Friday, August 12, 2011

Environmentalists Stepping Up to Fight ‘Green’ Projects

Photo Credit: BrightSorce Energy 
We’ve taken a break from the energy blog and let the most recent ocean thermal energy conversion (OTEC)-related post hang in there while we blogged on Honolulu rail and even the infamous Hawaii blackout of the World Champions. But it’s time to get back into an issue that’s hot in Hawaii and around the country.

The Big Wind energy project is becoming more problematic as the months roll by, what with Lanai and Molokai residents objecting to 400-foot-tall wind turbines and others doubting that the economics can ever work out. Spending $3 billion on a project that would deliver an average of about 160 megawatts of wind-generated power to Oahu doesn’t look like much of a deal. We say, better to launch a serious OTEC effort.

A Clean Technica article posted today has a disapproving reaction to environmental challenges to solar energy projects. It ends with this:

“The U.S. government and environmental groups need to take a hard look at the economic and energy future of this country and realize that their actions are making it harder not only to create jobs but the infrastructure this country needs to grow in a sustainable manner.”

The piece touches on several lawsuits brought by the Sierra Club and others and reaches the conclusion we’ve just quoted. The assertion is that litigation delays the inevitable transition to clean renewable energy development around the nation including in Hawaii, which is mentioned.

As we see it, there’s no such thing as a renewable energy project without limits. At some point, the costs and impacts of projects that are technically feasible impose those limits, no matter how well-intentioned the backers or presumably beneficial the project.

That’s why Big Wind seems objectionable from what we know so far. The impacts are huge, and so are its costs for the intended benefit.

Whether you agree or disagree, you’re invited to visit the Hawaii Energy Forum, where you can sign up and exchange views on this and many other energy-related issues. It’s free.

No comments: