Tag Archives: wind energy

Long-term solution needs attention

The immediate impact of the world’s current crisis in Ukraine has been profound and powerful with the skyrocketing cost of fossil fuels — the gasoline and diesel we pour into our motor vehicles to get us from place to place.

It is affecting our plans here in North Texas, forcing my wife and me to rethink our travel plans as we move through this challenging year.

With that I want to offer a brief look at how this nation ought to deal with the immediate crisis. We ought not worry ourselves sick over immediate solutions but look ahead farther down the proverbial road at longer-term fixes. I refer to “green energy.”

We still consume a lot of oil-based products we pump out of the ground. That energy source is finite. There’s only so much of it we can remove from beneath Earth’s surface. Once it’s gone, it’s gone … forever.

Texas, though, has taken the lead on renewable energy sources, along with continuing to be among the world’s leaders in producing fossil fuels. We are continuing to invest in wind energy and in solar energy.

As far as I can tell, that old wind is going to keep blowing until the end of time. Take it from me, as someone who spent 23 years on the West Texas Caprock, I am well-acquainted with the power of wind and the potential it brings to keep the lights on. Any kilowatt hour we can generate from a wind turbine takes away what we need to produce from fossil fuel.

The Russians keep talking about cutting off oil supplies to Europe and beyond. The United States still imports some oil from Russia. If the Russians make good on a threat to cut us off, too, then the price is going to skyrocket to even higher levels.

The climate-change deniers debunk green energy as the stuff of washed-up hippies. Baloney! It is a serious alternative to the way we fuel our current lifestyle. Is there a short-term repair to the damage we are feeling at this moment? Not really. If we look at the longer term, we can keep our eyes on the bigger prize, which is the harvesting of energy from endless sources.

johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Good news from pandemic

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

This has to be far more than just a sliver of good news as a result of the COVID pandemic.

It is that renewable energy production has spiked considerably in the year since Earth became consumed by the coronavirus that has killed more than 2 million human beings worldwide, and more than 580,000 Americans.

A study by the International Energy Agency reports that wind power has boomed along with solar energy. The IEA reports that renewable energy jumped 45 percent in 2020 to 280 gigawatts. As National Public Radio reported: In 2020, renewable power was “the only energy source for which demand increased … while consumption of all other fuels declined,” says the IEA, whose mission is to make the world’s energy supply more reliable, affordable and sustainable.

You might be wondering: What is a gigawatt? It equals 1,000 megawatts, or 1 billion watts of energy. So, the pandemic helped spike the renewable energy output to 280 billion watts of power.

You know, from my perch, that means it can turn on a whole lot of light bulbs … you know?

This is good news for anyone — and it should be everyone — who is concerned about the impact that finite energy sources are having on Earth’s environment.

Renewable Energy Capacity Jumped 45% Worldwide In 2020; IEA Sees ‘New Normal’ | 88.9 KETR

Coal production fell by 4 percent, according to the IEA. Indeed, coal-burning power plans are seen as a primary cause of climate change, which is a serious existential threat to our national security, as well as a threat to the very life of our precious planet.

I do not wish this pandemic to continue. I do wish — and hope — to keep the trend toward more renewable energy tracking in the direction it has been headed since the pandemic struck.

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.

Hoping for more than climate change lip service

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

President-elect Joe Biden is giving an abundance of lip service to climate change, global warming, clean energy development as he continues to formulate an executive government.

He did so yet again today in revealing his choices to lead the Environmental Protection Agency, the Interior Department and the Energy Department.

Look, I believe the president-elect is sincere in his state desire to tackle what he has called the greatest “existential threat” to our national security. I agree with him. However, I intend to watch intently as the new president starts rolling out the policies that will put some meat on the rhetorical bones that President-elect Biden is delivering on the climate change issue.

I want to see investments made in clean energy development. Energy Secretary-designate Jennifer Granholm spoke to that desire when she spoke to us after Biden introduced her. Indeed, the POTUS-elect has talked about climate change initiatives as being job creators. He has said he wants to employ millions of Americans in clean energy development.

