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"Clean" Energy

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I had the good fortune to attend the presentation on energy policy by Mrs. Eisenhower at the Dole Center today. She had a simple set of messages. First, we as a nation need to be thinking more strategically (20 years out). Second, when we think out there for Electrical Energy the priority is a national grid. She likened that program to the interstate highway system. She saw two impediments 1.) regulation (site acquisition) and 2.) leadership.

We then shifted to Q&As. My neighbors then did wander a bit. Many questions were in fact representations that a specific technology under development at KU was the imminent answer to some aspect of our problems. Such remonstrations are not unusual from an academic audience although a great departure from the strategic vision suggested. Then we moved to pronouncements. Kansas only wants clean energy.

You know, we in Lawrence may favor that outcome but Kansans in general are not as committed. Specifically, there is a serious lessening of that commitment when money and time are discussed. What is more frustrating is offering that notion in response to a call for a national effort. We are part of a collective and we must address our energy issues collectively. That means that we Kansans just might have to rely on something other than “clean” energy in the foreseeable future.

We may be 37 square mile of rational thought surrounded by idiots but we are still part of that larger group. We cannot go it alone! We need to work with people and not act as if we alone know what is “right”!

Comments

RoeDapple 5 years, 9 months ago

I'm so happy that you have such a "high" opinion of anyone who doesn't agree with you. Get some real numbers out there. Bottom line, what effect will all this technology look like when the Westar bill shows up in the mail. Your "rational thoughts" will have many elderly people, the poor, the single income, minimum wage earner family cursing in the cold and dark. If the rest of the state and the nation in general do not support this, I would say the idiot is best reflected in your mirror.

Ken Lassman 5 years, 9 months ago

I personally think that the Clean Coal Initiative that Obama supports in the Illinois FutureGen plant is pork, pure and simple, so just because Obama supports it doesn't mean that it's clean. My understanding why it was abandoned was because even if CO2 emissions can be significantly reduced, it will be so expensive that a bunch of other alternatives will be much more economical.

The dream of clean coal is so seductive because we have so much coal, but it's a classic Catch 22: burn it cheaply and you melt the Greenland and Antarctic shelf glaciers. Take the CO2 and pollution out, and it's more expensive than other technologies.

I would like to see the Lawrence coal-fired plant taken offline or seriously retrofitted to become cleaner, and I don't know anyone who would oppose that. The best way to do the first would be to take energy efficiency seriously enough to reduce the demand for new electricity, and replace the rest with renewables like wind and solar. Retrofitting it would make the electricity much more expensive, but if you did the energy efficiency route, folks wouldn't need as much, so annual expenditures might well remain the same. We could use economic stimulus funds to weatherize homes for many homes who wouldn't be able to afford to do that themselves, and tax credits to provide incentives for folks with more money.

Ken Lassman 5 years, 9 months ago

Like I said, the FutureGen is pork. Even the Bush Admin. shut this one down as the cost per kilowatt hour is very predictably high, so there's no need to continue down this path. There's a real push by the coal industry to "explore clean coal alternatives" but I'll bet after that billion dollars is spent, the conclusion will be the same: too expensive to be competitive. Why not spend that billion dollars on assisting local communities to weatherize and develop community owned renewables? Lot more bang for your buck job-wise for BOTH Kansas and Illinois.

Bill Griffith 5 years, 9 months ago

The Kansas Senate is irrelevant with regards to H.B. 2014 which is the bill restricting Sec. Bremby's ability to regulate CO2 as a threat to Kansans' health. The Sunflower supporters in the House have even less votes than they did last year at this time. FutureGen is pork. The climate bill/renewable energy legislation coming out of Congress this next year or two will undoubtedly have some money for "clean coal" due to the fact that nine D Senators are from coal-producing states. This money will be to ensure their vote.

devobrun 5 years, 9 months ago

And the elephant in the kitchen remains: the energy budget.

If Ms. Ike's and Mr. Lippencott's neighbors address the simplest and most straightforward question in the whole argument, we might get some answers to pressing energy needs.

How much energy is used to gather, store, distribute the energy from the technology? Is the energy budget positive and by how much?

Would you spend 1 billion dollars in order to reap 990 million dollars back? You loose 10 million bucks. Would you commit a gigajoule to reap 990 megajoules? Same calculation, same result. Yet no one seems interested in the calculation.

Amazing. Politics is so irrational that I don't know what to do except continue to ask the same question. Is anybody awake out there? Does anybody know the difference between a watt and a joule? It's like talking into a vacuum.

George Lippencott 5 years, 9 months ago

RoeDapple (Anonymous) says… I'm so happy that you have such a “high” opinion of anyone who doesn't agree with you. Huh? I have attended KCC hearings on energy efficiency over the last year plus. I am greatly concerned that an overzealous and premature committment to "clean" energy and or energy efficiency may cause exactly what you mention. I am not against clean energy or any other kind. I am for rational and informed decisions where the goals are shared and the process transparent.

RoeDapple 5 years, 9 months ago

And you could have said the same thing without referring to 92% of the states population as "idiots". This "idiot" will discuss anything with anyone. If I don't have the knowledge on the subject to argue a valid point, I will base my opinion on who makes, in MY estimation, the most reasonable point. Call me names, your opinion becomes invalid. You obviously have a considerable amount of knowledge on the subject. This "idiot" has heard enough.

Richard Heckler 5 years, 9 months ago

Cleaner sources such wind,solar and hydro are readily available NOW and will require all three to accomplish the feat. But this would generate tons of jobs throughout the state.

Clean coal is 15-20 years away so I read and hear on the news. The technology has yet to be refined for use. Clean coal plants cost billions like nuke plants with the same cost over run problems. Not a good deal for rate payers any way you look at it.

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