global warming actions.

Rich Wenzel,

Lawrence

Comments

labmonkey 4 years, 9 months ago

"Most coal plant union members who wrote KDHE are simply not aware that wind power and solar power will produce four to five times as many good-paying jobs that are not in the hands of old-guard dirty energy monopolists who are greedily fighting the global shift to renewables, decentralized clean energy production and lowered heat indexes."

Okay... can we kill this green jobs myth once and for all? Spain has tried this. They have twice the unemployment as their EU neighbors. They have found that for every green job created, three to four other jobs are lost. Lets just say that I know a little more than most about a huge electric company who owns both coal generators and huge wind farms. There have been only 5-6 jobs created with the wind farm compared to 80-90 created with a brand spankin' new coal generator. The 70 or so permanent jobs that will average $75K-100K per year will be a boon to an economically poor area's economy... not to mention the 5 years or so of construction people in the area buying rooms, meals and other goods. You take away LaCygne's generators, you devastate the economy within a 30 mile radius or take away Iatan's generators, you devastate much of Platte Co. MO north of Platte City.

As for dioxins, any new coal generator will have the newest technology that remove over 99% that go into the atmosphere (new SCR's to remove the NOx's and Scrubbers to remove the SOx's), and when that number drops below 98%, alarms go off in control rooms and environmental compliance officers are notified. CO2 has been argued enough on these boards and by scientists who are not on the government teat that you know your argument there is not enough to stop this plant.

Water is a valid argument against the plant. The aquifer is draining, but you environmentalists and agribusiness are to blame for that with government subsidies for ethanol and biodiesel. Stop these, and we stop draining the aquifer. Also, the Arkansas river runs through this area so could that not be a source of water for the plant?

One last thing about wind... Texas has been finding out that when you need the megawatts during heatwaves, very little of the capacity is available. Read this following piece (written on a very left leaning site by the way):

http://www.slate.com/id/2264111/

cayenne1992 4 years, 9 months ago

"They have found that for every green job created, three to four other jobs are lost."

Source?

Almost your entire post has no data to support your claims. Not saying you're spreading misinformation, but you may want to back up your claims. Saying, "let's just say I know a little more..." isn't remotely convincing.

"Also, the Arkansas river runs through this area so could that not be a source of water for the plant?"

Have you seen the Arkansas river in this area? I wouldn't call it a source of water.

labmonkey 4 years, 9 months ago

Spanish paper La Gaceta 5/21/10 says that the government of Spain has admitted to losing 2.2 permanent jobs for every green job created. 3-4 was an earlier estimate I heard. But the government there even admits disaster.

As for myself...I have worked for and currently work for an electric company. I keep a rigid eye on job postings and company news. Spearville has created only 5-6 permanent jobs whereas Iatan 2 has created nearly 100.

I asked about the Arkansas river because I did not know....and water is and should be the only concern about this plant. But along these lines, environmentalists should be begging for an end to ethanol and biodiesel subsidies which is a huge reason for the aquifer draining.

Jimo 4 years, 9 months ago

"Spain has tried this. They have twice the unemployment as their EU neighbors. They have found that for every green job created, three to four other jobs are lost."

Errrr....no. Spain's problems have nothing to do with their environmental policy but rather from following the GOP agenda - massive overinvestment in housing, liberal lending policies, and a hands off approach to regulating. Indeed, Spain is hardly a leader in green anything.

Depending on how you measure it, the EU leaders are Denmark and Germany, possible France -- all of whom have significantly healthier economies than the U.S. (China too.)

Green good for jobs? I see little evidence. But pointing to Spain as 'evidence' of it is exceedingly stupid.

littlexav 4 years, 9 months ago

"Also, the Arkansas river runs through this area so could that not be a source of water for the plant?"

Um, no. Have you ever seen the Ark River in western Kansas? You can literally jump across it. It's a creek. A brook. A rill. Which is why the coal plant that's already there is also using the acquifer, which has led to nearly a 100 ft drop in the water table around the area (source: http://kansas.sierraclub.org/Wind/SunflowerPlant-WaterUsage.htm). You can check the most recent levels at: http://www.kgs.ku.edu/Magellan/WaterLevels/index.html

Water is a big deal in western Kansas.