Climate change and global warming do present a grave threat to the nation. The gloom-and-doomers among us suggest it might be too late for humankind to stem the effects of our changing climate. I am not going to buy into that notion.

I want my government and the president I supported with my vote to contribute more than lip service. We need federal policies that will help us harvest the wind, the ocean tides and other clean renewable energy sources to do the job upon which we continue to rely on fossil fuels.

Those fossil fuels have their limits. They also are contributing to that existential threat that our new president says is endangering our planet.

Mr. President-elect, it’s time to get busy. As in immediately.

OPEC to cut production; get ready for a price increase at the fuel pump

As a red-blooded American consumer of goods and certain commodities, I cannot endorse a nearly 10 percent reduction in the production of petroleum products.

You see, I am one of those Americans who has no problem watching the price of automobile fuels plummet. I looked today at the price of gasoline and diesel in Princeton, Texas, and saw the gas price at $1.41 per gallon, with the price of diesel at $2.11.

Not bad, eh?

The plummeting fuel prices are a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Motor vehicles are becoming a rare sight on our streets and highways. Businesses are shuttered. Employees have lost their jobs. The economy is tanking.

Are we supposed to be salute OPEC and other oil-producing nations — including the U.S. of A. — for enacting a policy that is going to bite a bit more deeply into our budgets? I won’t do that.

I’d rather take the longer view.

I would prefer to see fossil fuel companies reinvest their still-substantial largesse into alternative energy sources. I am a bigger fan of renewable energy — wind, solar and hydropower — than I am in depleting fossil fuels, which I hasten to add is a finite resource.

Donald Trump hailed the reduction in output as a boon to the oil industry. I guess it is. However, we are going to pay a price farther down the road as we continue to guzzle this resource and, dare I say, pollute the air we breathe.

‘Clarifications’ reveal lack of coherence

It’s no secret to readers of this blog that I have admired Joe Biden for many years.

Thus, it pains me to realize that the former U.S. vice president and longtime senator from Delaware may be in the midst of inflicting a mortal self-inflicted wound.

He inflicted the latest wound by saying he would ignore a senatorial subpoena if it came to him during the Donald Trump impeachment trial. He said he wouldn’t comply.

Then it came. The “clarification,” that is.

I heaved a sigh of frustration when I heard he had to issue another clarification. When I hear such things coming from politicians and/or their staffs I am left to believe only that a clarification reveals a lack of coherence from the politician who makes a statement that needs to be clarified.

However, I will give Biden credit at least for seeking more clarity from the statements he makes. That stands in contrast to Donald J. Trump, who during his time as president of the United States has blathered a countless number of incoherent rants that damn sure need to be clarified … except that Trump doesn’t clarify anything.

Still, I am looking for a politician who can speak in complete sentences, have them stand on their own so that the public can digest what the politician says without him or her having to say what he or she intended to say.

Joe Biden, despite what I consider to be his admirable record of public service, appears to be squandering his presidential chances because he can’t say what he means the first time. He has issued formal clarifications or has been forced to restate with different verbiage what he said initially.

Donald Trump’s idiotic riff on wind power recently provides the perfect example of incoherent rambling that needed to be clarified.

I continue to hope Joe Biden can be the guy to replace Trump. However, we don’t need only a different type of rhetorical buffoonery.

Wind power … what is to understand?

Donald Trump is known for, among other things, a remarkable “ability” to string sentences together without ever making any sense.

He said something this week about wind energy. I don’t know what in the world he was trying to say. A certain portion of his wind energy riff is getting the most social media attention. Here is what the president said:

We’ll have an economy based on wind. I never understood wind. You know, I know windmills very much. I’ve studied it better than anybody. I know it’s very expensive. They’re made in China and Germany mostly — very few made here, almost none. But they’re manufactured tremendous — if you’re into this — tremendous fumes. Gases are spewing into the atmosphere. You know we have a world, right? So the world is tiny compared to the universe. So tremendous, tremendous amount of fumes and everything. You talk about the carbon footprint — fumes are spewing into the air. Right? Spewing. Whether it’s in China, Germany, it’s going into the air. It’s our air, their air, everything — right? So they make these things and then they put them up.

