Case Hasn’t Yet Been Made
For Cost-Competitive Wind Power

More power (no pun intended) to the six-member majority of the Nebraska Public Power District board of directors who outvoted three other directors in turning down a proposition that supposedly offered windmill-generated power as a less expensive alternative to electricity produced by plants fired by coal or natural gas or other more conventional fuels.

But experts’ long-held belief is that the facts show that electricity generated by those landscape-defacing (in my opinion) windmills is more expensive than electricity produced conventional power plants if you take out of the picture the federal subsidies that, under pressure from so-called “greenies,” were written into federal law some years ago.

As I see it, the federal government’s decision to either make direct payments to wind farm developers or give tax credit breaks to them, was designed primarily to satisfy environmentalists who argue that wind and solar power will reduce pollution of the atmosphere and thus prevent melting of the polar ice cap and the consequent rise in sea levels along coastal shores.  It wasn’t intended to make money for farm owners or wind farm developers.

What appears to be a loose coalition of pressure groups are trying to persuade the Nebraska Public Power system to commit to developing an unspecified number of additional “wind-farm” projects which would force the district to become substantially more dependent on wind power as against more conventional power sources such as plants fueled by coal and natural gas.

“Green” As In The Color Of Money

Such a policy—rejected by the board’s 6-3 vote—would have made NPPD a substantially larger user of wind power than called for in the district’s current plan to generate 10% of its needs from renewable sources such a wind by the end of 2014.

The pressure to substantially expand the district’s use of wind power comes from sources which would benefit financially—sources such as farmers on whose land the power-generating windmills would be located and construction companies which would install the windmills and connect them to the NPPD power grid.

After the 6-3 vote, a Nebraska Public Power District representative pointed out that one of the drawbacks of greater dependence on wind power is the fact that the wind doesn’t blow all the time—a fact which it should not have been necessary to point out to the money-seekers pressuring the board.  It was also pointed out that NPPD has a surplus of generating capacity.

This is particularly true in the summer, when the demands for electricity are at the highest level due to the air conditioning load.

Big Investors, Just Trying To Help?

The result of this simple fact of nature—which the wind-power promoters can’t change—is the fact that a public power utility like the Nebraska Public Power System has to maintain capacity at its conventional plants to be able to switch to coal or natural gas or whatever to meet the demand any time the wind-power production falls very low or virtually disappears, as during the summer months.

As an indication that the push for wind power is primarily an effort to make money for a relatively few promoters rather than an effort to lower rates for all customers is this fact:

One of the principal financiers of wind power development in the United States is a very large investment company named Iberdrola headquartered in Madrid, Spain.

If any Nebraskan thinks that Iberdrola, as an example of the wind-power project financiers, is primarily interested in reducing electricity costs for Americans customers, please be sure to leave out milk and cookies by the fireplace next Christmas eve to show your appreciation to that other legendary philanthropist.

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–Proper For Athletes To Pray For Devine Intervention?
–Husker Defense Looks Good, Tougher Tests Ahead

Some other quick sports news hits:

It’s inappropriate, as I see it, when a college or professional athlete appears to be either invoking heavenly help or giving thanks for heavenly help when he looks skyward and points before or after a play.

I have become accustomed to—and slightly nauseated by—such performances.  But I had never before seen five or six football players kneel down, arms around each other’s shoulders, before a critical play until last Saturday night.  With four seconds left, members of a Texas A&M team, arms around each other’s shoulders, knelt down in what I think could reasonably be interpreted as attitude of prayer.

In any case, Texas A&M went home with a 41-38 victory—a question as to the propriety of that sideline performance.

Bad-Mouthing Of Husker Defense Proving To Be Wrong

Still on the subject of college football, I hope you’ll forgive me if I yield to the temptation to say “I told you so” when the subject is the performance of the Nebraska Cornhusker defense.

Three Saturdays ago, after the South Dakota State game, Coach Bo Pelini said the Husker defense had played its worst game of the season.  World-Herald columnist Dirk Chatelain said the Cornhusker defense “stinks.”  In my column the following week, I pointed out that the young Husker defense had played very well indeed in the second half against South Dakota State.  One example:  Six sacks of the South Dakota State quarterback.

The next week, the young Husker defense capably handled the Illinois offense, which had been rolling up some impressive numbers.  The young Huskers held the Illini to 372 yards, intercepted a pass and sacked the quarterback three times and tackled runners for losses 12 times.

Against Purdue on the road last Saturday the Husker defenders continued their dominating level of performance.  They held the Boilermakers to 216 yards, 15 completions in 36 passes and sacked the quarterback 5 times.

The tougher tests, of course, lie ahead.  But their performances in the 2nd half against South Dakota State and against Illinois and Purdue certainly justified a better appraisal than either columnist Chatelain or Coach Pelini gave after the South Dakota State game.

No More Kid-Gloves Coverage Of Maverick Hockey?

Can’t get off the sports page kick, it seems, as I turn to another level of performance, that of the University of Nebraska at Omaha Mavericks hockey team.

The Mavericks played so poorly in their opening conference game against Bentley (surely you’ve heard of Bentley), that The World-Herald sports page displayed this headline:  “A clunker against Bentley,” after the Mavs 6-4 loss in their home opener in the new conference.  (Forgive me if I can’t remember the name of the conference, but I do remember the Mavs were picked to finish last or next to last this season after a losing season last year.

Perhaps the “A clunker with Bentley” headline and a critical story indicates more objective coverage of Coach Dean Blais and of the Mavericks who have received extensive kid-glove treatment by The World-Herald for years.

Incidentally, if you’re the least bit interested, I looked up “Bentley” on the internet.  It is a college with fewer than 5,000 fulltime students located in Waltham, Massachusetts.

The website doesn’t explain how Bentley and the University of Nebraska at Omaha, half a continent apart, wound up in the same hockey conference.

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Friends Share Our Grief Over Dear Claire’s Death

I close today with a heartfelt “Thank you!” to friends who sent messages of sympathy following the death of our older Cocker Spaniel, the lovable Claire.

Good friend Patrick Drickey, known for his expertise as a creative photographer of golf courses here and abroad (and known to me also as an earnest striver for a measure of expertise in golf and game bird shooting) sent a message recalling the sorrow which he felt when the family’s beloved fox terrier—Sophie—passed away last year.

Patrick added this bit of wisdom, passed along to him by a good friend:  “I wish I could experience the joy and happiness for just a few minutes that she had every day of her life!”

Friend Patrick finished his message with these words:

“Dogs truly are angels on earth.”

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