Tag Archives: renewable energy

Ask others, Texas

(Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

This bit of wisdom comes from a social media acquaintance of mine.

He writes: How ’bout asking people from colder climates how they supply themselves with renewable energy and take a step toward a future that is in their past? If Texas can’t lead, can it at least follow?

Texas politicians, utility regulators, energy suppliers and most certainly customers are trying to blunder their way out of the mess we’ve just endured in this state. Our power went out. Utility executives seemingly made bone-headed decisions on the power grid. Our infrastructure froze and failed. Many of us remain without adequate potable water supplies.

Granted, we aren’t used to these kinds of plummeting temperatures in Texas. We need to prepare better for the next time it happens.

So, as my acquaintance has suggested, Texas pols ought to get on the horn with their colleagues in, say, all the northern tier of states where this kind of winter event is commonplace.

No politician — especially, I have discovered, those in Texas — wants to depend on others for such advice. They want to stand on their own feet. They want to deal head-on with even the most complicated and thorny issues.

It’s like the male driver who refuses to ask directions when he’s hopelessly lost. Take it from me, that kind of “independence” is vastly overrated; I say that as someone who is not bashful about asking for directions.

So, if we cannot come up with solutions here about how to protect our energy infrastructure from future calamity, ask those who know how to do it and ask them how they have managed to produce renewable energy at a level that powers their communities — and keeps their customers warm at night.

Renewables aren’t the problem, governor

(Bob Daemmrich/Pool Photo via AP)

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott had me … then he lost me.

The governor declared his displeasure with the Electric Reliability Council of Texas’s handling of the deep freeze that produce widespread power outages in the state. He called correctly for a deep probe into the decisions ERCOT made in cutting energy production capacity in the midst of the Arctic blast that sent temperatures plummeting.

Then what does Abbott do? He goes on Fox News and declares that the “Green New Deal” that advocates the use of wind and solar energy is the major culprit in the Texas energy crisis. What the … ?

Rolling Stone reported: On Tuesday, Governor Greg Abbott went on Fox News to point the finger at renewable energy. “This shows how the Green New Deal would be a deadly deal for the United States of America,” he said before claiming the “shutdown” of solar and wind energy “thrust Texas into a situation where it was lacking power.”

Texas Power Crisis: Gov. Greg Abbott Falsely Blames Green Energy – Rolling Stone

Good grief, man. Renewable energy accounts for a tiny fraction of the energy being produced in this state. It should be more, but it isn’t. Yet, Abbott decided to look for the straw man and beat it mercilessly in front of a friendly audience that has little tolerance or belief in renewable energy.

This is a ridiculous assumption coming from the state’s top elected official. He clearly is playing to a political base he will need if he runs for re-election in 2022. Indeed, Abbott is now being talked about as a possible presidential candidate in 2024.

Ugghh! He is taking aim at the wrong target if he is going to blame the Green New Deal, which I hasten to add hasn’t even been enacted by Congress. Donald Trump opposed the notion when he sat in the Oval Office and his successor as president, Joe Biden, is not a huge fan of the Green New Deal, either.

So why does Abbott beat the hell out of a policy that promotes clean energy, seeks to save the environment, endeavors to wean the nation of finite fossil fuels in favor of infinite sources of energy, such as sunshine and ever-present wind? He does so because the fossil fuel lobby includes big political donors who can influence politicians’ seeking to stay in office or perhaps seek a higher office. Do you get it?

Gov. Abbott continues, therefore, to disappoint me.

Texans are suffering because of inept energy management policies. As for the energy grid and the source of the power, it comes from petroleum, natural gas primarily. Renewable energy accounts for a tiny fraction. Abbott should have stuck with his initial anger at ERCOT for its mismanagement of energy during this crisis.

Instead he wandered onto a field that has next to nothing to do with the crisis at hand.


Reinvest in renewables

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Politics is everywhere, including places where it doesn’t belong.

As Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden notes, fires and hurricanes don’t discriminate between “red and blue states.” He is seeking to rely on science to determine what the national response should be to fight what he has identified correctly as an existential threat to the nation.

That is climate change.

Donald Trump took office in January 2017 and began dismantling environmental rules and regulations established by the Obama administration. He fought to restore a full-throttle fossil fuel exploratory policy.