Ladies and gentlemen, that came from the mouth of the president of the United States of America … the man elected in 2016 because he, um, “tells it like it is.”

Texas is becoming the ‘windy state’

We’re No. 1! It’s a common refrain heard on fields of athletic competition in Texas.

However, Texas has achieved a top-tier ranking in a most fascinating — and one might say unexpected — category. Texas has become the most wind-powered state in the Union. Texas is known more for its pump jacks that pull oil out of the ground. They’re still doing all over the state, but wind power is not to be denied.

I just posted a blog item lamenting the lack of discussion about climate in the upcoming presidential campaign. Here, though, is a reason to hope that Texas might become a leader in the discussion and promotion of wind energy.

The Electrical Reliability Council of Texas reports that wind has replaced coal as the leading provider of electricity in this state. Yes, natural gas remains a huge energy source. Texas, though, has seen a skyrocketing rise in wind energy over the past several years.

I am happy to report that my wife and I have sat at a ringside seat while Texas has become a major wind-power producer. We used to live just a bit east of the wind farm in Adrian pictured along with this blog post. We’ve since moved on to the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex, but the wind energy industry is continuing to grow significantly along the High Plains of Texas.

This is exciting news.

Wind power remains a costly endeavor. It is expensive to produce and store electricity generated by wind. Believe me, though, the Texas Panhandle has an infinite supply of wind, which to my mind is the cleanest possible energy source possible. Whereas petroleum, natural gas and coal are finite resources, the wind will always blow.

I usually am quite critical of former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, however, I want to give Gov. Perry — who is soon to depart as secretary of energy — a proverbial high five for presiding over much of Texas’s wind-power development during his lengthy stint as governor. And, no, it didn’t hurt a bit to say something good about the man the late columnist Molly Ivins dubbed “Governor Goodhair.” 

So, the wind will blow in Texas. The state’s growth will require more electrical use. The wind will continue to play a growing role in fulfilling those power needs … and our precious environment won’t suffer a bit.

Wind turbines cause cancer? Gosh! Who knew?

I have heard the complaints and criticism of wind energy.

It’s too expensive to produce wind-powered KWH. The turbines are a “blight” on our landscape. They get in the way of migrating birds.

Those criticisms are understandable. Donald Trump has actually referred to the fowl casualties that the turbines inflict.

However, the president said in a campaign rally speech that the turbine noise causes cancer. Yes. He said it with a straight face. I am left to presume that he believes what he said.

He is wrong. Of course! No surprise there. I won’t accuse him of uttering another bald-faced lie. He well might not actually know of what he speaks. Ignorance of a topic is one way to excuse someone of actually lying. So I’ll give him (sort of) a pass on the lying part.

However, when the president purports to know about something that flies out of his mouth, he actually ought to know it.

Thus, the Ignoramus in Chief doesn’t know anything about wind energy. Such as what he said about its unreliability. Why? Because the wind doesn’t always blow.

What he failed to acknowledge is that wind producers store excess energy generated by wind turbines to use on those days when the wind doesn’t blow sufficiently to produce more electricity.

Then again, that’s just his ignorance showing itself.

The cancer-causing element is pretty damn serious. Donald Trump should know better than to say something about which he knows nothing. He excuses himself, I am going to presume, because he’s the president of the United States. I guess that entitles him to say whatever he feels like saying.

If so, I feel the need to remind the commander in chief that his position as the world’s most powerful politician requires him to at least give more than a smidgen of thought before popping off.

Sen. Grassley seeks to school Trump on wind power

Now he’s done it. Donald Trump popped off about wind energy, disparaging it and in the process he pis*** off a key Senate sponsor of wind energy tax credits.

Did I mention that Sen. Chuck Grassley is a Republican, just like the president?

Grassley, from Iowa, disliked Trump’s comments running down wind power as an alternative energy source. He made some stupid remark about wind turbine noise causing cancer.

Again, Sen. Grassley took umbrage.

Don’t fret it, Sen. Grassley. Many of us take umbrage damn near daily at things that fly out of the president’s mouth.

Keep the faith. If you can.