Ken Lassman 4 years, 9 months ago

Good concerns, but I don't buy into your analogy between Spain and Kansas. Very different situation here and there and you know it. A coal plant will stifle wind demand in a state which has the second highest potential of any state in the US. Hutch just landed a Siemens plant and they are hiring lots of engineers pulling in big bucks--just check the job wanted for that area. And as far as servicing the windmills, this gives farmers a blue chip payment that can keep them on the farm, give jobs to their kids or other kids in the area. Community colleges are cranking out wind tech graduates as fast as they possibly can, and while they don't earn engineer salaries, they have starting average salaries of around $40K and go up from there.

Don't forget the transmission line jobs that will be making big bucks and need to be maintained. Wind is a natural for Kansas, and the writer is spot on, despite your concerns.

Have you seen the Ark river? Dry as a bone most of the year out around Dodge and water rights tied up a long time ago, much of it in Colorado.

labmonkey 4 years, 9 months ago

"Community colleges are cranking out wind tech graduates as fast as they possibly can,"

That will not happen. 5-6 guys with a vehicle can service a massive wind farm that covers thousands of acres. A coal generator needs 60-70 people minimum to run...and this power is constant. As for transmission lines, again there are very few jobs created. And when storms take them out, most power companies in the region pool send their linemen to the stressed area....which aren't new jobs.

You ignored the article about the problems in Texas during the heat wave where 9700 mW of windmills only produced 500 mW of power. You have to have base load which wind power does not provide.

Ken Lassman 4 years, 9 months ago

The community college that I know about it Iowa that is cranking out the students say that the graduates are getting 3 offers for every job they get, and Kansas is one of the top 10 places where these folks are getting hired, so I guess I believe their reality over your skepticism. I think that there's another school around Colby that has the same situation.

I didn't ignore the Texas article--I didn't think it was worth responding to. RMI has done a study that shows that if your wind farms are distributed over a larger area, there are very little intermittency issues due to the fact that if the wind is down in one area, it'll be blowing elsewhere enough to make up for it if you have a good transmission network. In fact the study showed that the reliability of such a system was every bit as good if not better than the coal fired networks, since the system is pre-adapted to shift to another source at the drop of a hat. Let me know if you want a link to the study....

mr_right_wing 4 years, 9 months ago

"out of site out of mind" is problematic with solar.

The more dirt/leaves that accumulates on those panels the less efficient they are. You need to get up there and give them a good cleaning (at least) every few months.

I'm not 'against' solar, I'm just pointing out that it's not maintenance free--people don't consider that those panels need to be kept clean. So "out of sight, but keep in mind!"

Steve Miller 4 years, 9 months ago

Coal will win, the advocates have endless resources of money to promote and lobby for it,. So real facts mean nothing, it's all about moeny and who has it to spend. It's like anything else that is reasonable, wind power / solar, the price is way out ther to high for the everyday joe to afford it. Thats what big brother wants. So until everyone gets desperate and serious, get used to coal and shut you pie hole

gr 4 years, 9 months ago

So Rich, importing is bad AND exporting is bad? And nothing wrong with mercury. Some people willingly have it injected into their bodies.

Rich, before some of you get caught up in the wind energy, you might want to check out http://www2.ljworld.com/news/2010/oct/27/kansas-man-uses-turbines-encourage-wind-systems

Anyone know how Zarco's wind is producing? Looks like there should be some good numbers by now.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 4 years, 9 months ago

"So Rich, importing is bad AND exporting is bad?"

So, gr, is importing always good, and exporting always bad?

What if the commodity was pre-teen prostitutes? Or meth?

Or could it be that it matters what's being imported and exported?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 4 years, 9 months ago

That should have read:

So, gr, is importing always good, and exporting always good?

jafs 4 years, 9 months ago

From an environmental standpoint, importing and exporting both use a lot of resources, and produce a lot of pollution.

