The creativity of some folks never ceases to amaze me. While some are trying to come up with things like fuel cells, mini-nukes and who knows what to lead the pack on new sources of renewable energy, some Californians just reach back to find their future in the past.
An article in the Modesto Bee today says “a plant that would turn orchard wood into electricity won initial support Tuesday from the Modesto Irrigation District board.” And here’s the neat part – “The plant, which could be running by 2012, would help the MID meet a state mandate to get 33 percent of its power from renewable sources by 2020.”
Now don’t get me wrong, I like the idea of burning stuff to produce energy, at least until a real substitute comes along. It seems logical to produce energy that’s reliable, controllable and available when you call for it. You know, flip a switch and the light comes on! I agree with the article that the wood burning plant makes sense because “it could run at any time, unlike wind turbines, which are subject to the breezes, said Greg Salyer, manager of resource planning and development for the MID.” Exactly! Who wants to wait for a breeze to make toast?
And the best thing about this wood burning plant is you can count on it when the chips are down (sorry, couldn’t resist) – “The plant would get an average of about 50 truckloads of chips a day, Ellery said. The volume would vary by season, increasing as trees are pruned in winter.” Of course, you have the mandatory: “how much diesel fuel would be burned to chip and haul the wood.” (I certainly hope they’ve considered how much CO2 would be released by the dogs chasing the trucks?)
Of course, the logical next step in California’s backward quest is a fuel source with even more energy potential when burned, pound for pound, than these orchard clippings which are available in abundance only at pruning time. I happen to know where they have some very, very, very old wood … so old it looks like charcoal.
Better yet, I hear there are facilities that actually drive massive generators using tiny particles of matter to make steam. How cool is that!!!
Unfortunately, it seems today’s measure of energy success is more about the renewable credits accumulated than actually providing the energy necessary for a productive economy and comfortable citizenry. The 25% by 2025 and 30% by 2015 batch of arbitrary political goals seems only to line the pockets of the green energy tycoons and their enablers while providing few jobs and little tangible environmental benefit. At least that’s what hits me when I see commentary such as found at the solve climate blog: “California utilities can now purchase some of the benefits of renewable energy without actually purchasing the energy itself. That’s the gist of a move yesterday by the California Public Utilities Commission to allow utilities to use tradable renewable energy credits (TRECs) to meet the state’s ambitious renewable portfolio standard. The state’s utilities had previously been allowed to use renewable energy credits (RECs), but those RECs had to be bundled with renewable energy generation. Tradable RECs, on the other hand, can be unbundled from renewable energy generation.“
So, as the politicians continue to stuff our tax money into the pockets of the renewable scam agents in an attempt to meet their self-imposed goals, we can only hope that a very creative individual comes along with real innovation based in sound science to meet our energy needs. I just hope it happens before we’re bankrupt.
Bankrupt … hmmm! That reminds me, “Los Angeles Electricity Rates Skyrocket Due to Renewables“