What the president ignored is that Obama’s effort to develop clean, renewable energy actually contributed to this nation’s independence from foreign-produced fossil fuels. Do you recall when Republicans blasted Hillary Clinton for saying in 2016 that she intended to eliminate jobs related to the coal industry? They ignored the rest of her statement, which was that she intended to replace those jobs with those associated with renewable energy development.

So it was prior to the time Donald Trump took office.

The Pacific Coast wildfires are the direct result of a changing worldwide climate, as scientists have affirmed. Trump is casting aside those analyses. He said “forest management” needs improvement, which he insists will prevent the explosive fires that have incinerated more than 4 million acres in California, Oregon and Washington.

Joe Biden is vowing for all he is worth to restore the effort to develop renewable energy sources. I haven’t heard him say he would propose ending fossil fuel exploration and development.

We have on our hands a direct national security threat that has nothing to do with terrorism. It has everything to do with the changing climate that is bringing untold destruction in the form of fire, heavy wind, shattering coastal surf.

This great nation needs national leadership from the top of the governmental chain of command. It isn’t getting it from the individual in charge at this moment. I am quite confident we will receive it when we replace him with someone who will listen intently to scientists who know what they are talking about.

Texas city becomes environmental pioneer

Who would have thought that a Texas city would blaze an impressive environmental trail?

Georgetown has announced plans to become the first city in Texas to use renewable energy sources for all its power needs.

Is this the start of something environmentally revolutionary?


Georgetown is in Central Texas. It owns the utility company. Thus, it is able to convert to wind and solar energy exclusively, no longer over time relying on fossil fuels.

Are you paying attention to this, Amarillo, which has abundant sun and even more abundant wind.

OK, the cities are different. Amarillo does not own the utility company that provides electricity to the city’s 200,000 residents. Xcel Energy controls the source of fuel it receives to power its energy plants.

It’s a hopeful sign nevertheless to see a Texas city — which happens to be near the capital city, Austin — engaging in this kind of ecological pioneering.

According to the Texas Tribune: “Because of its size and intense radiation, Texas leads the nation in solar energy potential, but the solar industry has long struggled to get a foothold in the state, as policymakers have provided fewer incentives than other states, and solar energy currently makes up a tiny percentage of the state’s energy portfolio.

“That’s beginning to change.

“Improving technology has driven down the price of solar power, making it more competitive with other resources­ — even without extra incentives, developers say. That trend has sparked what some industry experts describe as a small “land rush” in West Texas, and it’s increasingly convincing utilities that solar power is workable.”

Texas already has joined California among the nation’s leading producers of wind energy. That’s a hopeful sign as well of a commitment to renewables in a state that has relied for more than a century on fossil fuel — oil and natural gas — to fill its energy needs.

Here’s hoping this decision by a single Texas city is a harbinger of a cleaner energy future.


Shall I take credit for gas price decline?

I am trying to decide whether to take credit for the decline in gasoline prices all across Amarillo.

My wife and I recently purchased a hybrid automobile, a Toyota Prius. It runs partially on gasoline and partially on electricity. It’s a nice little rig, a 2010 model with about 71,000 miles on it. A young sales rep at the auto dealership where I work told me the engine “won’t even get broken in until it hits 100,000 miles.” Good to know.

I filled up today. We went nearly two weeks since topping off the tank in the little bugger. The car consumed 3.6 gallons of gas during that time.

I’m not an economist, but I do understand a couple of basic principles. One of them is that when demand goes down, supply goes up. Another is that when suppliers have too much of something to sell, they tend to mark down the price to reduce their inventory.

President Obama touched on all of that Thursday when he toured a steel plant near Cleveland, Ohio. He talked about the decline in fossil fuel consumption and the decline in oil being imported into the United States, coupled with the increase in renewable energy and increases in fuel-efficient automobile production.

Do you see a pattern there? I do.

My wife and I believe we’re doing our part with the purchase of our hybrid car.

Look at the gasoline pump prices in Amarillo. I have read data that suggest the price could fall even farther, again as supplies increase because of reduced demand. My hope is that people don’t start driving a whole lot more as gasoline becomes more affordable.

OK. That settles it. I have decided to take some credit for the price decline.