It would almost certainly generally be better to produce what we need and purchase it locally.

Flap Doodle 4 years, 9 months ago

I've never been to Spain, but I kind of like the music.

budwhysir 4 years, 9 months ago

here is my thought, coal comes from the ground wind comes from the air. To compare the both is like comparing night and day, one is night and the other day. When using coal, you produce product put into the air, when using air you produce energy that is stored in components that are connected to the ground. so coal goes to air, air goes to coal in any rate we are back to where we started. Injected one to the other and other to the one.

mr_right_wing 4 years, 9 months ago

& dead / injured birds (as tinkywinky kinda pointed out.)

phoggyjay 4 years, 9 months ago

How many animals will die from pollution because of coal burning plants?

mr_right_wing 4 years, 9 months ago

I'm going to answer that in a way you will not like.

Forget "animals", how many humans have died for coal? Mining accidents?

Even as nuclear becomes more common, it can't even approach the destructive power of coal. (Each coal plant puts more radioactive material in the air than any nuclear plant .)

I warned you.

phoggyjay 4 years, 9 months ago

Your response makes no sense. I'm not for coal or nuclear energy plants. I'm for wind and solar energy solutions. You're not telling me anything I don't already know about the dangers of coal while burning or extracting this dirty material. Remember an eagle can only fly with two wings, not just a right one.

Flap Doodle 4 years, 9 months ago

Wind energy = electricity when the wind is blowing within the acceptable speed range for the turbines (that ain't always)

budwhysir 4 years, 9 months ago

I am just so concerned about using up our only natural resources of wind. Once wind is gone, how can we operate on an empty grid? Lets take into effect the global warming effects of using coal and other polution causing methods of every day life. What is the real effect of slowing down our wind by running it across all the turbin blades. Could this cause a disturbance in the flow of air across the globe? Is it possible that with enough resistance we could slow down the wind and at some point make wind not exist at all? What would happen if we contaminate the road side with so many windy mill generators that the vibration is so intense that we crack all of the cement and asphalt in our road ways????

Ken Lassman 4 years, 9 months ago

Seems that the issue of running the wind over a turbine blade could be better described as your concern about breaking wind, no? Just be sure to light it so you don't worsen the global warming, OK?

budwhysir 4 years, 9 months ago

what I have noticed is while sleeping, the darkness created by my eyes being closed is not as good as it used to be. Some have said it is due to age, however, I feel that without global warming and the issue of disturbed wind patterns, my problem would be much less severe

beeshlii 4 years, 9 months ago

It is not what you think or your concerns are. Coal is money, power plant is money. All that matters to them is $$$$$$. Here in Arizona and New Mexico they are trying to build a coal fire power plant, but so far our environmental activist has been standing their ground so that this plant will not be built. So far luck has been on our side. We don't want this power plant built. it is too dangerous for our people, evironments, animals , the world.

mr_right_wing 4 years, 9 months ago

Ethanol = complete fraud and scam. Go ahead...do it...just ask "what do you mean Mr. Right Wing"!? Just give me an opening for a rant.......please........

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 4 years, 9 months ago

"Ethanol = complete fraud and scam."

True, but it's the sort of scam you normally like, as coal and nuclear are. Why don't you like this particular scam?

booyalab 4 years, 9 months ago

Argh, you totally beat me on the snide meter. I knew I should have added something about Faux News.

mr_right_wing 4 years, 9 months ago

Who ever said I like coal??

Well....I'll confess bozo that if it comes between no light and heat or coal; yes I'll pick coal.

I guess you got me on that one.

But we need something better; I'm not even going to waste the time on nuclear with you.

booyalab 4 years, 9 months ago

PSHAW, what do you mean, Mr. Right Wing?!? Or should I say...Mr. Wrong wing?
guffaws arrogantly

mr_right_wing 4 years, 9 months ago

Nope....now I'm not gonna tell you because you didn't ask nicely, you have a bad attitude and you name-called.

You lost your chance...you blew it.

Next time you better think before you type.

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