The Energy Future Coalition.
Whatever may once have been good about this organization has been thoroughly exterminated by greedy transmission speculators and arrogant clean energy maniacs (cleaniacs) on an unmindful mission to "save the world" in a big ol' hurry.
To put it quite bluntly, the "big green" NGO "clean energy now" militancy is beginning to backfire and disenchant a growing section of middle America. At a meeting last week, I mentioned that I was not going to renew my Sierra Club membership this year because I disagree with the direction the club's leadership has taken recently. To my surprise, the sentiment went around the table, with several others volunteering that they had also cancelled their memberships, or were planning to do so. In addition, many farmers (the original environmentalists!) have become repulsed at the "big green" push to accomplish hostile takeovers of their factories to re-purpose them to produce "clean energy," instead of food. The environmental NGOs have gone too far and are actually fomenting a middle-America rebellion against clean energy.
In 2010, the EFC launched "Americans for a Clean Energy Grid" (ACEG) to ostensibly support their work on smart grid initiatives. However, instead of encouraging "a modernized electrical grid that uses information and communications technology to gather and act on information, such as information about the behaviors of suppliers and consumers, in an automated fashion to improve the efficiency, reliability, economics, and sustainability of the production and distribution of electricity," ACEG has turned into an organization that attempts to smother due process to enrich its "members." And, along the way, no actual "Americans" were engaged. ACEG is nothing but a front group for entities who stand to make enormous profits building unneeded high voltage transmission lines.
This article in Smart Grid News foreshadows the kind of jack-booted "clean energy" future in store for us if we don't rein in these avaricious fakes before they cause any more damage.
Cleaniacs are all about building new "dumb" transmission, and they are chafing at existing laws and due process afforded to citizens holding rights to land "clean energy" transmission developers covet for new rights-of-way.
Here are several lies these cleaniacs are spreading:
1. "The grid was built first to connect power plants to cities, then to connect cities to each other, and more recently to join regions together." While the first two connections are correct, the last one is false. The more recent "connection" has been made to trade energy as a commodity over long distances. It all started with Enron, and although Enron collapsed under the weight of its own treachery, energy trading still provides a fertile breeding ground for market manipulation that fills the coffers of energy traders who gleefully "lift the piss out of" energy prices consumers pay.
2. "While part of this expansion is intended to reach out to remote areas with wind and solar resources, it is also necessary to connect everything to everything, to allow for the free flow of electrons, to minimize the variability of wind and solar power." Connect everything to everything... so that when one small component fails the entire country pitches into darkness? This isn't safe or reliable.
3. "High-voltage transmission lines make the grid more efficient and reliable by alleviating congestion, promoting bulk-power competition, reducing generation costs, and allowing grid operators to balance supply and demand over larger regions." Makes the grid more reliable by "allowing" grid operators to balance supply and demand over larger regions? That's a complicated recipe for disaster!
The rise of distributed generation is treated like a mere speed bump.
"The rapid advance of distributed generation is one wild card. FERC Chair Jon Wellinghoff has noted that the rapid progress with rooftop solar could reduce the need for transmission to connect big renewables from remote regions. 'We need to build only the transmission that we need,' he told Public Utilities Fortnightly."
It gets a brief mention as only a "wild card," before the authors jump right back into the "benefits" of more transmission.
The cleaniacs claim the grid has been stymied by:
Boundaries: regions have to share the costs of new lines that cross their borders;
Benefits: regulators have to make sure payments for new transmission are “roughly commensurate” with the benefits, and paid by the beneficiary;
Siting: new lines must minimize environmental and cultural impacts, and provide fair compensation to landowners, yet the siting process is often inconsistent and uncoordinated;
Policy: not all states plan their transmission around pro-renewable policies, though renewables are starting to be economic without policy.
But what they really mean is that transmission developer and supplier profits have been stymied by just and reasonable cost allocation, due process for affected landowners, and state authority. These are things that should not and cannot be improved upon. However, that doesn't stop the cleaniacs from making recommendations for the phantom "policy makers." Who are these people? Do they even exist at the level referred to in this article? Or are they just more empty cleaniac platitudes?
- Policy makers must accurately assess the costs and benefits of transmission expansion, incorporating public policy goals, operational benefits, lower overall power sector costs, and economic development. Why are there no "costs" on this list if we're assessing the costs and benefits? Could it be that costs are not being accurately assessed?
- Planners should prioritize transmission lines that link balancing areas, so that we can connect strong renewable resources to loads, reduce the impacts of their variability, and integrate them seamlessly into the grid. What if "planners" prioritized distributed generation, demand management and energy efficiency? Aren't these cleaniac goals as well as building new transmission?
- Regions should harmonize grid operations and increase competition in electricity markets, to reduce costs and increase efficiency. And keep those JP Morgan and Barclay's guys out of the food stamp line.
- Regulators should slash the timeline for planning, building, and siting transmission through better coordination, clear rules and expectations, and best practices in siting. What's wrong with this timeline? 1)Plan a project; 2)build a project; 3)site a project. Where does due process for affected citizens fit in that expedited timeline? And here's another useless business buzzword "best practices in siting." You mean these?
- We must make the most of existing lines and new ones once they are built, through energy efficiency, distributed generation, and technical fixes like dynamic line rating. This is probably the most ridiculous recommendation -- someone just had to insert "and new ones once they are built" into a sentence that only made sense without the addition. Rebuilding existing lines should be the FIRST priority, not "building new ones." How stupid would it be to build a new transmission line and then "make the most of it" by applying technical fixes? These cleaniacs really aren't too smart, are they?