Center of the American Experiment is at it again, twisting obvious facts, and losing credibility in the process, well, not that they have any…  They must be getting paid big bucks to continue this distortion and disinformation campaign.  And maybe it’s just an attempt to get their name out there, as if they’re a “think” tank, and not a tank of hot air.

Your Taxes, My Friend, Are Blowing in the Wind

There are issues with wind, particularly about siting — the way projects steamroll into communities, putting up turbines too close to people who are already there — bringing the nuisance to the people where the community does not consent.  Very valid issues, particularly where wind companies, on top of that, are violating their permits.  We as a society need to address these issues now so that people are no longer steamrolled, and we need to figure out a way to deal with projects already improperly sited.  If not, well, it’s hard to imagine how any wind project could be sited going forward!

What’s  Center of the American Experiment up to?  This time, it’s about wind subsidies, and they’re again milking that bogus report for whatever they can — please read it carefully and rip it apart — it’s not worth the mb it’s printed on:

Energy Policy in Minnesota: The High Cost of Failure

What’s wrong with their take on subsidies?  Well, they’re on a rant about taxes and pick out wind subsidies, because they want to bash wind, but they don’t address the subsidies for all other sorts of generation.  DOH!  That means that the issue isn’t subsidies, it’s wind.

Worse, they start out about Warren Buffett and tax benefits he gets from his wind projects.  Yup, that’s there.  But earth to Mars, he has a lot more invested in coal.

Warren Buffett owns BNSF which ships coal around the Midwest. BNSF is also a major Bakken BOOM! oil transporter, the impetus for the $5 billion Amtrak deal with BNSF for rail, crossing, and safety upgrades.

Warren Buffett owns the MidAmerican Energy Center, 4 coal plants, which includes the “Walter Scott, Jr. ” 790 MW coal plant — the largest in Iowa.  It cost $1.2 billion to build, and was completed in 2007, just in time to start utilizing the biggest transmission build-out in history!

Just the Facts – Walter Scott, Jr. Energy Center’s New 790 Megawatt Unit

Center of the American Experiment says about transmission that:

There are plenty of people who believe that wind turbines are cost competitive with other sources of energy, but these analyses do not include the cost of the transmission lines needed to transport wind energy (which regularly cost $2 million per mile) or the cost of running conventional power plants as backup sources of electricity in case the sun isn’t shining or the wind isn’t blowing.

Transmission is needed for all generation, none but rooftop solar is at the load. Cost of transmission is not in any PPA.  FERC requires that transmission not discriminate against or favor particular types of generation — what is there is what goes over the wires.  And whatever the generation source, cost of transmission does show up in rates. Utilities get more from capital investments, a/k/a as transmission, than from selling electricity.

And then there’s the basis for that transmission build out — to displace natural gas with coal:

ICF-Independent Assessment MISO Benefits

And “the cost of running conventional power plants as backup sources of electricity”  Natural gas peaking plants are what’s used for backup for wind, they kick in only when needed, and that’s not often.  Further, solar follows peak. Back up occurs when the variable source isn’t running, it’s not simultaneous, not duplicative, DOH!  It’s duplicitous!

As to rates: Xcel’s rate case 15-826, is there for reading, but you seem to ignore the filings. Center of the American Experiment has been silent on Xcel’s e21 “business plan” rate scam and the current bill to change cost review and rate recovery for Prairie Island. Where’s theirconcern about rates when rates are at issue? Oh, right, weighing in on a rate case might involve facts.

Enough of Center of the American Experiment’s repeated disinformation, misstatements… just stop.


BNSF Update (21 cars derailed, 5 burning)

Another BNSF Bakken oil BOOM! train has derailed and blown up.  Evacuations are happening as I type within a 1 mile radius of the wreck.  DOH!  How much more of this will we have to take?

Access will be a problem on this one too, “had to access it by bike trail.”  Great, just great… They couldn’t get to the source of the fire, and had to leave quickly for safety reasons, abandoning over $10k of equipment at the site.  They’re going to “let it burn out.”  Could be a while.  EPA is on way from Chicago, BNSF crews from area.  There’s some good video on the KWQC link way below.   The oil is going down from the railroad grade, burning, and trees down there are on fire too, it’s a wooded area, and could go up in flames.  It’s not directly on the river, but the river isn’t that far away.

Dubuque Telegraph Herald — UPDATE: Evacuations underway as railcars burn near Galena

WQAD: Train carrying oil derails near Galena, Illinois

STrib: BNSF freight train loaded with crude oil derails near Illinois city of Galena, catches fire

Chicago Sun-Times: State agencies mobilize after crude oil train derails near Galena

Posted at Chicago Sun-Times:


KWQC: Clean-up crews on scene at train derailment site near Galena, Ill.

Visible on the ski slope cameras:  Live slope top cameras located at Chestnut Mountain Ski Resort.  Dark now, but should be visible again tomorrow.

Reuters: BNSF oil train derails in rural Illinois; two cars aflame

KWWL: UPDATE: 8 train cars derail; 2 continue to burn crude oil