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All Opinions Are Local
Posted at 04:50 PM ET, 03/27/2012

The day in Virginia energy: ‘All of the above,’ except common sense


Two very different, but equally troubling, developments on the energy front today:

One is that the Environmental Protection Agency has decided to go ahead with new regulations that “analysts said would effectively ban new coal-fired stations unless they use carbon-capture technology, which hasn’t yet been proven cost-effective,” according to the Wall Street Journal.

So for all those folks living and working in Virginia’s coal country: Nuts to you. And to the consumers of electricity generated by coal plants? It’s time to rediscover the joys of candlelight.

Another comes from the McDonnell administration, which in a press release touts the “proposed construction of a 479-foot-tall, five-megawatt wind turbine generator prototype in the lower Chesapeake Bay, three miles off the Eastern Shore town of Cape Charles.”

In the release, Gov. McDonnell is quoted as saying:

“This step forward holds tremendous potential for jobs and for economic development here in the future. Virginia’s unique and efficient permitting process adopted for small energy projects like this one was a critical factor in Gamesa’s choice of Virginia as the location for this U.S. wind energy operation, and today we see the fruit of these proactive policies.”

Gamesa, for those wondering, is a Spanish company that has hit a bad patch recently as European governments, owing to their problems, have had to stop writing checks to wind energy firms. Then again, our own government seems quite willing, for the moment, to keep writing those checks. Or at least Big Wind is keen on having it do so.

But let’s dig a bit into the governor’s contention about the “tremendous potential for jobs and economic development.” According to economics blogger Glenn Schleede, that’s simply not true:

“Wind farms” have very high capital costs and relatively low operating costs compared to generating units using traditional energy sources. They also create far fewer jobs, particularly long-term jobs, and far fewer local economic benefits. “Wind farms” are simply a poor choice if the goals are to create jobs, add local economic benefits, or hold down electric bills.

Poor choices seem to be in favor these days.

[Continue reading Norman Leahy’s post at Bearing Drift.]

Norman Leahy blogs at Bearing Drift. The Local Blog Network is a group of bloggers from around the D.C. region who have agreed to make regular contributions to All Opinions Are Local.

By Norman Leahy  |  04:50 PM ET, 03/27/2012

 
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